Parts of Sewing Needles

The sewing needle is defined with different parts that make the sewing needle. Every sewing needle manufactured will have these basic parts that define them. Depending on the specification of each part the utility of the sewing needle is determined. In this article we will see the different parts of the sewing needle that are being used for both home sewing and industrial sewing.


The upper thick part of the sewing machine needle is called the shank. It is the heaviest part of the needle and is designed to minimize needle movement by attaching it firmly to the needle bar

  • Home sewing needles have a flat, round side to assist in always having the needle in the correct position
  • Industrial machine needles have a completely round shaft is used to know the direction to put a needle into the machine


The shaft is the narrow part of the needle which supports the functional parts of the needle. It is the area from the bottom of the shank to the point. The shaft contains the groove, scarf, eye and point of the needle. Needle sizes refer to the diameter of the shaft.


A groove is the side of the needle leading to the eye. A groove is the place for the thread to lay into the needle. It protects the thread by hiding it as it passes through the fabric to join the bobbin thread. Some needles have exaggerated grooves to protect the thread when sewing on particularly dense fabric. A needle is too fine for the size of the thread used will result in inconsistent stitches and broken threads. You can use your fingernail and feel the groove to understand why a different size thread would be needed for heavier threads.


The eye of the needle is the hole through which the thread passes. As the size of the eye increases, the size of the shaft increases to support it. The eye of the needle carries the thread so that the machine can keep forming stitches . The size of the eye can vary and works in conjunction with the groove of the needle. Too small or too large an eye for the needle can cause your thread to shred and break.


The point of the needle is the first contact with the fabric and is responsible for how the needle pierces the fabric. It is a primary distinguishing feature of the needle. Points can be sharp or ball or universal. The angle of the point can be acute or slender. The point can be centred or eccentric. All are designed for aspecific purpose and give the operator unique applications.

Sharp Pointed Needles – It is primarily helpful when sewing straight lines and tasks such as tops stitching

Ball Pointed Needles – Designed for knit fabrics so that the point glides between the loops of a knit fabric without disturbing the fibers that make up the fabric. Ball point needles do not form as straight stitching as sharp needles. The non-straight stitching is more apt to stretch with the fabric

Universal / Hybrid Needles – These can be used with woven or knit fabrics. The point of universal needles is sharp yet very slightly rounded.


The scarf is a groove out of one side of the needle. It is a cut away portion on the back of the needle just above the eye. It allows the bobbin case hook to intersect with the upper thread and forms stitches. The shape and position of the scarf increases the consistency of stitching with various threads and fabrics


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