The Sizing of the Sewing Machine Needle & Making Identification Easy with Colours

The Sizing of the Sewing Machine Needle

In 1942 the sizing of machine needles became regulated and fixed individual metric sizes were introduced, leaving behind an antiquated system of more than 40 different individual sizes. Sewing machine needles are sized in metric, however the equivalent imperial size is also shown, which appears adjacent to the metric size. For instance: 90/14 means that 90 is the metric size and 14 is the imperial size.

The size of the sewing machine needle is dictated by the diameter of the needle blade, which is measured above the “scarf” of the needle. The measurement is in one hundredths of a millimetre, the same as a hand sewing needle and therefore, for example, a size 90 sewing machine needle means that the needle diameter, just above the “scarf” area, measures 0.90mm.

Remember the bigger or larger the number size – the larger the diameter of the sewing machine needle and therefore this denotes which fabric to use.  For example: a size 70/10 is a fine needle and this is used on lightweight cottons, whereas a size 110/18 which is thicker than a size 70/10 and is used on heavy brocade fabrics.

The most popular size of a sewing machine needle is a size 80/12. It is a middle size, not too large and not too fine.


Making Identification Easy: Colour Coding

What a fabulous idea to colour code Schmetz machine needles making the needle type and size easy to identify. Schmetz domestic sewing machine needles are presented in a keepsake storage cassette, which is labelled with the needle type and size on the outside. What happens if we lose the cassette or forget which cassette the needle belongs in? Maybe you always sew with a size 90/14 and you have a size 90/14 Universal standard needle and a size 90/14 Microtex needle. How do you know which is which? Schmetz colour coding solves the problem.

SCHMETZ Color Code Chart

The colour code can be found on the shoulder of the needle, just at the bottom of the shank. There are two colours, one above the other. The first colour indicates the needle type and the second colour indicates the needle size. For example, as shown on the colour chart: the first colour on the needle diagram is yellow, which means that the needle is a Stretch needle. The second colour is mauve, which means the needle size is a 75/11. In addition, the needle size is stamped on its shank. However, as you can imagine, the text is quite small and so can be difficult to read. Colour coding also solves this issue. Brilliant!!