Since the 19th century, sewing needle sizes have been specified according to numbers. They number from 1 to 24; these numbers point to the diameter of the needle. The lower the number, the thicker the needle. This is true regardless of the needle type.
Common Needle Types and Uses
There are dozens of needle types available. Among the most common are the following.
The sharps come in sizes 1 to 10. The eyes are small and sharp. These are referred to as the standard or ordinary needle. The betweens measure 3 to 10. These needles are not as long as sharps. They are also referred to as quilting needles.
The milliners are very long (the sewing needle size is 1 5/8 in). The eyes are round and small. They’re also called the milliner straw needles.
The crewels come in the 1 to 10 sizes. The length is medium and the eyes are bigger than the sharps. These are often utilized for embroidery, thus earning the moniker embroidery needles. The chenille needle measures 13 to 26.
They are characterized by their thickness and big eyes. Resembling tapestry needles, they are used for embroidery laced with heavy yarn.
Other Needle Types
Tapestry needles measure 13 to 26. These have large eyes and the points are blunt. These needles are also quite thick. These needles are used for embroidery and also some needlepoint.
The sewing needle size of cotton darners ranges from 1 to 5. these needles are very long and Utilized for basting. The eyes are equally long. These needles are also employed for darning. The yarn needle sizes are from 14 to 18. They are long with large eyes. These are often used for heavy yarn.
Two special needles types are also available. The mattress needles are semicircular in shape. They are heavy and long. The doll needles measure 3½ to 7 inches. As the name implies, these are used for making dolls. They are also employed for creating stuffed animals.
Machine Sewing Needles
The sewing needle sizes used in sewing machines are different. One number used denotes whether it can be used in a machine or not. In the United States, the number is 15 × 1. In Europe the number usually is 30/705.
Another number is used to determine the needle’s diameter over the scarf. In the US, the number is between 6 and 22; the lower the number, the thinner the needle.
In Europe the needle diameter is from 50 to 130. This is measured via the hundredths of a millimeter. Sewing machines are sold with marks like 9/65. This is used to indicate the US and European sizes.
However, things can get confusing because the numbers could also indicate the number of needles installed. In some European stores, the numbers could indicate the needle distance. Common twin needles are 1.6/70, 2.0/75, 2.5/75, 3.0/90, 4.0/75, 4.0/100, and 6.0/100.
The sewing needle sizes used in other countries may be different. In some countries, either the US or European measuring system is used.