If you go to any sewing store, you might be overwhelmed by the selection of threads displayed everywhere. But there is another item that, while not so obvious because it is small and not colorful, has many variations: the sewing machine needle.
There are different needle systems, and different needle types, there are needles suited for different fabrics and for different tasks. On top of all of that, you will see many different brands, many labeled differently, but performing essentially the same role. Brands like Singer, Schmetz, Klasse, and Organ are by now well known to all. And probably the most popular is Schmetz. In this article, we will talk about this brand of needles in detail.
All the way back in 1851, a German man named Ferdinand Schmetz created the Schmetz needle factory in Aachen, Germany. Over the years, Schmetz needles have been reputed to be the best in the world, and for a good reason. These needles are consistently manufactured to high standards, and this company was one of the first to introduce standardization of sewing machine needles.
Note: I will never understand why they could not get together with Singer and establish a unique system of classification for needles. I guess to make our lives interesting!
I reached out to Schmetz and asked them a couple of questions. Their US representative in Medley, FL answered immediately – which was a surprise to me, but it seems they do take customer inquiries seriously.
All their design work is performed in Germany and all materials are also German-made, which ensures a uniform quality for the product. All their household needles are made in one factory in Kandla, India.
I also asked about the position Schmetz takes in regard to some very actual issues (like women’s rights, child employment, the environment) and this is what mr. Rolando G. Bohlemann answered:
“Being a larger international company, we do have policies in place that cover all the issues you asked. You did not find this information on the internet because we have been following these guidelines for many decades already even before they became an issue.” (I looked to see if Schmetz has an official position on these issues).
Kudos to them for being responsible corporate citizens, in addition to making quality needles!
What Machines Are Compatible With Schmetz Needles?
My friend came to me a bit worried. She and I had researched for a while, and we finally settled on a good beginner sewing machine for her. Her budget was tight, but she’d scrimped and saved for months. Finally, she was able to afford a shiny new machine.
“But what kind of needles should I buy?” she said. “I don’t want to ruin the machine by using the wrong brand for mine.”
I smiled and reassured her. “Schmetz needles are easy to find, fairly priced, and of excellent quality.”
“Will that brand of needles work with my brand of machine?” she asked.
My friend, like many beginner sewists, assumed that the brand of sewing machine makes a difference in the brand of needles you should buy. This definitely isn’t the case with Schmetz needles. This company works with all of the major sewing machine manufacturers to create needles that will work with all brands of home sewing machines. Whether you bought a Singer machine, or you have a Baby Lock, Bernina or Brother machine, Schmetz needles will work with your sewing machine.
✅ Related tutorial: Mechanical vs Computerized Sewing Machine
I looked at the online Schmetz catalog and I was impressed; they make dozens of needles for household uses and hundreds of types (yes, hundreds, if not over one thousand!) types of needles for industrial uses. And each comes in many sizes!
What Does This Number on Schmetz Needles Mean – 130/705 H?
When I take new sewists with me to the sewing machine store, they almost always seem a bit shocked at the variety of sewing machine needles available. The various numbers and labels almost seem like too much to absorb at once. While there are many important numbers to comprehend on your package of sewing machine needles, this one, 130/705H, is one of the less important ones to fully understand. For home sewing, you do want a package of needles that bears this numbering system but you don’t have to necessarily understand what it means.
If you really want to know, 130/705 is the numbering system that indicates that these needles are meant for home sewing and home sewing machines rather than industrial machines. The numbers also mean that the needle has a flat shank. The letter H stands for a German word, Hohlkehle, which means “scarf.” The scarf is an indentation on the needle. All taken together, 130/705H needles are those with a flat shank and a scarf, or indentation, on the needle.
It has to be mentioned here that after the designation 130/705H sometimes you may find other letters like in the image below. They denote the type of the needle – jersey in the example below. I recommend my article 19 Types of Sewing Machine Needles and What They’re Used For for a more detailed discussion of the various needle types.
These kinds of needles are designed to fit all home sewing machines. Whether you have a Brother, Singer, Juki, Janome, or another model of home sewing machine, the 130/705H is the kind of Schmetz needle that you want to purchase.
Note: 130/705H designation is pretty much the same as Singer 2020, Juki 15×1, or Organ HAx1. Talk about standardization!
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself.
What Are Schmetz Chrome Needles?
For years, industrial sewists had access to high quality, durable sewing machine needles plated with chrome. Chrome was the metal of choice because it held up well, resisted friction, and provided consistent stitching. Now home and hobby sewists can access these same high quality sewing machine needles by purchasing Schmetz Chrome Needles. Schmetz has made these needles available in many different sizes and types, so you can get a chrome needle in exactly the kind that will suit your project.
Schmetz Nonstick Needles
You’ve probably heard of nonstick cookware for the kitchen, but did you know that you can also buy nonstick needles for your sewing machine? Iron on adhesives and stabilizers are a wonder to use in sewing, but sometimes they can cause unexpected problems.
If you have ever sewed with these things, you may have struggled with your sewing machine needle getting kind of gummed up with the residue of the adhesives. Schmetz Nonstick Needles have a specialized coating that keeps those sticky residues from building up on the needle as you sew.
Schmetz Gold Titanium Embroidery Needles
Not made of solid gold, Schmetz Gold Titanium Embroidery Needles are designed especially for those who do a lot of machine embroidery. These needles have a gold colored titanium nitride coating which helps them avoid the heat of friction in embroidery, and it also gives them resistance to adhesive buildup. This needle has a somewhat rounded point and a larger eye to accommodate fancy embroidery threads.
✅ Related tutorial: What Can You Do With An Embroidery Machine?
Schmetz Quick Threading Needles
As we all get older, it often seems that the size of the eyes in the sewing machine needles seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I guess that is the natural diminishing of our vision. In years past, sewists often gave up on one of their favorite hobbies because their vision wouldn’t allow them to do the work they loved.
✅ Related tutorial: How to thread a needle on a sewing machine
Fortunately, modern sewists have options! When you use a Schmetz Quick Threading Needle, you can continue to make beautiful things even if your eyes are giving you problems. Instead of a traditional eye, these needles have a slot along the side of the eye. Holding the thread taut, you simply slide it down the length of the needle until it slips into the eye.
This needle does have a few limitations. If you are using delicate fabrics, the slotted eye may snag the fabric. The same may happen with quilt batting if you use it for machine quilting. Additionally, these needles are not designed for heavy fabrics because the slotted eye won’t hold up.
Schmetz Serger Needles
If you have a serger, you probably already know that you often need different needles for your serger. The needles in the image above are designated DC x 1 but Schmetz offers serger needles in all of the common serger needle systems. Schmetz needles are grooved on both the front and the back sides to keep a serger from skipping stitches. Both grooves are necessary to create the chain-like stitches that are typical of serger systems.
Many newer serger models use the traditional 130/705 H system though. Before you purchase serger needles, check your serger owner’s manual to ensure that you are certain which kind of needle you need to buy.
✅ Related tutorial: What Is A Serger & What Can I Do With It?
Organ Needles Vs Schmetz
Organ Sewing Machine Needles are excellent quality needles that are made in Japan. These needles are durable and they perform well. You can buy them in large packages for less money per needle, making them a great choice for people who sew a lot.
These needles are made by the Brother company and they are an excellent choice if you have a Brother sewing machine. However, they will also work on all other brands of sewing machines as well.
A popular opinion is that Schmetz does seem to have a slightly higher quality of needles than Organ, but the differences in quality are minimal. As for me, I didn’t notice any difference in quality though – I use both brands all the time. But Schmetz has many more TYPES of needles so I think this is the biggest difference. Maybe, if you are on a tight budget, it might make more sense to buy Organ needles for your everyday sewing. However, for special projects, I stick with Schmetz.
Schmetz Vs Singer Needles
Singer is a sewing machine brand that has been around since 1851 – exactly the same year when the Schmetz company was made. This company has been a leader in sewing for over a century, creating the first electric sewing machine and the first computerized sewing machine. Their needles are also very good quality.
A rumor has gone around online stating that you shouldn’t use Singer needles in a machine that is not a Singer sewing machine. The story says that these needles are half a millimeter longer than other needles. This seems to be somewhat true.
I was curious and I measured some Schmetz, Organ and Singer needles and I found out that they seem the same length, but not the exact same length. The length indeed varies slightly. In the image below you see a Schmetz embroidery (left), Organ universal (center), Singer universal (right).
The conclusion from this is that in principle, all needles are the same length, but this “exact” length can vary slightly 🙂! Perhaps not 1mm but a fraction of that, but indeed as it is clearly visible, the Organ needle is slightly smaller. All my machines work happily with all three needles. So I can say that you can use Singer needles in any standard home sewing machine without any problems at all.
Singer does have good quality needles, about the same as Schmetz needles, which will lead to less breakage and more consistent stitching.
One thing that makes me choose Schmetz over Singer is that the Singer brand does not seem to be sold in bulk packages. Schmetz is sold in bulk and buying in bulk makes a lot of sense to me. Especially regular needles.
Schmetz Longarm Needles
If you do long arm quilting, Schmetz longarm needles are specifically designed for it. These needles have a shorter shank and a wider diameter, which gives you the quality of quilting stitches that you will prefer. After all, if you are going to put all of your time and energy into making a quilt, you definitely want each stitch to be perfect.
Schmetz Industrial Needles
Schmetz doesn’t only make sewing machine needles for home sewists and hobbyists. They also manufacture a complete line of industrial needles for those who sew on a commercial scale. If you are starting a sewing business, you should definitely check out their full line of commercial sewing needles.
Schmetz Needles Sizes
Schmetz makes needles in pretty much any size of needle that you could possibly need. Remember that you choose the size of your sewing machine needle based on the kind of fabric that you are using. Smaller numbers are for more delicate fabrics and larger numbers are for heavier fabrics. Always match up the fabric, thread, and needle so that your project goes well and you don’t damage your sewing machine or your fabric.
For an in-depth discussion on needle sizes please see my article Sewing Machine Needle Sizes Explained.
Schmetz Needles Color Chart
We’ve all taken a needle out of the sewing machine and dropped it into a magnetic pincushion, giving little thought to labeling it so we can use it again in the future. How in the world is a person supposed to figure out what kind of needles were dropped in the drawer weeks ago?
Schmetz has solved this problem for you by color coding their needles. The top of the needle is colored to tell you what you have so you will never experience this problem again. These needles have two colored bands on the needle.
The top band tells you what type of needle you have. Certain types of specialty needles do not have color coding, such as quick threading, super nonstick, spring, hem stitch, and double eye. These needles only have one band to indicate the size of the needle.
- Universal needles–no color
If you need a tutorial on the kinds of sewing machine needles, check out my post 19 Types of Sewing Machine Needles and What They’re Used For.
The bottom band tells you what size you have.
Let’s do an exercise: can you identify the needle in the image below using the color chart? I think you can, all you need is good color perception.
The first line is clearly red, therefore this seems to be an embroidery needle (it is). The second is clearly pink (or fuchsia 🙂), so it is a 75/11 size. Of course I cheated because I can see that on the box!
Where To Buy Schmetz Needles
You can buy Schmetz needles pretty much anywhere sewing machine needles are sold. Your local sewing shop likely has a selection of them, but you can also find them at online retailers like Amazon.com. For the widest selection, you can go directly to the Schmetz website to purchase any kind of Schmetz needle that you need.
For needles that I use frequently (universal usually, but not only) I prefer to buy needles in bulk so I am looking for value packages, if possible. In fact, that is why many examples above are for packages of 100. Specialty needles are used much less frequently so it makes sense to buy them only as needed.
Can I Use Schmetz Needles With a Singer Machine?
The engineers at Schmetz really do their homework! They design and test all of their needles to work with all of the common sewing machines that are sold for home and hobby use. While the people at the Singer company would love you to think that you are limited to buying and using only Singer needles, the reality is that Schmetz needles will work perfectly fine in your Singer sewing machine. Pick up that package of Schmetz needles for your Singer machine and sew fearlessly!
What Are Schmetz Microtex Needles Used For?
Microtex needles are made by Schmetz specifically for the sewing of very fine or dense fabrics. Fabrics like silk, microfiber, or artificial leather are gorgeous and so fun to work with, but they need the very sharp point that a Microtex needle has. These needles give you the beautiful stitching that you expect of a Schmetz needle, even when you are sewing on a “high maintenance” fabric.
Where Are Schmetz Needles Made?
The engineering and design of Schmetz needles takes place in Germany. Brilliant mechanical engineers put lots of time and testing into the development and improvement of their sewing machine needles. However, the factories that actually make the needles are located in India. Needles have been made in the Indian factory for over 25 years.
How to Store the Schmetz Needles?
Storing the sewing machine needles properly is very important, especially if you buy them in bulk (as I do). I suggest storing them in a dry place to avoid corrosion. But, you might say, surely the needles are made out of stainless steel, right? They are so shiny! I know, the needles are not supposed to rust, and they mostly don’t. But I have seen corrosion on needles before, so please excuse me for believing my eyes and not what it is supposed to be. Store them in a dry place please 🙂!
In addition, needles need to be stored in such a way to avoid movement along their axis. This is because the tip is very sharp and repeated bumps with hard surfaces might blunt the tip even without the needle having been used once. The best way to store them is in their original box, if new. If used, don’t simply drop them in a box, better put them in a needle book like the one I am describing in this article: Adorable DIY Needle Book | Easy Tutorial for Beginners.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you need this information on Schmetz needles, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!
Sunday 5th of February 2023
Olga: Your Exercise needle looks Red and Orange to me. So I say its an embroidery 80/12. - I do Thread Painting with my Janome. Janome recommends using their specific needles which are color coded mainly: Purple; Red; Blue and misc.. I have found that the Schmetz microtex and topstitch work the best for my Thread Paining. - In reality, I have a large selection of the Janome, the Schmetz, the Singer and the Organ needles. All work well. - Your article was well done and very informative. Thanks. You excel as a Teacher. Дякую.
Monday 6th of February 2023
Thank you Basil; however the needle is indeed 75/11 (I looked at the box 😀), but it is really difficult to see because of the various color shades different devices have.
Saturday 4th of February 2023
I have always used Schmetz needles and have never had a problem with any of my machines. Never had a problem so never gave second thought. Thanks for this encyclopedic library on the Schmetz needles, I've learned so much and appreciate the Schmetz even more so. Thank you.