Needle & Fabric Recommendations

We know how tough it is to remember what needle to use with a particular fabric. If you’re fortunate, you have access to some reference books or the internet to help you figure it out. If you have a smartphone, you can download the SCHMETZ App (links below). If not, you’re stuck guessing. We’d like to help you out a little bit this week. Our “Cheat Sheet” below lists Fabric/Needle combinations. You can also find this guide in the SCHMETZ ABC Pocket Guide. This is by no means a complete list. Sandra Betzina has written two fantastic reference books that describe a myriad of fabrics and recommendations for what needle (or needles) to use along with other sewing tips germane to a particular fabric. We’re not ashamed to admit it . . . there are times when we are stumped and look to these two books for needle advice. Both books are referenced at the bottom of this post.

Needle & Fabric Recommendations

Artificial Leather – Microtex or Leather 70/10-100/16

Bamboo – Microtex 70/10-90/14
Batiste – Universal 60/8, 70/10
Bed-Linen, Jersey – Stretch 75/11, 90/14
Bed-Linen, Woven – Universal 70/10-100/16
Bouclé – Jersey 70/10-90/14
Brocade – Universal or Microtex 60/8-90/14

Cambric – Universal 60/8, 70/10
Canvas – Jeans 90/14-110/18
Chambray – Universal 80/12, 90/14
Chenille – Universal 90/14
Chiffon – Universal or Microtex 60/8, 70/10
Coated Material – Microtex 70/10-110/18
Cork – Microtex 70/10-90/14
Corduroy – Universal 80/12-100/16
Cotton, Knit – Jersey 70/10-90/14 or Stretch 75/11, 90/14
Cotton, Woven – Universal 70/10-90/14
Crepe – Universal or Microtex 60/8-80/12
Crepe-de-Chine – Universal or Microtex 60/8-80/12
Crinkle – Universal or Microtex 60/8-80/12

Denim – Jeans 70/10-110/18
Double-Face Woven – Universal 70/10-110/18

Elastic – Stretch 65/9-90/14

Felt – Universal 80/12-100/16
Flannel – Universal 80/12-110/18
Fleece – Universal 70/10-90/14 or Stretch 75/11, 90/14
Foils – Microtex 60/8-110/18
Fun Fur – Universal 70/10-100/16 or Jersey 70/11-90/14

Gabardine – Universal 70/10-100/16
Gauze – Jersey 70/10, 80/12
Georgette – Universal or Microtex 60/8-80/12

Jeans – Jeans 70/10-110/18 or Jeans Twin 4.0/100
Jersey – Jersey 60/8-80/12
Jersey with Elastic – Stretch 65/9-90/14

Knits – Jersey 70/10-100/16
Knits with Elastic – Jersey 70/10-100/16 or Stretch 65/9, 75/11, 90/14

Lace – Select by Fabric Type 70/10-90/14
Lamé – Microtex 60/8-90/14
Leather, Thick & Artificial Leather – Leather 100/16-120/19
Leather, Thin – Leather or Universal 70/10-90/14
Lingerie – Stretch 65/9, 75/11, 90/14 or Jersey 70/10-90/14
Linen & Half-Linen – Universal 70/10-90/14
Lycra – Stretch 65/9-90/14 or Jersey 70/10-90/14

Microfiber – Microtex 60-8-90/14

Nylon – Universal or Microtex 60/8-90/14

Oil Cloth – Microtex 80/12-100/16
Organdy – Universal or Microtex 60/8, 70/10
Organza – Universal or Microtex 60/8, 70/10

Polyester – Universal or Microtex 60/8-100/16
Poplin – Microtex or Universal 60/8-80/12

Quilt – Quilting 75/11, 90/14 or Jeans 70/10-110/18

Rayon – Universal 70/10, 80/12

Seersucker – Universal 70/10-90/14
Sequined Fabric – Microtex 70/10-90/14 or Stretch 75/11, 90/14
Silk – Microtex 60/8-90/14
Silk Jersey – Stretch 65/9, 75/11
Sweatshirt – Jersey 70/10-90/14

Taffeta – Microtex or Universal 60/8, 70/10
Terry Cloth – Universal 80/12, 90/14
Thermovelour Fleece – Universal 70/10-90/14 or Stretch 75/11, 90/14
Tulle – Universal or Jersey 70/10, 80/12
Twill – Jeans 70/10-110/18

Velour – Universal 70/10-100/16
Velour Jersey – Stretch 75/11, 90/14
Velvet – Stretch 75/11, 90/14 or Universal 70/10-90/14
Velvet Burn-Out – Stretch 65/9-90/14
Velvet Panne – Stretch 75/11 or Universal 70/10-80/12
Vinyl – Microtex 60/8-90/14
Voile – Universal 60/8-80/12

Waxed Cloth – Microtex 80/12-100/16
Wool & Wool Blends – Universal 70/10-100/16


More Fabric Savvy, Sandra Betzina, The Taunton Press, 2004.
All New Fabric Savvy, Sandra Betzina, The Taunton Press, 2017.

iOs (Apple)


Meg McDonald — Bona Fide Fabric Junkie

Meg McDonald

Meg McDonald

Meg McDonald believes the way she became a sewist is fairly typical.  Her grandmother introduced Meg to sewing at a young age, and then an excellent home ec teacher in eight grade really got her hooked on it, and she sewed like crazy in her teens and in college. (With a full-time marketing job and small children, she opted to take a sewing break in her thirties.) But that’s the end of typical.  What makes Meg McDonald different is that she combined her love of sewing and her interest in blogging to create her dream job. Meg handles the marketing, product and brand management, and social media for Mood Fabrics in New York City.  Anybody who loves fashion sewing -— or Project Runway — would be green with envy.

Fashion sewing was always her passion, so Meg was already a long-time regular customer of Mood Fabrics before she started working there two years ago. She was also the author of two blogs — Lindsay T Sews, a successful fashion sewing blog, and the Shop the Garment District blog.

Mood Designer Fabrics, NYC

Mood Designer Fabrics, NYC

One of the very first things Meg did after joining Mood was to create the Mood Sewing Network, a collective of fashion sewing bloggers.  When asked how she selects bloggers to become part of the Mood Sewing Network, she explained:  “Our bloggers have already proven they can post regularly, they also take good photos, and they have to be up for challenges. Willingness to try different fabrics is important. And we strive to have a very diverse group. Our bloggers come from all over the country, with beginning to advanced sewing skills.”

What inspires you to sew?

“I love fashion and looking as good as possible — that’s where my inspiration comes from. If you combine beautiful fabric with clean, simple designs, it’s whoneedsretaileasy to create pieces that look like expensive designer originals.”
“When deciding what to sew next, most of the time I look to Mood’s fabrics for inspiration. A new silk print will catch my eye and I’ll start obsessing over what to make with it, for example. We just got in a shipment of the most outrageous brocades from Marc Jacobs and nothing is stopping me from turning one of them into another jacket. And I already have plenty of jackets!”

Why do you sew?

“Um, that’s kind of like asking me why do I breathe! I love to sew! I am the type of person who needs to be creating something with my hands every day, and the combination of needle, thread and fabric is what satisfies me the most. Plus, the output is clothing that I can wear and be proud to show off. Who needs retail when you can sew?”

replaceneedleWhat’s your best sewing machine needle advice?

“I am a big fan of SCHMETZ sewing machine needles. The one thing everybody needs to do more often is REPLACE THEIR NEEDLE. A fresh, sharp needle can make all the difference in the success of a garment.”

What does sewing bring to your life?

“OK, you better add some more pages to your magazine because I could go on and on here! For one, I have this fabulous job at Mood because I sew and know fabrics. I’ve also developed the most wonderful network of friends who sew and they’ve enriched my life so much. And I love the way sewing keeps me challenged and on my toes:  There’s so much problem-solving and calculating in fashion sewing, and this feeds into the side of me that loves attacking puzzles.”

Meg with Tim Gunn

Meg with Tim Gunn

What’s it like to work at Mood Fabrics?

“For fabric junkies like me, working at Mood is a dream job. Seriously, some days I wonder how I get any work done surrounded by all this beautiful fabric. It’s like Christmas every time we get in a new shipment of designer fabrics. I also love to chat with our customers about fabric and what they’re making; yesterday a woman from Holland and I bonded as we exchanged tips for sewing with stretch wool crepe.  And meeting celebrities like Tim Gunn has been a lovely bonus to working here, I have to admit!”