Embroidery Needle Sizes — Hand, DMC All Information for You

Josh Nixon

There are several factors to consider when choosing a hand embroidery needle sizes: the type of thread you’re using, the weight of the fabric, and the type of stitch you plan to do. Heavier fabrics require heavier needles, while fine fabrics need fine needles.

types of needle

There are also different types of needles for different types of stitches. Some needles have a sharp point, while others are rounded. Some are long and some are short. It’s important to choose the right needle for the job, or you’ll end up with poor results.

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Types of Needles

There are different types of needles for different purposes. Knowing the difference between them can make your life a lot easier.

Types of Needles

Needles have an eye and a pointed tip at the end that goes through the fabric. The size or thickness of the needle, the size and shape of the eye, the sharpness or bluntness of the tip, and the overall length of the needle all vary among different types of needles.

Embroidery Needles

Embroidery needles have a long, oval eye that is specifically designed to make it easier to use multiple strands of embroidery floss. The sharp point at the end makes it easy to pierce the fabric with a tighter weave, making it perfect for surface embroidery.

Embroidery Needles

I find that DMC and gold-eye clover needles are my favorites for embroidery. The gold plating on the clover needles helps to make threading the needle much simpler. In my experience, this has been true.

Tapestry Needle

There are several types of needles that can be used for embroidery. Tapestry needles are perfect for cross-stitch or needlepoint work where the holes in your fabric need to be large enough that you don’t have to pierce it with a typical sewing thread.

Tapestry Needle

They can also be used with Hardanger embroidery, pulled threads, and drawing projects. Their blunt tips are also beneficial for certain types of stitches because they won’t snag the thread or fabric.

Chenille Needle

You will need a variety of different-sized needles. The larger the eye on an item and easier it is for threading your needle-the better. Sharp tips make it easy to pierce the fabric, while thicker needles are better suited for embroidering with heavier threads.

Chenille Needle

Heavier needles can also make bigger holes in your fabric, so take that into consideration when choosing a size. I usually use embroidery needles when stitching with cotton floss, but if I need to use a thicker thread, I’ll go with a needle that’s size 22-18 and has all six strands of floss. It works just fine.

Sharps and Between Needles

Sharps are needles that are of medium length and have a small, round eye. They’re normally used as hand-sewing needles. A between needle is shorter in length and has a small eye and a sharp end.

These are commonly used for quilting. Sharps can also be used for embroidery, as they have a fine point that allows for more precise stitching. Between needles are not as sharp as sharps, but they are still effective for cutting through fabric. They’re ideal for quilting because their shorter length makes them easier to control.

Beading Needle

Beading needles are long and thin with a small eye. They are ideally used for sewing beads and sequins onto fabric. The eye is small enough to fit over the bead, and the longer length makes it easier to thread multiple beads on at once.

Beading Needle

Beading needles are available in different sizes, so it is important to choose the right size needle for the task at hand. A larger needle might be needed for bigger beads, while a smaller needle can be used for finer details. Needlepoint, beading, and embroidery.

Here are Four Tips to Help You Decide What Size Needle to Use

  1. The thickness of the needle should be able to pass easily through the fabric, without damaging the thread. The rule of thumb is that the shaft of the needle should be about as thick as the embroidery thread, but this doesn’t always work for surface embroidery. You have to consider the thickness of the thread at the eye where the thread is doubled, and the weave of the fabric. A tighter, close weave is going to require a needle that can make the right-sized hole for the thread.
  2. Although you may hear a pop as the needle passes through the fabric, there should be little resistance in the fabric when pulling the eye of the needle through. If there is resistance – if the fabric is pulling and denting, and you have to fight to get the needle through – that’s a sign you should be using a larger needle.
  3. The thread shouldn’t make a loud zipper noise when it’s pulled all the way through the fabric. If you feel resistance as you pull the thread and hear a loud zipper noise, then your needle might be too small. Try using a larger needle size to see if that fixes the problem. Alternatively, if the fabric is particularly thick or stiff, you might need to use a thicker thread. Otherwise, you might end up with skipped stitches.
  4. There is no absolute rule or formula for the size of needle to use when stitching with a specific thread. However, there are general suggestions that can be followed. Keep in mind that the selection of the needle is often based on personal preference. What needle are you comfortable with in this stitching situation? Over time, it becomes second nature to know what size needle will work best.


As a general rule of thumb, you want to choose a needle that is thick enough to make a hole in the fabric that the thread will easily go through but not so thick that it leaves visible holes in the weave of the fabric.

You also want to choose a needle with an eye large enough that you’re able to easily thread the needle. Choosing a needle that is too thin will make it hard to pull the thread through the fabric. Selecting too large of a needle can make it harder to work on more intricate designs.

This was a complete head to toe guide for embroider needle sizes.

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