industrial sewing machine needles

Finding the Perfect Needle for Your Industrial Sewing Machine

Selecting the ideal needle is one of the most important steps to keep your industrial sewing machine running smoothly. But with the overwhelming variety of needle systems, sizes, and specialty types, how do you choose? This comprehensive guide will shed light on the key considerations for finding the perfect needles for your fabrics and tasks.

Demystifying Industrial Sewing Needles

Industrial sewing needles differ greatly from conventional needles in their enhanced durability and strength. These robust needles are engineered specifically for high-speed, heavy-duty sewing. The anatomy of an industrial needle includes parts like the shank, shoulder, scarf, blade, eye, and point. Each component serves a purpose, from clasping onto the machine to piercing the material. The design minimizes friction and heat while withstanding the demands of continuous production sewing.

Needle Numbers – Understanding Systems

Needle Numbers - Understanding Systems
Photo credit: freepik

Most industrial needles follow numbering systems like 134 and 797 to denote size. The first numbers refer to the needle system or brand. The second set of numbers indicates measurements like diameter and thickness. So a 134/705 needle has a shank diameter of #70 and blade thickness of #5. Your machine likely requires a specific system, so check the manual. Using the improper needles can cause skipped stitches, breaks, and damage.

Choosing Sizes for Fabrics

Needle size corresponds to the weight and type of fabric being sewn. Lightweight silk chiffon may call for #60/8 needles while rugged canvas suits #25/19 needles. Ballpoints are ideal for knits to avoid snagging loops. Wedge point leather needles make smooth holes without tearing. Always match size to thread – too small and the thread frays, too large creates puckered seams.

Shopping for Quality

Seeking out needles made specifically for industrial machines is key, as regular needles can’t handle the intensities. Brand matters – invest in Schmetz, Organ, or Groz-Beckert needles. Yes, that 100-pack for $10 seems appealing. But low-cost needles often bend or shatter under stress. Spend a little more for quality to avoid headaches and repairs down the road.

Caring for Your Needles

Replacing needles every 4-8 hours keeps them sharp. Insert fully and securely, with the scarf facing back. Avoid striking needles and store properly in sleeves or cases. Discard any that are bent, dull, or damaged. Keep a needle changing log to stay on schedule. Proper care prevents skipped stitches, thread breaks, needle strikes, and other telltale signs of wear.


What are the most common industrial needle systems?

The most common industrial needle systems are 134 (SES), 797 (Mikado), and 2023 (Tiptop). Specific brands may use their own proprietary system.

What needle size should I use for denim?

For heavy denim, a size 18/110 or 21/125 is recommended. Go up to 23/140 for very heavy denim.

Can I use universal needles in my industrial machine?

No, universal needles lack the durability for prolonged high speed sewing. Always use industrial specific needles.

How often should I change my needle?

Needles should be changed every 4-8 hours of sewing time. Replace immediately if damaged, dull, or hot.

What causes needles to break?

The wrong needle system, hitting the needle plate, or a bent, damaged, or worn needle can all cause breakage.

How do I know if my needle is dull?

Signs of a dull needle include reduced fabric piercing, loose stitches, frayed thread, and skipped stitches.

Can I sew knits with a universal point needle?

For knits, use a ballpoint needle to avoid damage from piercing the fabric loops.

Where should I store my needles?

Store needles in a case or sleeve to prevent damage. Never leave them loose in drawers where they can bend.

Troubleshooting Tips

Issues like skipped stitches usually indicate a worn or wrong needle. Try swapping the size or point first. Ensure proper insertion and tightening. Severe problems may call for adjustments – consult your manual. Don’t muscle through sewing with a bad needle. And remember, an ounce of prevention saves pounds of frustration down the road.

Investing in the best needles for your fabrics and machine will keep projects running smoothly for years to come. Let us know your top needle tips in the comments!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 169

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