How To Change A Sewing Machine Needle

How To Change A Sewing Machine Needle?

How To Change A Sewing Machine Needle?

Do you have an old sewing machine and want to know how to change the needle? Or have you recently purchased a new sewing machine but are unsure of how to insert the needle correctly?

Knowing how to change a sewing machine needle is a essential skill to ensure your projects turn out great! Whether you’re making clothes, curtains or even just mending an old garment, the needle plays a huge part in achieving your desired output.

Doing this correctly can be confusing and intimidating when you’re starting, but with some careful attention, it’s surprisingly easy.

In this blog post, we will offer a comprehensive guide on changing needles in any type of sewing machine – from vintage models to modern machines – with helpful tips along the way.

How To Change A Sewing Machine Needle

What is a sewing machine needle?

A sewing machine needle is essentially a metal shaft with a sharp point at one end and a circular eye at the other for threading. It has a flat shank at the back of its head for attaching securely to the sewing machine.

Needles come in various sizes, depending on the type of fabric and thread being used. The most common sizes for general-purpose sewing are 80/12, 90/14, and 100/16 (the higher the number, the thinner the needle).

Depending on what you’re sewing, heavier needles may be needed for denim or canvas while lighter ones might be preferable for silk or chiffon. Generally speaking, the heavier the fabric, the larger the needle should be.

In addition to regular household needles, there are special needles used for particular tasks such as blind hemming, embroidery, quilting and tufting.

Now that you know what a sewing machine needle is, let’s talk about how to change it. 

How to change a sewing machine needle?

In this part, we give a deep understanding of how to change a sewing machine needle, which is very important for people who love sewing.

First and foremost, we must know some of the most necessary supplies used for changing a sewing machine needle and these include a new needle, needle-nose pliers, a small screwdriver, and tweezers.

– A new needle: The size of the needle used is dependent on the fabric type you are sewing. Be sure to check your sewing machine’s manual for the correct size information.

– Needle-nose pliers: These will be used to remove the old needle and attach the new one.

– Small screwdriver: This will be needed to loosen or tighten a few screws that may be used to secure the needle.

– Tweezers: These can be useful for removing any lint or thread that is stuck around the needle area.

Besides these main supplies, there are also a few other necessary things which include: good lighting, a magnifying glass, and a clean work surface.

– Good lighting: Having good lighting makes it easier to see the needle and prevents any accidental eye strain.

– Magnifying glass: A magnifying glass helps with seeing smaller details which can be helpful when threading.

– Clean work surface: Ensure that your area is free of lint or dust before proceeding with changing the needle.

Now that you have the necessary supplies, let’s start with the actual process of changing your sewing machine needle. Here, we mention a step by step instruction for changing a sewing machine needle, which is very easy and clear for people to follow.

Step 1: Removing the old sewing machine needle:

To ensure your safety, first shut off your sewing machine.

You must first unfasten the needle clamp screw in order to remove the sewing machine needle. The needle itself is secured in place by the needle clamp. To the right of this needle clamp, there ought to be a little screw.

There are several ways to release the screw depending on the model of your sewing machine.

The needle clamp screw on a Singer heavy-duty sewing machine is simply turned by hand. To loosen the screw, unscrew it either clockwise or in your direction. In case it falls out, hold the needle in place with your other hand.

When tightened, the needle clamp screw on a Brother sewing machine is more difficult to remove by hand.

Actually, a flat-head screwdriver may be used to loosen the needle by rotating the screw in my direction counterclockwise. It’s not necessary to substantially loosen the needle clamp screw. Do only enough to get the needle to move.

The needle should now be pulled out of the clamp by being grasped between your thumb and pointer finger and pulled at an angle.

In order to allow your fingers more room to rotate the needle out, it may occasionally be simpler to remove the presser foot before withdrawing the needle.

As you take the needle out, take note of whether the flat side of the needle shank (upper half of the needle) is facing the front or the rear. The flat portion of the needle is facing the rear of every sewing machine I have ever used.

Step 2. Putting a new needle in your sewing machine.

The second step in the process of changing a sewing machine needle is to insert the new needle.

It is important to ensure that the new needle is the correct size and type for the fabric and thread you are using; this information can usually be found in your sewing machine’s manual.

Once you have chosen the correct needle, begin by inserting it into the needle clamp with the flat side of its shank facing the rear. Gently insert the needle into the needle clamp until it stops. If your needle does not fit correctly, try turning it 180 degrees to see if that helps. Make sure the eye is aligned with the shuttle race (the hole through which the thread passes).

Then, the needle clamp screw should be tightened using either your hand or a tiny screwdriver. It should fit snugly but not excessively.

Once the new needle is securely in place, you can reinstall your presser foot if it was previously removed and begin sewing. It is important to check the tension on your machine once you have changed the needle. If it’s too tight or too loose, adjust the tension dial accordingly.

Besides the way mentioned above to insert new needles, there are some different ways used to insert new needles in a sewing machine.

You can use a clearance plate on some machines. The clearance plate is attached to the machine with a single screw or two screws and it allows you to easily insert a new needle by pressing down on the plate while turning.

On other models, you may need to use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to hold onto the old needle in order to remove it from the clamp.

And that’s it – an answer for how to change a sewing machine needle safely and easily!

Finally, it is important to remember to always be careful when changing the needles in your sewing machine. Make sure you are aware of any screws or moving parts that could cause injury during the process.

When should I replace my sewing machine needle?

After knowing the process of changing a sewing machine needle, you also know when a sewing machine should be changed. 

The general rule of thumb is that you should change your needle after every 8 to 10 hours of sewing, depending on the type and amount of fabric you’re working with.

If you’re using Denim or any other heavy fabrics, it’s recommended to change the needle more often, as these fabrics can cause wear and tear on a needle much faster than lighter fabrics.

Additionally, if your thread begins to break frequently or if there are skipped stitches in your project then those are signs that it may be time for a new needle.

Finally, if you’re noticing small holes appearing in the fabric where there shouldn’t be any then this is another sign that a fresh needle should be inserted into your machine.

In short, regular maintenance like changing needles will ensure maximum performance from your machine and successful completion of all projects.


What are some notes when changing a sewing machine needle?

You’ve known how to change a sewing machine needle easily and safely, now let’s talk about some important notes when changing needles.

1) Being sure that your new needle is in the correct place:

When you insert the needle, make sure that it is in the correct position and that the flat side of its shank is pointing toward the back.

2) Picking the right needle for your project:

It is important to choose the right size and type of needle for your project, as this can affect the quality of your work.

3) Avoiding needle breakage:

When threading the machine, make sure not to pull too hard on the thread as this can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the new needles, potentially leading to breakage.

4) Cleaning the needle and cotton dust:

Before changing the needle, make sure to remove any lint or cotton dust that may have accumulated on the machine. This will help reduce friction while sewing and also prevent damage from occurring.

Does any needlework with any sewing machine?

No, not all needles are compatible with all sewing machines. Different machine models require specific types of needles which can be selected according to your fabric type and the desired stitch size. 

What happens if I use the wrong needle?

Using an incorrect needle can cause a variety of problems such as skipped stitches, thread breakage, and poor stitching quality. Additionally, the wrong needle can also damage your sewing machine as well as the fabric you’re working with.

How do I determine what size needle to use in my sewing machine?

The size of the needle you need for your sewing machine is determined by the type and weight of fabric you’re working with. Generally, lightweight fabrics require smaller needles while heavier fabrics require larger ones. You can check your sewing machine’s manual to find out which sizes are compatible with your model.


Now, you know how to change a sewing machine needle and some things related to this process. We hope that you can sew better and more efficiently with your sewing machine now.

With these steps mentioned in the detailed instruction following above, you should be able to change a sewing machine needle quickly and safely. Remember to always be careful and practice safety when attempting to change the needles in your sewing machine. Good luck with all your sewing projects.


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  1. Thanks for the great blog post! You have saved me a lot of time and hassle by understanding how to change a sewing machine needle. Appreciate it! – Moira Fairbank.

  2. Thank you for sharing your insightful blog post about changing sewing machine needles! I have a quick question – does the needle type and size depend on the fabric thickness or thread type one is using for a particular project?

    1. Hello Faye, the needle type and size depend on the fabric thickness and thread type used for a particular project.

      There are different types of needles designed for different fabrics and threads. The size of the needle is also determined by the weight of the fabric and thread used.

      It is important to use an appropriate needle to ensure that the stitches created are strong enough to withstand wear and tear. A wrong choice of needle may cause poor stitching or even damage to fabrics.

      Therefore, it is important to select the right needle type and size according to your project needs in order to achieve successful results.

  3. Thank you Cinda! I found the instructions on how to change a sewing machine needle very helpful. Your clear and detailed explanation made it easy to follow along and understand. Much appreciated! 🙂

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