All the products we feature on Gathered have been chosen independently by our editorial team. We may get a small commission if you click on any products you see on this page. Learn more.

Embroidery needles: the complete guide

If you're not sure what you're looking for, finding the right embroidery needle for your project can be like, well... finding a needle in a haystack. That's where our handy guide comes in!

embroidery letters design with back stitching
Published: June 22, 2022 at 10:00 am
loading...
Try 3 issues of Love Embroidery magazine for just £5

Choosing the right needle for your project is so important, it will not only make your stitching much easier but will make sure your project looks its best! If you want to find out what sort of needle you should use, read on with the help of Love Embroidery's guide to needles.

There are several different needles suitable for embroidery. Having the right needle for the job will vastly improve your stitching. When choosing, you will need to consider which diameter, eye, length and point you need. Always buy good quality needles as they’ll last longer.

In our list, you will find the definition and identifying characteristics of each needle. Plus we'll show you which projects and techniques it is best used for. Under each needle type, we have suggested a brand of needle based on our own experience, user reviews and the value for money.

Embroidery needle types at a glance: 

BEADING 

Shorter beading needles are fine with a long thin eye.

CHENILLE 

This sharp-pointed needle has a large oval eye.

CREWEL/EMBROIDERY 

Medium-length, sharp- pointed needle with a long eye. 

MILLINERS/STRAW 

This long needle has a round eye.

QUILTING/BETWEENS 

These needles are very short and fine with a round eye.

SHARPS 

These general-purpose needles are medium length with round eyes.

TAPESTRY 

This blunt-ended, large-eyed needle.

Embroidery needles: what you need to know

Beading needles

Shorter beading needles are fine with a long thin eye - ideal for sewing on beads. We love this pack of 16 beading needles (if you're a frequent sewer you know they can easily be misplaced) - just watch your feet. These needles are collapsable, meaning it's super easy to thread beads of multiple sizes. They also have a big eye too for ease of use. If you want the reassurance of these needles simply take a look at the user reviews! We can't argue with that.

Advertisement
beading needles

Chenille needles

This sharp-pointed needle has a large oval eye so that it can take thicker threads. It’s also good for embroidering with ribbon. These chenille needles by Clover are available in sizes 18-24 depending on your embroidery needles. The needles are strong and sturdy with gold plated eye and nickle-plated for ease of threading.

chenille needles

Crewel/embroidery needles

This is the most commonly used needle for embroidery. It’s a medium-length, sharp-pointed needle with a long eye. The most popular sizes used in embroidery are size 7 and 9, that's why we recommend this set from Hemline. They are low-cost and you get 16 in a pack varying in size between 3-9, so perfect for standard embroidery. For more information check out our guide to crewel embroidery.

crewel needles

Milliners/straw needles

This long needle has a round eye, so is perfect for working decorative stitches like Bullion Knot. These ones from Hemline come in sizes 3-9. These needles are perfect for pleating, ribbon embroidery and embellishing on bonnets and hats, for those more decorative projects!

straw needles

Quilting/betweens needles

These needles are very short and fine with a round eye. The shorter length makes them ideal for fine needlework, such as shadow work and creates quick and even stitching. Usually, these needles are used for quilting but also have use in embroidery. The ones we recommend are by John James, they are strong and easy to use. They also have lots of positive reviews too!

quilting needles

Sharps needles

These general-purpose needles are medium length with round eyes, which makes them strong, and perfect for tightly woven fabrics. This Milward general-purpose sewing needle will meet the standards of a professional dressmaker. A small, round threading eye provides extra strength while you stitch.

sharps needles

Tapestry needles

This blunt-ended, large-eyed needle is used for counted thread embroidery and working whipstitch. Tapestry needles are also used for cross stitch, if you want to find out more about this check out our guide to cross stitch needles. We suggest these tapestry needles from Bohin, they are strong, sturdy and perfect for many needlepoint projects.

tapestry needles
Advertisement

Ok so you've sorted your needles. You might have already thought about fabrics, but if not check out guide to embroidery fabric for a detailed insight into what will work best for your project. We also have our guide to embroidery, which is packed full of helpful hints and tips for beginners. If you are looking for your first project, we have plenty of free patterns and guide for beginners from a range of talented designers. Check out this beautiful star embroidery, the wildflower embroidery or the button embroidery. We also have a fabulous round-up of our favourite embroidery kits, if you would like to start off with all the kit you need.

Authors

katie dolan
Katie DolanDigital Assistant, Gathered

Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content