What Size Sewing Machine Needle For Cotton

Using the right sizes and types of sewing machine needles for your project can mean the difference between broken lines, skipped stitches, and perfect sewing for professional looking. The needle for sewing machines is available in different styles of packaging. It is essential to get the needle suitable for your machine if you want it to work correctly, especially for materials like cotton. If you’re going to make a stitch on cotton, then this article will guide you on the type of needle to use for the project.

What Size Sewing Machine Needle For Cotton

The best needles for cotton fabric are medium-sized needles like 80/12, 90/14. They work well with quilting pieces of cotton, lightweight upholstery, denim, silk dupioni, and other fabrics with similar weight. The eye of the needle is sized for general sewing threads such as all-purpose polyester and 50-weight cotton.

How to Determine the Type of Needle to Use for Sewing Cotton

There are various types of sewing machine needles designed for different fabrics; the cotton fabric is usually stitched using the 80/12 and 90/14 needle sizes. These sizes are the most recommended but don’t limit the use of other needle types for your project. The decision to use any needle for cotton fabric is based on your level of experience and the availability of such a needle. Below is a list of different needles and their function on different sewing materials.

    • Universal


The tip is slightly rounded for the knits but sharp enough to pierce the fabric. Although technically a universal needle can be used in knitting, it was found to be more productive with fabrics, especially cotton.

    • Leather

This corner stitch is ideal for sewing on leather, suede, vinyl, thick suede, and thick non-woven fabric. Pay attention, especially where you find yourself sewing; this needle will leave permanent holes. To avoid perforation of the material, it does not sew the back. In turn, tie the ends of the thread. Do not use the type of needle for knits.

    • Serger


These durable needles are specially designed for Overlock machines. The pointed tip provides versatility for use in all fabrics. These needles are different in size from conventional sewing machine needles. Check the manual for the correct needle. Change an overlock needle after 15 hours of serging.

    • Metallic

The monofilament and metallic threadwork best with this needle due to extra-large eyes. Wide groove scarf and pointed tip. This needle is to be used for sewing metal threads.

    • Twin


This “needle” has a single axis that connects two needles. This is usually used when a designer wants two perfectly matched stitches, usually a seam on jeans and decorative stitching. The users’ sewing machine should be double-needle because you need the two separate line spools. Available in jeans, elastic, embroidery, metallic and universal. You can also have a winged needle.

    • Spring

The needle is most often used for sewing, embroidery, and a free monogram. The thread wrapped tree acts as afoot to push and release the fabric. Available only in the universal, elastic, and padded version.

    • Ballpoint

The preferred needle for knitting. It is slightly rounded to pass between the threads of the fabric in time to pierce them. It works equally well on thick fabrics and does not damage spandex.

    • Sharp

This needle has a sharp tip and a narrow shaft for the penetrating woven. It works best on fine fabrics such as chintz, silk, light suede, and microfiber. It is also ideal for traditional sewing or any other type of sewing.

    • Denim


Denim needles have a sharp point and a solid shaft. These needles can pierce multiple layers without breaking. Use in thick fabrics and thin fabrics, such as jeans, canvas, and duck.

    • Topstitching

The extra-large eye, the wide groove, and sharp point make it perfect for heavy decorative lines, such as embroidery lines, or the same two threads of all-purpose thread. Use this needle as long as there are stitches visible partially outside of your project to achieve a neat and clean appearance.

    • Stretch

Flexible needles are designed for fine and light knitting. Use to sew silk jersey, Lycra, or any other highly elastic element. If you find skipped stitches with a ballpoint needle, switch to a stretch needle.

    • Embroidery


This is an excellent machine and sewing embroidery with rayon, acrylic, or unique lines. The needle silencer protects the cable from fraying or breaking at high speed.

    • Wing

Just like in the name, he has “wings” on each side of the shaft. Ideal for heritage and decorative stitches, especially for Batiste and linen. Some heirloom seams can be adequately held with a winged needle.

    • Triple

This needle is only provided as a universal needle. Like the double needle, the triple-needle has a single axis that connects three needles. The machine must be able to use a triple needle.

    • Self-threading

It is a needle for general use, as well as the universal needle, but the eye is enlarged to help sewists who have problems attaching needles.

The Meaning Of Size Numbers on Sewing Machine Needles?

You may have some questions as regards how the needle sizing works, e.g., the 80/12 or 110/18 needle size for cotton. Of the two numbers, one is European and the other American. From thinnest needle to the thickest needle, the European size range 60 to 110, while the American sizes ranging from 8 to 18. If you are using a 70/10 needle to sew two pieces of jeans, the needle is likely to be out of service very quickly.

Here is a general guideline for the numbering:

60/8 – For lighter fabrics, such as organza, muslin, or georgette.

70/10 – polyester or light silk, as you would do with a light blouse.

80/12 – Most used – cotton, rayon, blends.

90/14 – Medium weight fabric, such as corduroy, plain bristles, less weight fabric.

100/16 – Thick materials, such as Denim and Duck Cloth.

110/18 – For weighty fabrics, such as canvas or tapestry.

120/19 – Heavier fabrics, such as handles for bags and boat canvas.

Related Questions

How often should I change my needle?

In general, it is recommended to change the needle after each project. The needles are reasonably cheap, for it won’t cost much money, and you can be sure that your needle will still work as expected.

What is a stretch needle?

Stretch needles, frequently confused with Jersey needles, are often medium ballpoint points. They have a special eye and scarf designed for highly stretchy and elastic fabrics. If you’re stitching swimwear, this needle type is recommended.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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