How To Change A Sewing Machine Needle - Find Out Here!

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Last Updated on 16 January, 2021 by Danica

How To Change A Sewing Machine Needle

For beginners, it can be a little confusing to understand how to change your sewing needle and when to do it, lucky for you, most sewing machines have a pretty simple changing mechanism for you to follow.

Changing your needle on your sewing machine can be done easily with just a screwdriver and by turning the knob on your machine, the clamps on your sewing machine will help you tighten/untighten the needle that you replace. Your needle will need to replaced routinely.

We have put together a step by step guide below for changing your needle in your sewing machine, as well as when to know if your needle on your machine needs changing or not.

Let's change that needle!

Changing Your Sewing Machines Needle (Step By Step)

If you are changing your needle to a thicker one for a special fabric, or your current needle is simply looking dull and needs to be replaced, you need to understand how to change the needle on your machine.

You'll need a new needle to complete this process and a small screwdriver if one didn't come with your machine.

  • Step one - Make sure your sewing machine is turned off and raise the needle on it to the highest position possible. This can be done by turning the large wheel on your machine or setting it to the up/down position depending on your model.
  • Step two - Find the knob for the clamp that holds your sewing machines needle, hold the needle with one hand as you turn this knob to loosen the needle and allow it to come loose; this can be done with your small screwdriver if needed.
  • Step three - Get rid of the old needle if its broken or dull, if your changing your needle to a different type then store this one somewhere safe for later use. When disposing of your needle ensure it's done so in a plastic container.
  • Step four - Push the new needle with the flat side at the back into the clamp and tighten the knob with your hand or screwdriver again if needed.
  • Step five - Raise the new needle up and down with the handwheel and give it a careful wiggle so as you can test it for stabilityIf your needle still needs tightening simply turn the knob more with the screwdriver.

When Do You Need To Change The Needle?

This is down to personal preference, you will need to change the needle sometimes depending on the type of fabric you are sewing, for maintenance, on the other hand, this can be down to several factors such as -

  • When three full bobbins are over.
  • Your needle is dull after a large project.
  • If it gets damaged in any kind of way or bent.
  • Two pre-wound bobbins are complete on your machine.
  • Sewing problems are starting to occur from your needle.
  • The quality of your stitches is starting to get noticeably poor.

How To Choose The Right Sewing Needle

Sewing needles are available in a variety of sizes, points, and thickness styles depending on stitching you want to do on different types of fabric.

What Size Sewing Machine Needle For Cotton Is Best

The main parts of a sewing needle consist of; a shank, a blade, shaft, point and butt. These parts vary according to the style of the needle you pick.

Types Of Needles

  • Universal - These types of needles are widely used in sewing as they can be used for a huge range of fabrics such as cotton and other kinds of woven fabrics. This needle often has a rounded tip to finish.
  • Ball-point - This type of needle has a medium round tip and is great for interlocking or knit type fabric. It allows you to sew with no snags or damage to the run of the knitted fabric you are sewing on.
  • Denim - For thick fabrics like denim, it's best to use a denim needle. These needles are often stronger with a heavy-duty shaft and sharp point for piercing through thick canvas fabric.
  • Leather - Leather needles need to be used with accuracy as they can leave large holes, they are best suited to fabrics such as faux suede and vinyl and have a wedge-shaped point. This needle should not be used on knitted fabrics.

Needle Size

In Europe, our needle size ranges from 60-110, the higher the number on your needle then the thicker the fabric it can normally stitch with. So for thin fabric go will a small needle size number and vice versa.

For example, with thin silk material, you could use a needle with the number 60/8, but for a heavy-duty material like leather, a needle of 110/18 would be more suitable as it needs to be thicker to tackle the stitching.

How Can I Tell When My Needle Is Not Sharp?

Needles can often seem sharp still when they have become dull, the best way to tell if your needle has gone blunt (without giving it a good poke) is by hearing a pop or thud sound as it stitches.

Your stitches will also be of lower quality and the machine will be under much more stress.

If your needle tends to break this can be due to how you are setting up the thread on your machine, problems such as the needle not being in line with the tension discs can pull on the needle and cause it to snap. This can simply be correctly solved by re-threading.

Our Round-Up - How To Change A Needle On Your Sewing Machine

As you can now see, to change a needle on your sewing machine is pretty straightforward, just always make sure your machine is turned off before fiddling with it and refer to your specific models manual for reference when needed.

Figuring out when to change your machine's needle can be more of a task, but gets better with practice, and you will soon be able to identify the signs of when your machine is underperforming.

How do you know when your needle needs changing? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Sewing!

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Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.
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