June 24, 2024

How to choose the right sewing machine needles?

Sometimes you find yourself at a loss when faced with the wide range of machine needles available. Your sewing machine manufacturer may have advised you to buy their brand of needles, but what to do when they're not available? Sewing needles for domestic sewing machines are standard! Whatever the brand of your domestic sewing machine (Singer, Brother, Bernina, pfaff, etc.) BOHIN sewing machine needles will fit your machine perfectly.

Choose a BOHIN sewing machine needle to fit my sewing machine

The BOHIN range of machine needles offers a wide choice of needles. The assortment of needles allows you to adapt to the creative possibilities of your sewing machine and to the diversity of the fabrics to be sewn!

A bit of vocabulary... A sewing machine needle is made up of a shank that ends in an eye, allowing the sewing thread to pass through.

Before choosing the right needle for your project, make sure you select the right shank. BOHIN flat shank needles are suitable for the vast majority of electrically-powered, domestic sewing machines that are less than 60 years old.

There are several types of shank. This is the most important part of choosing the right needle for your machine! This is the part that will fit into your sewing machine: the shank must have the right shape and size. This shape and size are expressed by a reference found on the sewing needle case. The most common shank reference for family sewing machine needles is 130/705H. If this flat shank reference* is recommended for your sewing machine, then BOHIN machine needles will be compatible.

*If you don't know where to find this reference, it's usually indicated on the needle case you received with your machine.

Which sewing needles for which application?

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Now that you know what type of sewing needles to choose for your sewing machine, how do you go about choosing the right size? This will depend on your sewing project. The needle is adapted to the fabric (its material and thickness) and the thread used. With the exception of overcasting, you can't sew a single thickness of fabric. So you need to think about adapting your needle size to the possible multiple thicknesses of fabric. It's always best to do a test on a scrap. This will also enable you to adjust thread tension and stitch width. It's the condensed thickness that needs to be taken into account when inserting batting. That's why we talk more about weight than actual thickness.

Sewing is not an exact science. The classification of weights is given as a guide only. Nothing can replace experience.

What do the “sizes” on needle cases mean?

The diameter of sewing needles is expressed in two different ways: There is an international nomenclature in tenths of a millimeter. In the range of sewing needles, the finest, suitable for the most delicate fabrics such as silk, is denoted 55. The largest, for thicker fabrics and upholstery, is rated 120. The Singer sewing machine brand has its own way of grading sizes. The equivalent of 55 is size 7. The equivalent of 120 is size 19. There's a real concordance between Singer and international sizes, for sewing machine needles with identical heel sizes. The BOHIN France brand has chosen to carry both sizes on its cases. They are offered one above the other, at the bottom of the case.


1/ Woven fabrics (also known as warp and weft): universal tips

Non-stretch fabrics are fabrics with a straight thread, woven with both warp and weft threads. Standard point needles are suitable for these fabrics. The treatment of standard needles ensures good resistance when sewing fabrics. They are both strong and flexible. Standard fabrics include poplin, cotton, cretonne, piqué, terry, flannel, batiste, velvet, voile, twill, canvas, satin, etc. These types of fabric are sometimes associated with materials (linen, cotton, polyester, viscose, etc.). Some materials influence the choice of needles. Keep in mind that if your fabric doesn't stretch in a straight line, you can use a standard sewing machine needle. However, special needles are available for certain types of fabric.

The benefit of standard needles is that they come in a wide range of sizes. They are easy to adapt to different fabric weights. If you're a beginner sewer, it's best to start with one of the 5 or 10 machine needle sets, which include the three most common sizes: 70, 80 and 90 (Singer size equivalents: 10, 12 and 14). These will enable you to test different sizes on your fabrics. The ones you use most will be the ones you need most frequently. All you need to do is take back the needles you use in boxes of 10 of the same size to stock up regularly and, above all, to store and find them easily.

Sizes 70, 80 and 90 (Singer size equivalents: 10, 12 and 14) correspond to light, medium-weight fabrics. Size 70 (the thinnest) is suitable for light fabrics, while size 90 (a little thicker) is suitable for medium-weight fabrics. This assortment will enable you to sew fabrics with weights ranging from 100g/m2 to 250g/m2.

BOHIN standard needles range from size 55 (Singer size equivalent: 7) to size 120 (Singer size equivalent: 19).

Each has its own specificity. Needles for thinner fabrics have the smallest sizes, and needles for thicker fabrics the largest.

Needle size 55 (Singer size equivalent: 7) is suitable for fine, light, wispy fabrics such as muslin and voile, as well as silk fabrics. Machine needle size 60 (Singer size equivalent: 8) is suitable for sewing gauze (not to be confused with double gauze) and voile, as well as fabrics weighing less than 120g/m2. Size 70 (Singer size equivalent: 10) is suitable for light fabrics (max. 150g/m2) such as double gauze, viscose crepe and batiste. Size 80 (Singer equivalent: 12) is suitable for medium-weight fabrics (between 150g/m2 and 200g/m2) such as poplin. Size 90 (Singer size equivalent: 14) is suitable for slightly heavier fabrics (between 200g/m2 and 250g/m2). Size 100 (Singer size equivalent: 16) is suitable for heavy fabrics (250g/m2 to 350g/m2). Size 110 (Singer size equivalent: 18) is suitable for very heavy fabrics (350g/m2 to 400g/m2). For your domestic sewing machine with a suitable motor, sewing machine needles size 120 (Singer size equivalent: 19) will enable you to sew the thickest fabrics (over 400g/m2).

Weights given are for guidance only. Nothing can replace experience. However, these lines can be used as a guide.

When in doubt about the size of a sewing needle, if it is no longer in its case, the diameter is indicated on the shank. This information is often found to be too small, but it is very useful and accessible in the right light or with a good magnifying glass.

2/ Special tips

There are warp and weft fabrics, and then there are all the others! It's best to always have the right needles for the type of fabric you're working with, and to be familiar with fabric manufacture in order to select the right needle. Some needles will have a tip or coating adapted to certain materials or techniques. The aim of these special sewing machine needle tips is to provide you with the means to sew all your creative ideas pleasantly and to the best effect. Each of these special sewing needles has its own specific use. They're not just for experienced sewers. Special sewing needles are just the tools you need to improve your sewing skills.


Needles designed for leather have a special point that allows them to pierce the material more easily. In the same way as triangular point needles for hand sewing, machine sewing needles for leather allow the material to be sewn without pre-piercing it. The leather is perforated and remains clean. There are no stamping marks as with a punch.

Special leather sewing needles can also be used to sew oilcloth and coated fabrics. A Teflon foot, to be chosen according to your sewing machine, will also help the material glide over your sewing machine.

Don't forget to choose the right thread for your sewing. A strong thread will be very useful, such as denim thread or a very strong cotton thread. Waxed thread is not recommended for sewing machines.


Many fabrics today contain an elastic material. This material is a thread that makes up the fabric. For example, warp and weft fabrics are stretchy because they contain nylon, elastane, lycra or certain polyesters. You can recognize a stretch fabric by its ability to stretch in all directions.

Sewing stretch fabric requires considerable stretching of the fabric, which, on standard needles, creates additional tension on the needle. This can cause the standard needle to break, as the fabric tension will cause the needle to bend beyond what it can withstand. Special stretch needles have been specially treated to give them greater flexibility while remaining strong. They are available in assortments for light and medium-heavy fabrics.

Stretch fabrics tend to roll at the edges. They are therefore difficult to hem. Twin Stretch needles are ideal for double seams, to ensure that the fabric lies flat against the fabric surface. BOHIN Twin Stretch needles are size 75 (Singer size equivalent: 11). They have been designed for hemming and double-stitching fine technical fabrics, especially for sports. All sewing machines are suitable for use with double-pointed needles. The top seam will have two parallel lines. The underside will resemble an overlock, since there is a single bobbin that will loop the two upper threads.

If a jersey fabric is made of synthetic material, depending on the degree of elasticity inside, it can be sewn as a stretch or jersey fabric. Similarly, for stretch jeans, assembly seams can be sewn using a size 90 stretch needle (Singer size equivalent: 14), while for hems or multiple layers, such as topstitching, a size 100 BOHIN jeans needle (Singer size equivalent: 16) is preferred.


Jersey is an elastic fabric because it is knitted rather than woven. Jersey is stretchable in one direction only, that of the width, not the height. It is still possible to find jerseys without stretch material. But they often contain a little elastane. However, they can be sewn in much the same way as jersey.

The point of jersey needles is rounded so that it passes through the stitches of the material and not between the fibers. This maintains the fabric's elasticity. If you sew jersey with standard needles, even with a zigzag stitch, you risk cracking your seams, as they won't maintain the fabric's elasticity. The assortment of special jersey sewing needles is designed for light and medium-heavy fabrics.

The Twin needle is designed for hemming fine jerseys. These fabrics can be difficult to hem. Twin needles are suitable for double seams, to ensure that the fabric is properly sewn. The Twin Bohin needle is size 80 (Singer size equivalent: 12). It is designed in particular for making parallel seams on T-shirts and medium-weight clothing fabrics. All sewing machines are suitable for use with double-pointed needles. Sewing machine manufacturers offer various tutorials on how to thread the two threads. The top seam will have two parallel lines. The underside will resemble an overlock, since there is a single bobbin that will loop the two threads on top.

If a jersey fabric is made of synthetic material, depending on the degree of elasticity inside, it can be sewn as a stretch or jersey fabric.


Denim fabric is practical, comfortable and durable. It's a noble material with an important specificity in its weave. It is very tight and very resistant. That's why there are specially adapted needles with very fine points to penetrate the wefts of the fabric, and just as strong to pierce the thick material.

Needles suitable for BOHIN jeans are size 100 (Singer size equivalent: 16). These are the most useful needles for assembling and topstitching heavy-duty denim fabric. These special sewing needles can be used for both sewing and repairing jeans. They can also be used to adjust a two-ply hem, re-stitch a jeans seam or repair a tear on jeans using a repair patch or jersey percale if your fabric is stretchy.

There are now denim fabrics that contain stretch. Depending on the degree of elasticity and the weight of the denim, some seams can be made with a size 90 stretch needle (Singer size equivalent: 14). Denim-specific needles are recommended for topstitching and multiple layers (waistband fitting, pocket application, etc.).

To sew your denim, remember to use the special denim thread in the contrasting ochre color. This resistant thread is suitable for 100 needles (Singer size equivalent: 16) and has the traditional color complementary to the blue of classic denim.


Glues are extremely useful sewing aids, stabilizing two fabrics against each other and sometimes stiffening fabrics that are then sewn to others. On the other hand, glues can transfer to the needle or even the machine during sewing, at the risk of clogging and damaging it. A needle with glue on its shank is less likely to pass through fabrics. It risks marking the fabric more strongly as it passes through, thus damaging the fabric.

Anti-glue needles have a special anti-adhesive coating that gives them a perfect glide through glued surfaces (adhesive spray, temporary or permanent textile glue, grip tape, etc.). Anti-glue needles are available in an assortment for medium-heavy and heavy fabrics. A case is also available for more delicate and fine projects.

Anti-glue machine needles enable you to sew materials that have been glued without clogging either the machine or the needle. They can be used to sew appliqués on garments and patchworks.


While patchwork is traditionally made with a between hand sewing needle, there are many tools available to make machine quilting easier. Our assortment of patchwork machine needles lets you top quilt with fine to medium-heavy fabrics. The fine point of these needles enables you to make small seams, with a stitch of less than usual length, to create strong seams.

For quilting, you can use special patchwork needles or adopt Top Stitch needles. These needles are ideal for geometric or fancy quilting, to assemble your top, bottom and batting. You can then set your sewing machine to free-motion quilting mode to create patterns from the simplest to the most elaborate. Top Stitch needles are ideal for crazy quilts and thicker fabrics.

For quilting thicker fabrics, you can also use standard size 100, 110 or 120 needles (Singer size equivalents: 16, 18 and 19), depending on the capacity of your machine. Patchwork is a fabulous opportunity to give a second life to home textiles. You can also use a larger batting.


You have an embroidery machine? Would you like to machine embroider with the free-motion function? Turn to our embroidery needles. They feature a larger eye to facilitate thread passage. Our range of machine embroidery needles comes in two sizes. Size 75 (Singer size equivalent: 11) enables you to make fine embroideries, with little thread, while size 90 (Singer size equivalent: 14) enables you to embroider thick fabrics with denser threads.

Embroidery sewing machine needles allow you to use a variety of fancy threads. To make your creativity even easier, BOHIN also offers embroidery needles with metallic thread. This particularly slippery and fragile thread is held securely in these specially adapted needles. Size 80 enables you to produce fine embroidery with very little thread. Size 90 (Singer size equivalent: 14) is preferable for embroidering thick fabrics.


Microtex needles are little jewels of technology. They are the perfect needle for all non-stretch technical fabrics. Microtex sewing machine needles are suitable for specific uses and particularly delicate fabrics. Whether fragile or fine, delicate or breakable, the range of Microtex machine needles provides solutions for sewing difficult fabrics. This is the machine needle assortment to try if you're looking for a last solution for a particular fabric.

Microtex needles can be used for sewing fine micro-fibers, sewing with fluid viscose, repairing tent or kite fabrics, and patchwork paper piercing. Even fragile silk or polyester satins can be sewn with Microtex needles.

The Microtex machine needle assortment offers a wide choice of needle sizes 70, 80 and 90 (Singer size equivalents: 10, 12 and 14). These are the most common sizes for light to medium-heavyweight fabrics.


Combining softness, delicacy, heat regulation and lightness, viscose is a very common fabric in haberdashery. It also often has a lovely fall and drape that has won over many. However, viscose is often delicate, very fluid and therefore a little complicated to sew.

First of all, make sure your viscose fabric is well pinned. You can also starch your fabric to stiffen it. There are products for this, but it's easy to do at home with cornstarch, for example.

For sewing viscose fabrics, we suggest you try our microtex needles. The advantage of this machine needle assortment is that it offers the same sizes as the standard machine needle assortment. The assortment is therefore suitable for light, medium and medium-heavy fabrics.

Which needles should I buy to get started with a sewing machine?

First of all, congratulations on the start of your creative adventure! The ideal way to start is with an assortment of machine needles. There are different types, depending on the type of needle. The combi sewing machine needle case includes different types of needles in terms of size and point. In addition to standard point needles, you can also try out special denim points (blue heel, in sizes 90 and 100) and stretch points (size 75 (Singer size equivalent: 11) in yellow and 90 (Singer size equivalent: 14) in pink). Needles are offered in the classic standard needle sizes: 70, 80 and 90 (Singer size equivalents: 10, 12 and 14). This is the ideal assortment to start sewing on the family sewing machine.

If you'd like to start with non-stretch fabrics only, using standard family sewing machine needles, you may like to consider one of our machine needle assortments. Comprising 5 or 10 needles, these assortments cover the most common sizes. The 5-needle assortment is for occasional use or small projects. The 10-needle machine assortment is for longer projects, such as garments. Sometimes you'll need one needle to complete a single project. Sometimes, one needle will do a single project. When you're tackling a larger project (trousseau, wedding dress, coat, suit...), you'll need several needles to finish your project.

Special point needles are also frequently offered in assortments. These allow you to start working with jersey, stretch, denim and more.

A few tips on how to use and store your sewing machine needles
How long does a needle last?

The point of the needle becomes smoother over time. On average, a high-quality sewing needle is considered to have an optimal life of 8h. After 8 hours, the point is less effective. Your stitches will be less regular. If used for too long, your needle risks breaking and even damaging your sewing machine.

Maintenance of your sewing machine 

It's still advisable to have your sewing machine checked every year (as you would your car) if you use it regularly. Also remember to clean it of textile dust that gets lodged inside, and oil the gears.

Storing your sewing needles

Given the long life of a sewing needle (8h of sewing before the point dulls), we advise you to set up a storage system to differentiate new needles from those that have already been used. You can make a needle booklet in which you indicate the needle size and type of point for easy use, in larger type than on the heel. Making this type of needle book, whether for machine or hand sewing needles, is an excellent project for getting started in sewing. You can also set up visual storage within your case. For example, place the flat shank or round side of your needle on the top of your case to identify needles that have already been used.

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