Thread to Needle Relationships

Thread Type Thread Size Needle Size
Large eye Standard eye

Needle Type Abbreviations

SESfine ballpoint
BPfull ballpoint
MBP med ballpoint
MSPmed sharp point
SUKmed ballpoint
SKFheavy ballpoint

Garment to Needle Recommendations

Fabric Needle Size Needle Point
Very Lightweight/Transparent Fabrics (lingerie, silks) 65/9 to 70/10 Sharp or light ballpoint
Lightweight woven fabrics (dress shirts) 70/10 to 80/12 Sharp
Satin, nylon, spandex 70/10 to 80/12 Sharp or light ballpoint
Medium-weight woven (wool) 80/12 to 90/14 Sharp
Knit fabrics (fleece) 70/10 to 80/12 Light or med ballpoint
Elastics 70/10 to 80/12 Light or med ballpoint
Heavyweight fabrics (canvas, denim) 80/12 to 90/14 Sharp
Coated or waterproof fabrics 80/12or Teflon Sharp or light ballpoint
Leather 80/12 to 90/14 Sharp or wedge point

Needle Anatomy

Butt: the blunt end or the needle

Shank: the part of the needle that attaches to the machine

Taper: the sloped area of the needle between the blade & shank

Long Groove: protects & guides the thread as the needle enters the fabric

Blade: the main part of the needle, this is the part that is measured to determine the needle size (diameter)

Scarf: a clear area about the eye or the needle that creates a space for the hook to pick up the thread loop.

Eye: the opening in the needle that the thread goes through

Point Groove: indentation that keeps the thread at a 90-degree angle from the eye (may not be noticeable in small needles)

Point:the sharp point that enters the fabric first

Needle Hole Info

16x231 – standard eye needle, smaller eye creates a little more tension on thread

DBxK5 – the most commonly used hole size 25% larger than standard, larger groove for better thread protection, longer scarf for more room for the hook to pick up the thread loop.

DBx9ST – a larger hole than the DBxK5

DBx7ST – 1.8 millimeter long rectangular eye specifically for metallic thread

287WKH – standard size eye, shorter point, good for designs with long stitch lengths & extra thick backing.

287WH – has a straight blade, used for delicate materials & knits

Misc. Info

Sharp needles are best for tightly woven materials & caps.

Ballpoints are best for knits & are good multipurpose needles.

Tri-tip points are good for leather.

Most needles are chrome plated, but titanium nitride coating adds strength, & Teflon coating reduces friction & thread breaks.