Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Embroidery Needles | Size Chart, Tips & More

spool of red thread

The embroidery needle is the main component to stitch the embroidered designs on various fabrics. It is considered an essential part of the embroidery-ensuring process. In the past, there was only one type of needle, and embroiderers used to use that needle for embroidery projects. But gradually, with increasing time, innovations have taken place in the world of embroidery needles. Now, there are different types of needles available for stitching. Every needle has its own specifications and uses. Every needle is specified for its compatible embroidery project. You have to be careful about the needle type for your embroidery project. Don’t worry, you will get to know how you can choose the right needle for your digitizing embroidery project.

Needle Basics

floral design on white textile using Embroidery Needles
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Before delving into the details of needle types, let’s discuss the basics of needles. Your basics about the needles should be clear. An embroidery needle consists of three parts which are the following:

Eye: You might be familiar with the portion of the needle where the thread is threaded. That portion of the needle is called the eye.

Shaft: The long body of the needle is called the shaft of the needle.

Point: The tip of the needle which everyone uses to pierce the fabric is called the point of the needle.

These are the basic parts of embroidery needles. Every needle part plays an important role in fabric interaction. Now, let’s discuss the needle types in detail.

Embroidery Needles Size Chart

Here’s a basic table showing embroidery needle sizes and their common uses:

Needle SizeNeedle TypeCommon Uses
1-5Crewel (Sharp)General embroidery on heavy fabric
6-8Crewel (Sharp)General embroidery on medium fabric
9-10Crewel (Sharp)Detailed embroidery on fine fabric
7-10TapestryCounted thread or canvas work
1-5ChenilleHeavy decorative needlework, ribbon embroidery
15-18MillinersBullion knots, French knots, smocking
16-26BeadingBeads and sequins

These sizes are guidelines and might vary slightly based on specific manufacturers and types of fabric used. Different types of embroidery or fabric might require experimenting with different needle sizes to find the most suitable one.

Embroidery Needles vs Sewing Needles

Embroidery needles and sewing needles are both essential tools in the world of needlework, although they serve different purposes. Embroidery needles are specifically designed for the art of embroidery, which involves creating intricate designs and patterns on fabric. These needles have a sharp point and a long, slender shaft, allowing for easy maneuverability through fabric and thread. They are typically available in various sizes to accommodate different thread thicknesses and fabric types.

On the other hand, sewing needles are more versatile and can be used for a wide range of stitching tasks, including sewing seams, attaching buttons, and hemming garments. Sewing needles have a slightly rounded point and a shorter, sturdier shaft, making them suitable for general sewing projects. While both types of needles have their own unique features, they are indispensable tools that contribute to the art and craft of needlework in their own ways.

The Needle Type Arsenal: Choosing Your Champion

a woman sewing while sitting on grass
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Crewels: Crewel needles are the thicker ones usually used for heavier fabrics because thicker needles can better handle heavier fabrics. These needles come in various sizes. These needles have large eyes which are excellent to accommodate thicker threads.

Sharps: As the name indicates the quality of the needles. Sharp needles have sharper points than crewels. They are usually used for dense fabrics because they can execute precise details. The needles also have different sizes to cater to thread weights and stitch types.

Betweens: Between needles are also very common among embroiderers and used to handle medium-weight fabrics. These needles come in the middle of crewels and sharps. The best quality of these needles is they have a finer point which is best to penetrate smoothly.

Chenille Needles: The characteristics of these needles are they have a large eye and blunt tip. These needles are basically used for textured threads. Chenille threads are also best for thick chenille yarns because they prevent the yarn from splitting. Resultantly, you can get a smooth passage through the fabric.

Tapestry Needles: These needles are also very common among embroiderers and are frequently used by them. The properties of this needle include blunt tips, large eyes, and short bodies. These needles are best for thick yarns, wool, and dense fabrics.

Beading Needles: As the name shows these needles have a connection with beads. Yes, these needles are used to thread and stitch the beads onto the embroidery. The properties of these needles are long and thin shafts, sharp points, and tiny eyes.

Milliners:  Milliners needles are commonly used for delicate fabrics because they have the best capability to handle these fabrics. The characteristics of these needles are very short shafts and sharp points.

Needle Size Matters:

person stitching
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After the needle types, you need to know the size of the needles. Needles come in various sizes and size matters! You must know which needle size accommodates which type of fabric.

Thicker Fabrics: I advise you to use the larger needles for thicker fabrics because their large body can better handle the thicker fabrics. They also have sharp points which help to pierce the fabric smoothly.

Lighter Fabrics: Lighter fabrics are so delicate. Smaller needles are recommended for these fabrics. Be careful while choosing a needle type for these fabrics.

Thread Weight: The thread weight is also very important to consider. Needles are specified according to the thread weight as well. Keep in your mind that thicker threads require larger needles and thinner threads require smaller needles. Don’t choose the random needle for the thread. Must check the weight of the thread and then pick the needle.

Video: Do you know your needles? Types & sizes of hand embroidery needle explained!

Final Thoughts About Embroidery Needles

Now, I hope you have knowledge about different needle types and which one to pick at which time. You can also get help from expert embroidery digitizers regarding this. There is also an option for online embroidery digitizing. You have various options so must execute the good results.

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Agatha Quickly

For over 4 years, Agatha Quickly dabbles in editing and hosting D&D matches. When she is not a dungeon master you find her writing about various nefarious topics. She is currently working on a new project for a travel and adventure site called Mitten Expedition.

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One thought on “Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Embroidery Needles | Size Chart, Tips & More

  1. I don’t know where you get your knowledge, but this is a really great problem. I ought to take some time to comprehend or discover more. I appreciate the wonderful information; it was exactly what I needed for my purpose.

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