The embroidery machine needles are the most important element of your machine embroidery. Therefore, the proper embroidery machine needle knowledge is essential for better understanding the needle to use for which fabric.

This blog covers various topics, including embroidery needle sizes, needle kinds, how to choose the best needle for your machine embroidery project, and much more.

Table of Contents:

Parts of Machine Embroidery Needle

Understanding the different parts of a machine embroidery needle is necessary, and called needle anatomy will help you better understand which type of needle is appropriate for your embroidery project.
The common parts of the embroidery machine needle are the shank, shaft, groove, eye of the needle, scarf, and needlepoint.


The first part needs to understand of the needle is a shank. This portion of the needle is placed into the embroidery machine. Industrial machines employ round-shank needles, while domestic embroidery machines use flat-shank needles.


The shaft, also frequently referred to as the blade, is the lengthy central portion of the needle. The needle shaft thickness determines the needle size, and the groove runs down the middle of the shaft.


The groove is cut in the front of the shaft to enable the thread to lie more nearly to the needle as it passes through the fabric, and it protects the thread from joining it with the bobbin.

Eye of the Needle:

The hole in the needle through which the thread is fed is known as the eye of the needle. Embroidery needle eyes are much larger than universal needle eyes to prevent breaking or fraying your thread as the needle rapidly enters and exits your fabric.


The scarf of the machine embroidery needle is the indentation on the back of the needle that starts above the eye and ends slightly past the eye. The embroidery needle has a specially designed scarf to create less strain on your thread, resulting in less fraying and breakage.

Needle Point:

Embroidery needles can be divided into 2 primary groups on the base of their tips: sharp and ballpoint. You choose the needlepoint depending on the cloth and thread you’re using.

Sharp Tip: The sharp tip works well with the greatest variety of materials and is designed to use with fabrics and materials that won’t separate to allow the needle through.

Ballpoint Tip:  A ballpoint needle can slide between the fibers without running the risk of piercing. This should stop the threads from breaking, which might result in the little holes or runs you notice while embroidering knit fabrics. Thus, always use ballpoint embroidery needles while embroidering knit fabric.

Machine Embroidery Needles VS. Sewing Needle

Are They Both Similar?

Sewing needles and machine embroidery needles look pretty much the same. But, if you look a little closer, you may notice a difference.

There are two major differences between sewing needles and machine embroidery needles: the needle’s scarf and the size of the eye. They’re both created in ways to put less strain on your embroidery thread, which is thinner and more fragile than regular thread.

Another important difference is that embroidery needles are usually more expensive than normal sewing needles and designed to allow threads such as polyester, rayon, or cotton machine embroidery threads to pass freely and quickly when embroidering.

Types of Machine Embroidery Needles

There are different types of needles for machine embroidery, including titanium-plated and chrome-plated steel.

Titanium-Plated Needles:

Titanium-nitride ceramic machine embroidery needles are excellent for intricate tasks and specialized uses. Because of their solid covering, titanium-plated needles offer increased wear resistance and improved penetration in coarse and dense materials.

In addition, the titanium-nitride coating gives the needles their distinctive gold shade, and they are perfect for delicate or metallic threads. They can also be used with specific machine embroidery projects.

Although most embroidery projects use chrome-plated needles, titanium-plated needles are stronger, more long-lasting, and less likely to bend. Therefore, they are a better option for high-speed machines. Although they cost more, but these needles will last up to eight times longer than chrome-plated ones.

Chrome-Plated Steel Needles:

Chrome-plated steel needles are the best option for various threads, including polyester, rayon, and specialty embroidery threads. These needles are designed to pierce the fabric with less friction and to resist heat and wear.

Also, they are perfect for delicate threads because of the bigger eye and smooth groove. These characteristics promote smooth stitching and help keep the needle from sticking to the fabric.

In general, hard chrome-plated needles last longer than nickel-plated ones in terms of durability. Because they are made of harder materials, rust and corrosion are prevented. However, they are typically more expensive and offer a brighter color than nickel-plated needles.

Also, they have a higher stitching performance, meaning fewer needle changes. It might be worthwhile to invest a bit more money to obtain the best needles if you have an expensive embroidery machine.

Machine Embroidery Needle Sizes

Like other sewing needles, machine embroidery needles also come in different sizes. While referring to needle sizes, you will be referring to the width of the needle at the point. The needle size is denoted by a pair of numbers, usually printed on the package, such as 80/12. The first number is the European metric size, and the second is equivalent in the American system.

For home embroidery machines, not commercial or multi-needle machines, the most common machine embroidery needle sizes are 75/11, 80/12, and 90/14.

Lightweight woven and knit fabrics should be cut in size 75/11, medium-weight fabrics like quilting cotton and linen should be cut in size 80/12, and heavy-weight fabrics should be cut in size 90/14 for embroidery (on jeans and felt, for example).

Tip: When selecting a needle size, it’s important to consider the type and size of the thread you’re using. Larger needles have larger eyes and are appropriate for heavier, thicker thread, while smaller needles have smaller eyes and are good for lightweight thread.

Take help from this chart when selecting a needle size:

75/11 80/12 90/14
Quilt Cottons Batiks Denim
Satin Linen Heavy Fleece

How to Choose the Right Needle for Embroidery Machine?

There are many choices available when it comes to choosing machine embroidery needles! Although, you need to choose the appropriate needle for your embroidery project.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best appropriate embroidery needle to use for a project, but when you simplify it, it automatically comes down to the fabric type, thread type, and embroidery design that you’re embroidering.

In addition, consider your stabilizer selection. For example, if you’re using water-soluble topping and the needle isn’t puncturing, you might need a sharp needle.


Hopefully, you have learned more about machine embroidery needles and how to select the right needle for your embroidery project.


Yes, Titanium-plated needles, usually 75/11 sharps, are ideal for caps. They will penetrate better through heavy fabrics, buckram, and also extra layers on seams.

Depending on the type of thread being used and the fabric being embroidered on, it is advised to change the needles after 5 to 10 hours of sewing. The titanium-nitride ceramic finish on titanium (PD) gold needles are more wear-resistant than conventional needles.

No, using an inappropriate needle can create problems like tip breakage, skipped stitches, and poor tension. Because embroidery needles have different shank shapes, and if the shank of the needle is not designed explicitly for your embroidery machine, it would not be suitable.

Generally, the thinner the needle shaft, the lower the number. Light fabrics like chiffon, satin, and organza use 70/10 needles. Consider formal-wear textiles. For lightweight embroidering materials like lawn, faille, and georgette, 80/12 needles are suitable.

Probably, they are hitting with something that caused them to bend or snap. The needle may also break due to excessive top or bottom thread pressure.