What Size Needle For Quilting

If you are new to quilting, knowing what size needle you are going to need might be a little difficult. There are various different sizes when it comes to quilting needles, so this isn’t much of a surprise! 

With this in mind, we are going to look at how to go about deciphering what size needle you will need for your quilting, as well as a look at quilting in general. 

What Size Needle For Quilting

What is Quilting?

Quilting is the art of stitching together pieces of fabric to create a finished product. This can be done by hand or machine, and there are many different types of stitches used.

The most common type of stitch is the straight-line stitch, which is also known as the running stitch. It is often used to join two layers of fabric together. 

Other types of stitches include French knots, back stitch, whip stitch, blanket stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, stem stitch, buttonhole stitch, herringbone stitch, zigzag stitch, and more.

How Are Needles Used in Quilting?

The main purpose of using a needle in quilting is to hold the fabric in place while you sew. You will use a needle with a thread attached to it, called a bobbin thread.

When you start sewing, you will pull the thread through the fabric and then attach the other end of the thread to the needle again. 

This process is repeated until all the pieces of fabric have been sewn together. Once you have completed this, you will cut off any excess threads that remain on the fabric.

What Sizes of Quilting Needles are Available?

There are many different types of needles available. They come in varying lengths, widths, and thicknesses. The length refers to the distance from one end of the needle to the other. A longer needle means that it is more flexible, meaning that it allows you to move around the fabric easier. 

However, if you want to make sure that you get a good result, you should choose a shorter needle. The width refers to the diameter of the needle itself. A wider needle is better suited for thicker fabrics such as cotton or denim. A thinner needle is better suited for lighter-weight fabrics like silk or chiffon. 

Lastly, the thickness refers to the amount of material that goes into making up the needle. Thicker needles are generally stronger than thin ones.

How To Choose the Right Quilting Needle

You should always try to purchase a needle that is appropriate for the project that you are undertaking. For instance, if you are making a baby quilt, you should choose a smaller needle gauge than if you were making a larger item such as a bedspread.

If you are unsure about what size needle to buy, you should ask your local quilter or seamstress for advice.

If you are new to quilting, you may find it difficult to know exactly how much thread to use when you are starting out. If you are not sure about how much thread to use, you should stick to the following guidelines:

  • Use enough thread so that you do not run out before finishing your project.
  • If you are working on a small piece of fabric, you should only need 1/4 yards (0.25 m) of thread.
  • If you are making a large item, you should use at least 3/8 yards (0.5 m).
  • If you are working on a very thick fabric, you should use at most 2 yards (1.75 m) of thread.

Needle Sizes

When choosing a needle, you should consider its size. There are several sizes of needles available, including:


These are usually made from stainless steel and are best suited for lightweight fabrics.


Made from carbon steel, these needles are suitable for medium-weight fabrics.

Heavy Duty 

Also known as machine needles, these can be used for heavy-duty projects.

Quilting Tools & Materials

Once you have decided which type of needle to use, you should also think about the tools that you will require to complete your project. Some of these include:

Sewing Machine 

Most people use their own sewing machines, but there are some great online retailers who sell them too.

Presser Foot 

A presser foot is an attachment that helps you keep the fabric flat during sewing. It is important that you buy a quality presser foot because they tend to wear out quickly.

Stitch Markers 

Used to mark where you have sewn, stitch markers are helpful when you are trying to match seams together. You can either buy individual markers or you could opt for a marker holder.


Cutting scissors are essential for any kind of sewing. They come in various shapes and sizes. Be careful not to cut yourself with sharp blades.

Thread Snips 

These are useful for snipping off excess threads after stitching.

Fabric Shears 

These are handy for cutting fabric straight across.

How to Use a Quilting Needle

Once you have chosen a needle, you should be able to see whether it needs sharpening. If you can see any marks on the tip of the needle, you should sharpen it immediately. Otherwise, you should wait until you are ready to use it.

To begin using your needle, you should first insert the point of the needle into the fabric where you would like to start stitching. Then, you should push down firmly onto the fabric.

Make sure that you keep your finger away from the needle so that it does not go into your skin. 

You should then pull the needle through the fabric. This will ensure that you get a straight line stitch. Once you have finished sewing, you should remove the needle from the fabric.

It is important to remember that you should never leave a needle inside the fabric. Doing this could cause damage to the fabric.

Final Thoughts

The right choice of quilting needle depends entirely upon what type of fabric you are going to sew. The more delicate the fabric, the finer the needle should be.

However, if you are working on thicker material, you should choose a heavier-duty needle. 

Hopefully, our guide has helped you on the way to finding the perfect quilting needle to suit your projects, as well as giving you an insight into what other materials you might need if you are new to the quilting process!

Thank you for reading!

Sarah Maine
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