Make sure that your needle is small enough to go through the fabric without stretching it or tearing it, and large enough for the eye to accommodate your chosen thread.
Use "sharps" for general-purpose hand stitching. Sharps come in a variety of sizes - the larger the number, the smaller the needle.
The large size and sharp point of "glover" needles allow you to sew heavy canvas or leather projects.
Tapestry needles have blunt points and are used for needlepoint and tapestry projects. The blunt points allow the needle to slip between the canvas mesh without splitting the mesh threads.
Use sharp crewel or embroidery needles instead of tapestry needles when you embroider on a tightly woven, non-mesh fabric.
Use short quilting needles for hand stitching quilts. The shorter needle length allows you to work through the heavy fabric layers more easily than you can with the longer sharps.
Select a darning needle for mending holes in woven fabrics. These needles are larger in diameter and longer than general-purpose sewing needles which allows you to draw your thread over large gaps in the fabric.
A multi-needle pack offers a variety of needles to choose from when you are unsure of the appropriate needle size for your project.
A thimble or other hand protection will protect your fingers or hands when you hand stitch a sewing project.
Machine needles are sized from 9 to 18 - the smaller the number, the smaller the needle.
Standard sharp sewing machine needles in sizes 11 to 14 for most sewing projects. A smaller-sized needle is best for sheer or lightweight fabrics. Sizes 16 to 18 are used for heavyweight fabrics. Purchase a package of assorted needle sizes if you are unsure which is appropriate for your fabric. Test the various needle sizes on some scrap fabric until you determine the correct size to use.
Ball-point and wedge-point needles are sized in the same manner as the standard variety - the higher the number, the larger the needle.
To maintain a fabrics elasticity, select a ball-point machine needles to sew knits or other stretchy fabrics. Their blunt point and edges edges allow the thread to pass between the fabric's fibers rather than through them.
Use wedge-point machine needles to sew leathers, suedes, and vinyls. The pointed wedge shape of this needle will create a slit, rather than a large hole, through which the thread will pass.
A worn or damaged needle will cause skipped or uneven stitches and may damage your fabric.
Check the label on the needle package before you make a purchase. For most brands, there will be a sizing guide that will tell you which fabrics can be sewn with the enclosed needles.
Check your sewing machine manual to determine which needles to use with your machine model.
Use sewing machine needles in most sergers. Refer to your serger manual to make sure that a special needle is not required.
Used primarily for decorative sewing and stitching applications, twin sewing needles are made with a pair of shafts extending down from a single needle shank. Twin needles generally come with a gap of 2, 4 or 6mm. Make sure your sewing machine has zig-zag stitching ability, double thread holders, and a throat plate that will accommodate the twin needle.