Here at Sailrite®, we know it can be a daunting task to figure out which type of sewing machine needle is right for the job. Our selection is overflowing with dozens of high-performance needles, so we’ll do our best to guide you toward the right option. Before you begin shopping for needles, make sure you first identify which needle system fits your sewing machine. Home sewing machines, including the Sailrite® Yachtsman and Apprentice, use a flat shank (System 130) needle, but industrial and sailmaking sewing machines can vary in their systems. For example, the Sailrite® Ultrafeed® uses a 135 x 16 or 135 x 17 system, while the Sailrite® Professional uses a UY 128 GAS needle system. Always check your machine’s manual to learn which system it requires.
Once you’ve determined which needle system you need, choosing the right needle for sewing machines really comes down to your specific applications. Most general sewing jobs require a round point (sharp) needle, including most marine and outdoor projects. You will want to choose a ball point needle if you’re planning on working with knit fabrics or stretchy materials, as this style helps preserve the fabric’s elasticity. For example, you’ll want to choose a ball point needle for sewing mosquito netting. When working with leather, you will want to choose a DI leather needle or an SD1 needle which can help you sew through thick yet fragile assemblies. The SD1 needle has a smaller cutting point than the DI, which cuts and pushes fabric out of the way. Serv7 needles are also a good choice for sewing thick, heavy fabrics.
Finally, you’ll want to pick your needle size. As a rough guide, we recommend choosing a larger needle size for thicker, heavier fabrics and a smaller size for lightweight and sheer fabrics. for example, you want to use a needle that’s at least #18 for heavyweight fabrics such as Boat Blanket, channeling fabric and headliner fabric. We carry Schmetz sewing machine needles for top-notch quality and longevity. Sailrite is committed to helping our customers find the right sewing machine needles for their particular needs. If you need more in-depth information and advice, make sure to reference our guide to Selecting a Sewing Machine Needle or our Thread and Needle Recommendation Guide.