How to Change a Sewing Machine Needle

Do you find yourself wondering if you change your sewing machine needle enough? If you can’t remember the last time you changed your needle, you probably aren’t doing it frequently enough. A fresh, sharp needle will improve your stitches and make your sewing look top notch. In this third part of our needle series, we’re going to discuss when and how to change your sewing machine needle. If you missed the first two parts of the needle series, be sure to check out the Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Needle and How to Select a Sewing Machine Needle.


When to Change Your Needle

Did you know that the #1 suggestion for sewing problems is to replace the needle? Needles get dull after repeated use, bend with tugs on the fabric, or get nicked after sewing over a straight pin. When the needle is compromised, your stitch quality will suffer.

Needles need to be changed on a fairly regular basis depending on your sewing style and how often you sew. We recommend using a new needle for each new project you start or when you start sewing a distinctly different material that has special needle needs like leather or something stretchy. Failure to change your needle can result in broken threads, skipped or uneven stitches, or even puckered or damaged fabrics.

How to Change a Sewing Machine Needle

Switching your needle out for a new one is a simple task that will improve your stitch quality. Most sewing machine manuals come with instructions for replacing the needle, but here are the basics:

  1. Loosen the needle set screw.
  2. Pull the needle downwards and out of the needle bar.
  3. Insert a new needle. Push upwards until the butt of the needle hits the stop.
  4. If using an industrial sewing machine, turn the needle so the scarf is on the same side as the hook assembly on the machine.
  5. Tighten the needle set screw.

On home sewing machines, needles have a flat side on the shank, so there is only one way the needle will fit in the machine. Industrial sewing machines typically have round shank needles, so they require careful attention to the placement. This video shows how to determine which way your sewing machine needle should be orientated.


I hope you’ve enjoyed our needle series and that your stitches look better than ever with all your new needle knowledge! Be sure to check out our selection of high quality Schmetz needles at

Do you have any tricks for remembering to change your needle? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!

  1. mrvac said:

    Nice video! It is very much helpful to those who are learning to sew. I will share it to others also.

  2. Md. Sharif Hossain said:

    How we find the lanth of sewing machine needle?

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