Do all Needles fit all Sewing Machines?

Sewing machine needles come in a wide variety of types and brands today. This can be difficult for someone wanting to purchase needles for the first time or for someone who hasn’t yet settled on a preferred brand and type of needle.

All sewing machines can use the majority of sewing machine needles. However, some sewing machine brands can need particular needles in order to function properly.

How often should I change needles?

Machines often end up in our workshops that goes on strike. Troubleshooting only takes a minute, until a new needle is inserted.

The needle is crooked, inserted incorrectly, or the tip is deformed. Or it’s just a poor quality needle.

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Here on the left in the picture needles from a “bitchy” sewing machine. On the right the corresponding brand needles.

Needles are consumable materials. Depending on the quality, they sometimes last a few months, sometimes just for one project. When a needle encounters resistance (pin, presser foot, button, etc.) it should be replaced. Any problems often only show up later.

Replacing a needle should be just as much part of the usual routine as changing the yarn. Nevertheless, machines keep coming to us in which the needle is stuck and you can see from the needle holder that it has not been opened for years.

Even a slight warp that may not be visible to the naked eye can affect the stitch’s appearance.

You should think of a method of separating used needles from new ones because it often happens that you only need a special needle for a short time, then you put another in the machine and in the end you don’t know anymore whether you have used it often been used or not at all.

Which is the right sewing machine needle?

In the sewing machine needle jungle, it is easy to make a mistake. As a rule, this is not so bad, often the result is simply not perfect. Damage is rarely done. But you can save yourself a lot of (unpicking) time if you grab the right needle right away.

There is a lot of information on use and marking on the manufacturer’s website. You can print out the Schmetz color system and quickly find the right needle in the right size, even if it’s no longer in the packaging. You can find the link to it at the end of this post.

It is definitely worth taking a look at the operating instructions for the sewing machine. The standard system 130/705 H is generally required here. Some information about this needle system:

A universal needle is not pointed as most people might think, but slightly rounded. So you can sew woven goods with it, but also a stretchy fabric like sweat. Actually, most fabrics that you sew with a simple household machine, at least at the beginning.

If you want to be sure, do a test seam. This is separated again and the fabric is held against the light and stretched. This will make any holes or runs visible.

Not every hole that you see has actually damaged the fabric threads. Especially with thicker knitwear such as sweat or French terry, the universal needle is sometimes sufficient. Often it’s just the displaced stitches and after washing everything is the same as before. The real damage to the thread is always shown by a run (in the case of knitwear). It can best be explained using the example of a chunky knit sweater. You can even put your finger through it. If you pull it out again, there is sometimes a hole that closes again by pulling in different directions. This is roughly how the needle tip works.

How do I recognize a bad needle?

There isn’t much space on a sewing machine needle. You can find the size, the brand and, with luck, the variety. But not every manufacturer handles this in the same way and needles that are not labeled appear again and again.

You often get some as a gift, inherited or the machine comes with various packages. Can I use the needle for my machine now?

Can I damage my machine with this?

There is always some risk involved with needles of unknown origin.

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Here is a collection of curiosities. Of course there are different strengths and types, but you can also see one or the other mistake here.

Bad ears or crooked needles can often be seen with the naked eye and these needles should be discarded immediately.

If a needle feels scratchy, it is badly deburred and does not belong in the machine. So there would not be many needles left from the picture above anyway.

Then you can easily help yourself by comparing the needles in question with corresponding new branded needles.

Look carefully

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On the right in the picture two 80s universal needles from Schmetz, on the left the same size and type of butterfly.

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Below a 100 Universal from Schmetz, above two 100 from Butterfly. One of the cheap ones is recognizable as bad at first glance and should be sorted out. With the second it is not so obvious, but experience has shown that even cheap needles that are still visually acceptable do not sew well for long.

So it’s a lottery game with cheap pins. If you’re lucky, they’ll sew. If you are unlucky, the fabric is gone or even the machine.

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This is what a needle can look like after an “accident”. This one just came out of the box though.

Also note that needles have a front and back.

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Two Schmetz needles are shown in the foreground. The back in front, the front behind. You can clearly see the difference over the eye. Two cheap needles in the back of the picture. Same difference above the eye, but you can tell by looking at the butt that it’s actually the back in both cases.

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Sometimes with a groove, sometimes without. Sometimes also on the wrong side. In general, the eye should be in the middle. The size also determines the behavior with the yarn.

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With such tips, who is surprised if nothing works? A small magnifying glass on the sewing machine is often helpful if you need to take a closer look.

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Two 100 universal needles. Which one will have the upper thread form the stitch better?

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No matter how good the threader on the machine is for the two middle eyes, it can’t work. The needle on the left was in a sewing machine that had to go to the workshop because it was constantly pulling fabric loops.

All needles that serve as a bad example here come from customer machines that came to our workshop because of alleged malfunctions. “A good machine must also be able to sew with a cheap needle.” is often claimed. Most of the time it works, but the result is simply not as good as with a high-quality needle.

Modern sewing machines are technical precision devices, but they only achieve this level of precision if they are supplied with the right accessories.

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