Choosing the Right Needle for your Project

There are so many options to choose from when selecting a needle for your fabric. Whether you're just starting out, or are looking for tips and tricks to help streamline your next project, read on for more info!


Let's get right to it and kick off this blog with some advice for the most important tool on your sewing machine. No matter the type of machine you use, the sewing life of your needle is, on average, eight hours. Of course it's possible to continue with the same needle, but the point will wear out, which means your stitch quality will be at risk. A good rule of thumb is to use a new needle at the start of every project.


The type and size of needle to use is determined by:


  • Thread type: polyester, cotton, rayon or metallic
  • Thread weight: 12wt, 30wt, 40wt, 60wt, 90wt (The higher the number, the finer the thread.)
  • Fabric type: knit, woven, densely woven, specialty
  • Technique: general sewing, embroidery, embellishing or quilting


Here are some common types of needles and their descriptions put together by the official Janome distributor. Get familiar with your needles below:



Blue Tip Needle

The Blue Tip Needle, a Janome exclusive, is a size #11 and is our best "all purpose" needle for both machine embroidery and general sewing on most types of fabrics. The needle features an oversized eye to accommodate embroidery threads. It reduces stress and tension on the top thread and makes threading easier.







Red Tip Needle - Designed specifically for your Janome machine and denser embroidery

Created in the same style as the classic Blue Tip needle, the exclusive Janome Red Tip Needle provides extra strength and durability needed for denser embroidery and thicker fabrics. This size $14 needle has a larger eye which helps prevent thread breakage when working with tricky threads, especially metallics.







Ball Point Needle - Especially for stretch and elastic materials and tightly woven knits.

The tip of this needle has a light ball point to separate the fibers rather than cutting, reducing holes in the fabric. The bulged eye opens a slightly larger space in the material and the thinner blade reduces contact between the needle and the fabric, resulting in less needle heat up and skipped stitches.






Denim Needle - Perfect for heavyweight fabrics.

Use a Denim Needle when sewing denim, canvas, duck, and other heavy tightly woven fabrics. Because of its robust shaft, slender eye, and a sharp point, the Denim Needle can sew through multiple layers of fabric without breaking. This needle has a large eye that can accommodate thicker threads that are required when working with heavy fabrics.






Leather Needle - Used to genuine and faux leather sewing. 

The Leather Needle is designed to sew through suede, vinyl, faux suede, and leather as well as other thick, non-woven fabrics. It has a wedge-shaped point for superior piercing power, creating a clean large hole in the fabric. Do not use this needle on woven or knit fabrics, as the hole will be too large.






Top Stitch Needle - Specially designed to accommodate heavier threads for decorative stitching.

The Top Stitch Needle has an extra-large eye and a large groove to accommodate heavy top-stitching thread. The point is extra sharp for straight, accurate stitching. The needle size should be chosen based on the weight of the fabric.






 Universal Needle - General purpose sewing machine needle.

The point on a Universal Needle is slightly rounded and quite sharp. It's perfect for general sewing on most knits and woven fabrics. Universal needles come in the largest variety of sizes with a flat shank and regular sized eye.





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