Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Needle and Functions

Last Updated on 30/12/2020

Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Needle and Functions of Each Part

Muhammad Ibrahim Khalilullah
Department of Textile Engineering
Daffodil International University


What is Sewing Machine Needle?
Needle is the principle element of sewing machine. The needle carries the upper thread down to meet the lower thread, so it needs to be heavy enough to pierce the fabric but not so big that it leaves an unsightly hole. A worn, dull or damaged needle can cause stitch problems, such as skipped stitches or puckering seams. All needles designed for general sewing machines work with any brand and model of machine and are labeled as system 130/705 H or 15×1 H. There are many different types of machine needles, each designed for different threads, fabrics, and tasks. Sewing machine needles have different sized eyes, different points, and different scarves. As a sewer or sewing operator showld know concept about sewing machine needle. In this article I will discuss different components of sewing machine needle and functions of each parts.

Way of needle movement is related to:

Functions of needle in the sewing m/c:

  1. To make a hole in the fabric without damaging the threads of the fabric.
  2. To make a needle thread loop.
  3. To pass the needle thread loop through the loop or loops of the looper thread.

Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Needle and Their Functions

anatomy of sewing machine needle
Fig: Anatomy of sewing machine needle

1. Butt: For setting the needle on to the needle bar or clamp.

2. Shank: Upper part of the needle which is tied in the needle bar and which supports the needle.

3. Shoulder: Middle part of the shank and blade is shoulder. It helps to make the hole of the fabric and strengthen the needle blade.

4. Blade: Longest part of the needle from the shoulder to needle eye. In this portion, friction between fabric and needle is maximum. Blade is gradually tapered to tip.

5. Long groove: The long and thin groove between shoulders to needle eye in the blade is called long groove. When the needle penetrates the fabric with needle thread, needle thread takes position in the long groove.

6. Eye: The hole present in the front of the needle is called eye. Eye through which sewing thread is passed.

7. Scarf: The groove of the needle above the eye is called scarf. Its purpose is to enable the closer setting of looper to the needle.

8. Point: The portion from the eye to the tip of the needle is called point. Point should be different for different type of fabric.

9. Tip: The last (extreme end) part of the needle is called tip. It helps to create hole in the fabric during sewing.

Needle point:
The portion from the eye to the tip of the needle is called needle point.

Two types of needle point-

  1. Cutting point.
  2. Cloth point.

Cloth point: 
Cloth point / Round point needles used for sewing cloths. The point of cloth point needle is round.

Two types of cloth points:

  1. Set point.
  2. Ball point.

Set point: Set point needles used for sewing woven fabrics.

3 types of set points namely:

  1. Slim set point: For sewing densely woven fabric or top stitching like collar, cuff and pockets.
  2. Set point: For sewing medium densely woven fabrics.
  3. Heavy set point: For sewing buttons ( attaching buttons)
needle set point
Fig: Needle set point

Ball point: Ball point needles used for sewing knitted garments.

Ball point needles are of 3 types:

  1. Light ball point.
  2. Medium ball point.
  3. Heavy ball point.
needle ball point
Fig: Needle ball point

Needle size expression

Metric system (Nm):
Easy process, most usable, based on blade diameter.

Needle size = Blade dia in mm X 100
= 0.8 mm X 100
=80 Nm.

Singer system:
5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Needle system number more, needle coarser.

Causes of damaging needle point:

  • Needle heats with m/c parts specially throat plate.
  • Faulty fabric handling during sewing by m/c operator.
  • Needle deflection during sewing.
  • Improper needle size selection.
  • Improper needle point selection.

You may also like:

  1. Different Parts of a Sewing Machine Needle with Functions
  2. Important Techniques for Sewing Needle Selection

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