Here’s another query we often get and then answer…….GLAD YOU ASKED THAT!

As an educator I get asked all the time, ‘Which Needle Should I Use?’  Often, I ask in return ‘Which Ones Do You Usually Use and Why?’  It is amazing how many different answers and reasons I get in reply.  I would like to spend a little time talking about needles and their use over a couple of blog posts in the effort to give you some more information about deciding which needle should be your choice for any given project.


There is no shortage of advice on needles out there.  Often, a store may suggest a particular brand of needle just because it is the brand they choose to sell.  Some of the most popular brands of sewing machine needles are Schmetz and Organ needles.  Some machine manufacturers also have their own brand of needles that are made specifically to match the mechanics of their brand of machine.  Janome has our own brand of needles – manufactured by Organ and we do recommend these for best results with our needle threaders. However, you may use whatever needles you prefer.  If you experience issues with your needle threader or with stitch quality, you might want to think about switching to a Janome needle brand to see things improve.   Often, switching to the Janome needles for your Janome machine is all you need to do to get beautiful, consistent stitch quality and optimum needle threader function.

I have had many students insist they have been instructed that the only needle they will ever need is a Universal needle.  They have told me it is Universal because it works for absolutely every type of sewing and therefore it is only necessary to have one needle type.  My years of sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery experience has taught me differently.  I was curious though about the use of Universal needles so I looked it up in a Google search.  Google describes Universal needles as  the needle of choice when you don’t know exactly what thread or fabric you may be working with, or if you don’t know what project you will be working on.  Really?  You don’t know the thread and fabric you have in your hand?  You are merrily sewing away and have no idea what or why you are sewing – so you use a Universal needle?  This logic seems very strange to me.


Needles are made with several elements in mind. The milling of the needle has specific parameters depending on the type of thread and fabric that will be used.  Needles are also made specifically for machines like long arm quilt machines, sergers, industrial embroidery machines, and the general domestic sewing machine.  You need to first know the type of machine you are using and the fabric and thread content of your project.  Needles are made to give the best results when you consider all these options.

You may need to vary your needle type depending on the project.  Consider an embroidery design: You may think that you should choose an embroidery needle.  But what if the embroidery stitch you are using in your project is actually a quilting design?  If I am hooping my quilt sandwich in my embroidery hoop, I do know that there are several layers to stitch through and that there will be drag on the thread in the needle.  I may choose instead to use a slightly larger size quilting needle to stitch with even though I am stitching in the embroidery hoop.  Or try the Janome Purple tip needle? You may need to experiment on exactly which thread, needle, fabric and project you are creating to find the perfect needle for the job.

Next time: we explore more about needles.


About ymenear

I have been sewing my entire life. I love sewing of all types but recently I have focused on quilting and machine embroidery. I am an educator for quilting and embroidery design software and I own and operate a machine embroidery club that teaches students how to use their machine effectively while creating their own unique projects. I love travel and getting to know people from different regions and seeing how they create projects with their machines.
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