How To Select The Right Needle For Your Commercial Embroidery Machine

tuesdays top 3 reasons to check your needle embroidery machine needle

Embroidery Machine Needles
How To Select The Right Size And Tip

When picking the correct needle for your embroidery project, consider the thread (type and weight), material to be embroidered, and the layers of backings/toppings. Needle size refers to the needle thickness along with the size of the eye.

top 3 reasons to check your needle size


The wrong size needle will either make too big of a hole or too small of a hole in the embroidered material.


Needle size refers to the needle thickness - the thicker the needle the stronger the needle will be.


The needle “eye” will affect the thread flow through the needle. Smaller needles have smaller eyes and larger needles have larger eyes. With that said, thin threads need smaller needles, thicker threads need larger needles.

top 3 reasons to check your needle tip


The wrong needle tip can make holes and/or tear the material being embroidered.


Sharp needles will penetrate most fabrics creating a hole in the material with its honed point. Sharp needles should not be used on “all” fabrics. Sharp needles work best with fabrics like denim, canvas, caps, etc.


Ball point needles will pass between fibers of the material with its rounded point.  Ball point needles are best used for delicate fabrics like knits, fleece, lycra, athletic wear, etc.

anatomy of a needle

Needle Point

Needle tip that penetrates fabric to pass the thread to the bobbin hook and form a stitch. The shape of the point varies among needle types.

Needle Eye

Hole in the end of the needle through which the thread passes. Needle size and type determine the size and shape of the eye.

Long Groove

The slit above the needle eye, which should be large enough to “cradle” the thread.


Top of the needle that inserts into the machine. Commercial embroidery machines use round shank needles. It is very important to make sure the needle is inserted correctly (long groove in front, scarf in back with the eye facing straight forward). Home embroidery machines, most often use flat shank needles (it has a round front and flat back). The flat back seats the needle in the right position.


Body of the needle below the shank. The shaft thickness determines needle size.


Indentation at the back of the needle. A long scarf helps eliminate skipped stitches by allowing the bobbin hook to loop the thread more easily. A shorter scarf requires a more perfectly timed machine.

download needle selection chart

If you have any additional questions about needles contact us, we are happy to help! 1-800-432-3781

helpful videos

Watch this video to learn how to select the right size needle for the right job.

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helpful videos
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