How to change needle on singer sewing machine

How to change needle on singer sewing machine

Selecting the correct needle for your project is just as important as selecting the fabric, thread, and stabilizer. There are different sizes and types of needles for different types of fabric. The European metric sizing system for sewing machine needles is numbered from 60 to 110. The American sizing system is numbered from 8 to 18. For both sizing systems, the lower the number the finer the needle and the higher the number the larger the needle. Most needle companies show both sizes on the package.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: the lighter the fabric the smaller the needle size and the heavier the fabric the larger the needle size. Many times the thread you will be using for your sewing project will also determine the type of needle you choose. For example, when using a fine, delicate thread, be sure to use a smaller needle size. A full selection of SINGER® needles is available online in our Needles section.  

How do I change the needle ? Sewing with a bent needle is extremely dangerous since the needle may break while the machine is being operated. Before using the needle, place the flat side of the needle on a flat surface and check that the distance between the needle and the flat surface is even. Flat side Needle type marking If the distance between the needle and the flat surface is not even, the needle is bent. Do not use a bent needle. Flat surface Press (needle position button) once or twice to raise the needle. Turn off the sewing machine. Before replacing the needle, be sure to turn off the sewing machine, otherwise injuries may occur if the foot controller or the start/stop button is accidentally pressed and the machine starts sewing. Lower the presser foot lever. Presser foot lever Before replacing the needle, cover the hole in the needle plate with fabric or paper to prevent the needle from falling into the machine. Hold the needle with your left hand, and then use a disc-shaped screwdriver to turn the needle clamp screw toward you (counterclockwise) to remove the needle. Disc-shaped screwdriver Needle clamp screw Do not apply a strong force when loosening or tightening the needle clamp screw, otherwise certain parts of the machine may be damaged. With the flat side of the needle toward the rear of the machine, insert the needle until it touches the needle stopper. Needle stopper While holding the needle with your left hand, use the screwdriver to tighten the needle clamp screw by turning it clockwise. Be sure to insert the needle until it touches the needle stopper and securely tighten the needle clamp screw with the screwdriver, otherwise the needle may break or damage may result.

There are several indications for when to replace the needle on a sewing machine.  Obviously, if your needle is broken, bent, or dull, it’s time to change your needle.  Also, if you’re significantly changing the weight of thread or type of fabric (for instance, from a knit to a woven fabric), you may want to change your sewing machine needle.

Sewing Machine Fun is reader-supported! If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.There are so many occasions when you will need to change your sewing machine needle!  I change my needle daily when I switch between fabric types and at least weekly when I’m working on new projects. If you’re a beginner, knowing how to change a sewing machine needle is one of the first skills you need to master after you learn how to set up your sewing machine.  I’ll walk you through the steps in this beginner sewing tutorial.  I also recently discovered a nifty tool called a clearance plate to make the task easier if you have a hard time getting the needle oriented correctly. Since I own several Brother and Singer sewing machines, I have pictures of how to change the needle on a Singer sewing machine and how to change the needle on a Brother sewing machine.  Even if you don’t have one of these two brands of machines, the process is very, very similar for most modern sewing machines! Table of Contents When to Change A Sewing Machine NeedleHow to Change A Sewing Machine NeedleRemoving the Old Sewing Machine NeedleInserting the New Sewing Machine NeedleInserting The Needle Using Your FingersInserting Using a Clearance PlateInserting With a Dritz Needle Inserter and ThreaderSetting Up to Sew After a Needle Change When to Change A Sewing Machine Needle There are several indications for when to replace the needle on a sewing machine.  Obviously, if your needle is broken, bent, or dull, it’s time to change your needle.  Also, if you’re significantly changing the weight of thread or type of fabric (for instance, from a knit to a woven fabric), you may want to change your sewing machine needle. Some sewers recommend changing needles after every project, but I change mine a little less frequently.  An old needle, though, can wreak havoc on your stitching! If you’re having problems troubleshooting sewing machine issues, it might be time to switch to a new needle.  Here are a few issues you may have that are worth a new sewing machine needle when troubleshooting. Threads breaking while sewing Large punctures in the fabric Popping sound when puncturing the fabric (caused by a dull or damaged tip) Skipped or uneven stitches I also recently wrote a post on the different types and sizes of sewing machine needles that gives a bit more information about choosing needles. How to Change A Sewing Machine Needle Removing the Old Sewing Machine Needle First, turn off your sewing machine (for your safety).  I have my sewing machines on in the pictures so I can have better lighting and get better images. To remove the sewing machine needle, you will first need to loosen the needle clamp screw.  The needle clamp is what holds the needle itself in place.  There should be a small screw to the right of this needle clamp. Depending on your sewing machine, loosening the screw may happen in a few ways.  On my Singer heavy-duty sewing machine, the needle clamp screw can easily be twisted by hand.  Unscrew towards you, or counterclockwise, to loosen the screw.  Keep a hold of the needle with your other hand in case it falls out. On my Brother sewing machine, the needle clamp screw is not as easily unscrewed by hand if it is tightly tightened.  Here, I use my flat-head screwdriver to turn the screw counterclockwise towards me to loosen the needle. There’s no need to loosen the needle clamp screw considerably.  Do just enough to loosen the needle. Grab the needle with your thumb and pointer finger and remove it at an angle.  Sometimes, it may be easier for you to remove the presser foot while you are removing the needle to give you more space for your fingers and pivoting the needle out. Note whether the flat side of the needle shank (top part of the needle) is facing the front or back.  All the sewing machines I have ever used have the flat part of the needle facing towards the back of the machine.  Here’s a quick diagram showing the round and flat sides. Inserting the New Sewing Machine Needle There are three ways to insert a new needle that I’ll walk you through. Inserting The Needle Using Your Fingers The first way for replacing the needle is to use your fingers to angle the needle up and into the screw clamp.  Make sure you’ve pushed it up as far as it will go and the flat part of the needle is facing the back.  Then, tighten the screw back clockwise.  Make sure it is as tight as you can get it.  A wobbly needle will cause all sorts of problems! Inserting Using a Clearance Plate The second way is to use what is called a clearance plate to insert the needle.  This is a nifty contraption that came with my Singer 4452 sewing machine. First, orient the needle in the clearance plate.  You will be able to clearly tell which side is for the flat side and which is for the round side when looking at the plate.  It should fit nice and snugly in the plate. With the needle (and thus clearance plate) facing the correct direction, move the plate into the sewing space and insert the top of the needle into the needle clamp.  The picture below shows how you’ll go about doing that. Once you have the needle in the clamp, push it all the way up.  You won’t see much of the top of the needle sticking out when it’s properly inserted. With the needle pushed all the way into the clamp, tighten the needle clamp screw clockwise. Inserting With a Dritz Needle Inserter and Threader Instead of using the clearance plate, you could opt for a needle inserter and threader from Dritz (or an inserter only from Singer) to help you insert the needle.  My mom used the Dritz one for a while, and the needle threader part just stunk.  So, I recommend it for needle inserting, not threading! These work similarly to the clearance plate in that you insert the needle into the inserter and then use that to push the needle into the needle clamp. Setting Up to Sew After a Needle Change If you removed the presser foot, replace it. Then, rethread your sewing machine needle making sure to place the thread from front to back through the eye of the needle.  Pull the thread underneath the presser foot and towards the back.  If your sewing machine has an automatic needle threader, make sure your needle is aligned in the correct position for the needle threader to pass through the eye of the needle.  If not, just thread your sewing machine needle by hand. And that’s it!  You just learned how to change a sewing machine needle.  Once you’ve done it a few times, it will become muscle memory!

10. When inserting a new needle, be sure that is inserted correctly into the machine, or it may not sew properly.  The flat side of the needle should be facing toward the back of the machine. Make sure it is all the way up in the needle clamp, then tighten the needle clamp screw securely. 

Depending on your sewing machine, loosening the screw may happen in a few ways.  On my Singer heavy-duty sewing machine, the needle clamp screw can easily be twisted by hand.  Unscrew towards you, or counterclockwise, to loosen the screw.  Keep a hold of the needle with your other hand in case it falls out.

Press (needle position button) once or twice to raise the needle. Turn off the sewing machine. Before replacing the needle, be sure to turn off the sewing machine, otherwise injuries may occur if the foot controller or the start/stop button is accidentally pressed and the machine starts sewing. Lower the presser foot lever. Presser foot lever Before replacing the needle, cover the hole in the needle plate with fabric or paper to prevent the needle from falling into the machine. Hold the needle with your left hand, and then use a disc-shaped screwdriver to turn the needle clamp screw toward you (counterclockwise) to remove the needle. Disc-shaped screwdriver Needle clamp screw Do not apply a strong force when loosening or tightening the needle clamp screw, otherwise certain parts of the machine may be damaged. With the flat side of the needle toward the rear of the machine, insert the needle until it touches the needle stopper. Needle stopper While holding the needle with your left hand, use the screwdriver to tighten the needle clamp screw by turning it clockwise. Be sure to insert the needle until it touches the needle stopper and securely tighten the needle clamp screw with the screwdriver, otherwise the needle may break or damage may result.

Then, rethread your sewing machine needle making sure to place the thread from front to back through the eye of the needle.  Pull the thread underneath the presser foot and towards the back.  If your sewing machine has an automatic needle threader, make sure your needle is aligned in the correct position for the needle threader to pass through the eye of the needle.  If not, just thread your sewing machine needle by hand.

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Sewing with a bent needle is extremely dangerous since the needle may break while the machine is being operated. Before using the needle, place the flat side of the needle on a flat surface and check that the distance between the needle and the flat surface is even. Flat side Needle type marking If the distance between the needle and the flat surface is not even, the needle is bent. Do not use a bent needle. Flat surface Press (needle position button) once or twice to raise the needle. Turn off the sewing machine. Before replacing the needle, be sure to turn off the sewing machine, otherwise injuries may occur if the foot controller or the start/stop button is accidentally pressed and the machine starts sewing. Lower the presser foot lever. Presser foot lever Before replacing the needle, cover the hole in the needle plate with fabric or paper to prevent the needle from falling into the machine. Hold the needle with your left hand, and then use a disc-shaped screwdriver to turn the needle clamp screw toward you (counterclockwise) to remove the needle. Disc-shaped screwdriver Needle clamp screw Do not apply a strong force when loosening or tightening the needle clamp screw, otherwise certain parts of the machine may be damaged. With the flat side of the needle toward the rear of the machine, insert the needle until it touches the needle stopper. Needle stopper While holding the needle with your left hand, use the screwdriver to tighten the needle clamp screw by turning it clockwise. Be sure to insert the needle until it touches the needle stopper and securely tighten the needle clamp screw with the screwdriver, otherwise the needle may break or damage may result.

10. When inserting a new needle, be sure that is inserted correctly into the machine, or it may not sew properly.  The flat side of the needle should be facing toward the back of the machine. Make sure it is all the way up in the needle clamp, then tighten the needle clamp screw securely. Check your machine manual for specifics on your machine model, or contact SINGER Customer Care at 800.474.6437 for personal assistance.

7. Needles are breaking: This can be an indication that the needle size is too small for the thickness of fabric being sewn, so change to a larger size needle. Additionally, when you sew, do not “push” or “pull” the fabric, but rather, let the feed dogs draw the fabric along. If you push or pull the fabric as you sew, the needle could deflect causing it to break.

Needle size refers to the thickness of the needle’s diameter, which essentially determines the weight or thickness of fabric it can sew.  The smaller size numbers indicate a smaller (thinner) needle size, used for lighter weight fabrics.  The larger size numbers indicate a larger (thicker) needle size, used for heavier weight fabrics.

There is a wide range of sizes available, but the most common sizes used are SINGER® sizes 11/80 (for light weight fabrics), 14/90 (for medium weight fabrics) and 16/100 (for medium to heavier weight fabrics).  There is also a size 9/70 available for very light weight fabrics (chiffon, lace, etc), and a size 18/120 for heavy weight fabrics (upholstery, etc).

On my Brother sewing machine, the needle clamp screw is not as easily unscrewed by hand if it is tightly tightened.  Here, I use my flat-head screwdriver to turn the screw counterclockwise towards me to loosen the needle.

How to Change A Sewing Machine Needle Step-By-Step Last Updated:February 9, 2021 Sewing Machine Fun is reader-supported! If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.There are so many occasions when you will need to change your sewing machine needle!  I change my needle daily when I switch between fabric types and at least weekly when I’m working on new projects. If you’re a beginner, knowing how to change a sewing machine needle is one of the first skills you need to master after you learn how to set up your sewing machine.  I’ll walk you through the steps in this beginner sewing tutorial.  I also recently discovered a nifty tool called a clearance plate to make the task easier if you have a hard time getting the needle oriented correctly. Since I own several Brother and Singer sewing machines, I have pictures of how to change the needle on a Singer sewing machine and how to change the needle on a Brother sewing machine.  Even if you don’t have one of these two brands of machines, the process is very, very similar for most modern sewing machines! Table of Contents When to Change A Sewing Machine NeedleHow to Change A Sewing Machine NeedleRemoving the Old Sewing Machine NeedleInserting the New Sewing Machine NeedleInserting The Needle Using Your FingersInserting Using a Clearance PlateInserting With a Dritz Needle Inserter and ThreaderSetting Up to Sew After a Needle Change When to Change A Sewing Machine Needle There are several indications for when to replace the needle on a sewing machine.  Obviously, if your needle is broken, bent, or dull, it’s time to change your needle.  Also, if you’re significantly changing the weight of thread or type of fabric (for instance, from a knit to a woven fabric), you may want to change your sewing machine needle. Some sewers recommend changing needles after every project, but I change mine a little less frequently.  An old needle, though, can wreak havoc on your stitching! If you’re having problems troubleshooting sewing machine issues, it might be time to switch to a new needle.  Here are a few issues you may have that are worth a new sewing machine needle when troubleshooting. Threads breaking while sewing Large punctures in the fabric Popping sound when puncturing the fabric (caused by a dull or damaged tip) Skipped or uneven stitches I also recently wrote a post on the different types and sizes of sewing machine needles that gives a bit more information about choosing needles. How to Change A Sewing Machine Needle Removing the Old Sewing Machine Needle First, turn off your sewing machine (for your safety).  I have my sewing machines on in the pictures so I can have better lighting and get better images. To remove the sewing machine needle, you will first need to loosen the needle clamp screw.  The needle clamp is what holds the needle itself in place.  There should be a small screw to the right of this needle clamp. Depending on your sewing machine, loosening the screw may happen in a few ways.  On my Singer heavy-duty sewing machine, the needle clamp screw can easily be twisted by hand.  Unscrew towards you, or counterclockwise, to loosen the screw.  Keep a hold of the needle with your other hand in case it falls out. On my Brother sewing machine, the needle clamp screw is not as easily unscrewed by hand if it is tightly tightened.  Here, I use my flat-head screwdriver to turn the screw counterclockwise towards me to loosen the needle. There’s no need to loosen the needle clamp screw considerably.  Do just enough to loosen the needle. Grab the needle with your thumb and pointer finger and remove it at an angle.  Sometimes, it may be easier for you to remove the presser foot while you are removing the needle to give you more space for your fingers and pivoting the needle out. Note whether the flat side of the needle shank (top part of the needle) is facing the front or back.  All the sewing machines I have ever used have the flat part of the needle facing towards the back of the machine.  Here’s a quick diagram showing the round and flat sides. Inserting the New Sewing Machine Needle There are three ways to insert a new needle that I’ll walk you through. Inserting The Needle Using Your Fingers The first way for replacing the needle is to use your fingers to angle the needle up and into the screw clamp.  Make sure you’ve pushed it up as far as it will go and the flat part of the needle is facing the back.  Then, tighten the screw back clockwise.  Make sure it is as tight as you can get it.  A wobbly needle will cause all sorts of problems! Inserting Using a Clearance Plate The second way is to use what is called a clearance plate to insert the needle.  This is a nifty contraption that came with my Singer 4452 sewing machine. First, orient the needle in the clearance plate.  You will be able to clearly tell which side is for the flat side and which is for the round side when looking at the plate.  It should fit nice and snugly in the plate. With the needle (and thus clearance plate) facing the correct direction, move the plate into the sewing space and insert the top of the needle into the needle clamp.  The picture below shows how you’ll go about doing that. Once you have the needle in the clamp, push it all the way up.  You won’t see much of the top of the needle sticking out when it’s properly inserted. With the needle pushed all the way into the clamp, tighten the needle clamp screw clockwise. Inserting With a Dritz Needle Inserter and Threader Instead of using the clearance plate, you could opt for a needle inserter and threader from Dritz (or an inserter only from Singer) to help you insert the needle.  My mom used the Dritz one for a while, and the needle threader part just stunk.  So, I recommend it for needle inserting, not threading! These work similarly to the clearance plate in that you insert the needle into the inserter and then use that to push the needle into the needle clamp. Setting Up to Sew After a Needle Change If you removed the presser foot, replace it. Then, rethread your sewing machine needle making sure to place the thread from front to back through the eye of the needle.  Pull the thread underneath the presser foot and towards the back.  If your sewing machine has an automatic needle threader, make sure your needle is aligned in the correct position for the needle threader to pass through the eye of the needle.  If not, just thread your sewing machine needle by hand. And that’s it!  You just learned how to change a sewing machine needle.  Once you’ve done it a few times, it will become muscle memory! Similar Posts Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment *Name * Email * Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

How to Change A Sewing Machine Needle Step-By-Step Last Updated:February 9, 2021 Sewing Machine Fun is reader-supported! If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.There are so many occasions when you will need to change your sewing machine needle!  I change my needle daily when I switch between fabric types and at least weekly when I’m working on new projects. If you’re a beginner, knowing how to change a sewing machine needle is one of the first skills you need to master after you learn how to set up your sewing machine.  I’ll walk you through the steps in this beginner sewing tutorial.  I also recently discovered a nifty tool called a clearance plate to make the task easier if you have a hard time getting the needle oriented correctly. Since I own several Brother and Singer sewing machines, I have pictures of how to change the needle on a Singer sewing machine and how to change the needle on a Brother sewing machine.  Even if you don’t have one of these two brands of machines, the process is very, very similar for most modern sewing machines! Table of Contents When to Change A Sewing Machine NeedleHow to Change A Sewing Machine NeedleRemoving the Old Sewing Machine NeedleInserting the New Sewing Machine NeedleInserting The Needle Using Your FingersInserting Using a Clearance PlateInserting With a Dritz Needle Inserter and ThreaderSetting Up to Sew After a Needle Change When to Change A Sewing Machine Needle There are several indications for when to replace the needle on a sewing machine.  Obviously, if your needle is broken, bent, or dull, it’s time to change your needle.  Also, if you’re significantly changing the weight of thread or type of fabric (for instance, from a knit to a woven fabric), you may want to change your sewing machine needle. Some sewers recommend changing needles after every project, but I change mine a little less frequently.  An old needle, though, can wreak havoc on your stitching! If you’re having problems troubleshooting sewing machine issues, it might be time to switch to a new needle.  Here are a few issues you may have that are worth a new sewing machine needle when troubleshooting. Threads breaking while sewing Large punctures in the fabric Popping sound when puncturing the fabric (caused by a dull or damaged tip) Skipped or uneven stitches I also recently wrote a post on the different types and sizes of sewing machine needles that gives a bit more information about choosing needles. How to Change A Sewing Machine Needle Removing the Old Sewing Machine Needle First, turn off your sewing machine (for your safety).  I have my sewing machines on in the pictures so I can have better lighting and get better images. To remove the sewing machine needle, you will first need to loosen the needle clamp screw.  The needle clamp is what holds the needle itself in place.  There should be a small screw to the right of this needle clamp. Depending on your sewing machine, loosening the screw may happen in a few ways.  On my Singer heavy-duty sewing machine, the needle clamp screw can easily be twisted by hand.  Unscrew towards you, or counterclockwise, to loosen the screw.  Keep a hold of the needle with your other hand in case it falls out. On my Brother sewing machine, the needle clamp screw is not as easily unscrewed by hand if it is tightly tightened.  Here, I use my flat-head screwdriver to turn the screw counterclockwise towards me to loosen the needle. There’s no need to loosen the needle clamp screw considerably.  Do just enough to loosen the needle. Grab the needle with your thumb and pointer finger and remove it at an angle.  Sometimes, it may be easier for you to remove the presser foot while you are removing the needle to give you more space for your fingers and pivoting the needle out. Note whether the flat side of the needle shank (top part of the needle) is facing the front or back.  All the sewing machines I have ever used have the flat part of the needle facing towards the back of the machine.  Here’s a quick diagram showing the round and flat sides. Inserting the New Sewing Machine Needle There are three ways to insert a new needle that I’ll walk you through. Inserting The Needle Using Your Fingers The first way for replacing the needle is to use your fingers to angle the needle up and into the screw clamp.  Make sure you’ve pushed it up as far as it will go and the flat part of the needle is facing the back.  Then, tighten the screw back clockwise.  Make sure it is as tight as you can get it.  A wobbly needle will cause all sorts of problems! Inserting Using a Clearance Plate The second way is to use what is called a clearance plate to insert the needle.  This is a nifty contraption that came with my Singer 4452 sewing machine. First, orient the needle in the clearance plate.  You will be able to clearly tell which side is for the flat side and which is for the round side when looking at the plate.  It should fit nice and snugly in the plate. With the needle (and thus clearance plate) facing the correct direction, move the plate into the sewing space and insert the top of the needle into the needle clamp.  The picture below shows how you’ll go about doing that. Once you have the needle in the clamp, push it all the way up.  You won’t see much of the top of the needle sticking out when it’s properly inserted. With the needle pushed all the way into the clamp, tighten the needle clamp screw clockwise. Inserting With a Dritz Needle Inserter and Threader Instead of using the clearance plate, you could opt for a needle inserter and threader from Dritz (or an inserter only from Singer) to help you insert the needle.  My mom used the Dritz one for a while, and the needle threader part just stunk.  So, I recommend it for needle inserting, not threading! These work similarly to the clearance plate in that you insert the needle into the inserter and then use that to push the needle into the needle clamp. Setting Up to Sew After a Needle Change If you removed the presser foot, replace it. Then, rethread your sewing machine needle making sure to place the thread from front to back through the eye of the needle.  Pull the thread underneath the presser foot and towards the back.  If your sewing machine has an automatic needle threader, make sure your needle is aligned in the correct position for the needle threader to pass through the eye of the needle.  If not, just thread your sewing machine needle by hand. And that’s it!  You just learned how to change a sewing machine needle.  Once you’ve done it a few times, it will become muscle memory!

Instead of using the clearance plate, you could opt for a needle inserter and threader from Dritz (or an inserter only from Singer) to help you insert the needle.  My mom used the Dritz one for a while, and the needle threader part just stunk.  So, I recommend it for needle inserting, not threading!

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