How Long does a Sewing Machine Needle Last?

The sewing machine needle should be changed every two to three projects, according to theory. A needle does in fact lose its sharpness over time, it can flex, and eventually it becomes impossible to sew correctly with. Therefore, it is advised to change the needle frequently, after 8 to 10 hours of stitching or after completing a few projects.

So, if you see that the thread on the spool is fraying, the issue is with the needle!

Your fabric may potentially develop holes from a worn needle!
Don’t be afraid to change needles on a frequent basis because they are inexpensive.


Now that we know more about the characteristics and types of needles, it’s time to solve the most common problems.

Surely the question that is on your mind the most is how often should I change the needle on my sewing machine?

When I asked my students, they almost always replied with the same response: “When it breaks.” And I always make an effort to persuade them that it’s a grave error.

Did you realize that a damaged needle requires roughly twice as much work from your machine’s motor? For this reason, I consistently insist that changing the needle is an essential component of keeping our sewing machines in good working order. In addition, using a worn needle while sewing might result in issues with thread tension, loose stitches, and broken threads, as well as harm the fabric you are stitching.

The needles do not last forever, it is estimated that for optimal results they should be changed after about 8 hours of use. surprised?

I could also advise you to swap it out for a fresh one whenever you start a new project, but sewing a toiletry bag is obviously very different from making a quilt with applied.

I’ll explain how I gauge the life of a needle because figuring out the number of hours of use or the scope of the job can be a little perplexing.

The most common cause of needle damage is friction from passing through the fabric; the more layers the needle passes through and the longer it takes, the greater the friction.

Because of this, a needle used for simple seams does not last as long as one used for applications in materials.

 When the needle blunts a bit, we can hear a kind of “pop” or notice changes in the sound of our machine. We may also notice that the fabric snags a bit or that the thread breaks.

The traction actions we employ to draw the thread, such as when we take the work out from beneath the presser foot, are another factor in the needles’ degeneration.

Due to a minor bend in the needle as a result, the bobbin does not fall where it should, resulting in uneven or loose stitching.

Thread tension changes or cloth puckering are two further signs that the needle is not straight.

Obviously, when we notice any of these signs, it is time to change the needle. 

If everything goes well and we do not notice any of these problems, my recommendation, and what I usually do, is to change the needle every four or five complete bobbins in the case of appliqués and quilting, or every five or six if we sew normal seams. You can make your own calculations and establish more or less time, but I advise you to establish your own criteria and change your needle as often as it works for you, NOT ONLY WHEN IT BREAKS!

As a general rule, I always change my needle after a big project, like a quilt. I like to start a new project with a new needle. One of my little pet peeves is that when I finish something big, I remove the needle and throw it right away. 

I leave the machine without a needle and this is how I open everything when I start sewing again and if some time passes I have no doubts whether I have already changed it or not. 

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