The Anatomy Of A Machine Sewing Needle

Even though a sewing needle is rather small instrument, it has a tremendous impact on the overall quality of a garment. Not only is choosing the right needle important for the quality of stitches, stitch lines and seams, choosing a wrong needle can have disastrous consequences that, for example, can cause the needle to break during sewing or (permanently) damage the sewn material. In addition to that, different sewing machines require different sewing needles, just like different materials might have to be sewn with different types or sized sewing needles. It is however difficult, if not impossible, to prescribe the perfect needle for a given application as the sewing machine and sewn material determines what type of needle is more or less suitable. However, understanding the anatomy of sewing needles is the first step into selecting and applying fitting needles.



What Are The Main Elements Of A Machine Sewing Needle?

The main elements of sewing needles include:

End of the shank and of the needle. Sometimes referred to as “shank end face”.

Part of the needle that attaches to the sewing machine.

Area in which the needle transitions from the shank to the blade.

Long groove
Indentation in the center of the sewing needle that protects and guides the sewing thread as the needle enters the sewn material.

Middle area of the needle that moves (partly) into the sewn material.

Clearance above the needle eye that offers space for the hook to pick up the thread loop.

Open space in the needle through which the sewing thread is placed.

Point groove
Small indentation below the needle eye that aims to direct the sewing thread to lie at a 90-degree angle from the eye.

Pointed area below the needle eye that first enters the fabric that leaves a specific hole shape.

Lower area of the point. The “pointiness” of the tip differs per application. For example, silk requires a different needle than denim or leather.



Sewing needles are only a small part of sewing machines but they form a crucial element for the overall quality of the sewn material. Keep in mind that different sewing machines and different to-be-sewn materials require different sewing needles. Understanding the anatomy of a needle is the first step to understanding how different needles are operated and what their strong and weak points are.

Recommended post

What is a Bezel? What Is The Difference Between A Stitch And A Seam?