Can I Use Sewing Machine Needles in My Overlocker? Do’s and Don’ts

Embarking on the creative journey of crafting garments often leads to questions like, Can I Use Sewing Machine Needles in My Overlocker? As fellow enthusiasts dive into the intricate world of sewing, the compatibility of tools becomes a focal point. Picture the anticipation of threading needles and the hum of the overlocker—these are the symphonies of a sewing enthusiast’s sanctuary.

In this narrative of needles and threads, we unravel the possibilities, exploring the seamless synergy between sewing machine needles and overlockers. Join us in this stitching odyssey where every question threads the fabric of knowledge, weaving a tapestry of insights for every sewing aficionado.

Key Highlights

  1. Ensure your overlocker and sewing machine share the same needle system, like 130/705H or ELx705.
  2. Most overlock machines less than 10 years old can use home sewing machine needles due to their similar basic needle structure.
  3. Choose the right needle size and type based on your fabric to avoid issues like skipped stitches or breakage.
  4. Using sewing machine needles in your overlocker is possible, but attention to compatibility and fabric-specific needle selection is crucial for achieving the best sewing outcomes.

What is an Overlocker and How Does it Work?

An overlocker, also known as a serger in some regions, is a specialized sewing machine designed to create neat and professional finishes on fabric edges. Unlike regular sewing machines, overlockers are equipped with multiple threads and loopers, allowing them to sew, trim, and finish edges simultaneously. This versatile machine is particularly useful in preventing fabric fraying and creating a clean, polished look.

An overlocker typically uses three to four threads to create various stitch types, such as a basic overlock stitch or a rolled hem. The machine’s key components include the needle(s), looper(s), and cutting blade.

As the fabric passes through, the needles form stitches, while the loopers secure the stitches and the cutting blade trims excess fabric. The result is a professionally finished edge that is both durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Imagine you’re working on a T-shirt project. After sewing the seams with a regular sewing machine, you can use an overlocker to finish the raw edges. The machine trims the excess fabric and simultaneously stitches, preventing fraying and providing a neat, professional appearance. This is especially beneficial for garments that may undergo frequent washing and wear.

In summary, an overlocker is a specialized sewing machine that simplifies the process of finishing fabric edges. Its ability to simultaneously sew, trim, and finish edges makes it an essential tool for creating durable and polished garments, even for those new to sewing.

Needle Compatibility Unveiled | Can I Use Sewing Machine Needles in My Overlocker

Can I Use Sewing Machine Needles in My Overlocker?

Overlock machines, especially those less than 10 years old, generally allow the use of home sewing machine needles. While it might seem surprising, the truth is that these machines are quite versatile. Overlockers and sewing machines share the same basic needle structure, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

The key factor is the needle system compatibility. Most sewing machines and overlockers use the same type of needle system, which is indicated by a code on the needle package. Common needle systems include 130/705H for domestic sewing machines and ELx705 for overlockers. If your overlocker and sewing machine share the same needle system, you can use sewing machine needles in your overlocker.

However, it’s crucial to consider the needle size and type based on the fabric you are working with. Choose the appropriate needle size and type for your specific fabric, as using the wrong needle can result in skipped stitches, broken needles, or other issues. For instance, lightweight fabrics may require smaller needles, while heavy fabrics may need larger ones.

In summary, yes, you can use sewing machine needles in your overlocker, given that both machines share the same needle system. Just ensure you select the right needle size and type for your fabric to achieve optimal results.

Can I Use Sewing Machine Needles in My Overlocker

How to Change Needles in an Overlocker?

Overlockers make sewing easier, but they need a little care too. One important thing is changing the needles. Let’s go step by step, and don’t worry – it’s simpler than it sounds!

  1. Know Your Needles:
    • Overlockers use two types of needles – left and right. Make sure you have the right ones.
  2. Turn Off and Unplug:
    • Safety first! Switch off your overlocker and unplug it to avoid any accidents.
  3. Lift the Presser Foot:
    • Use the presser foot lever to lift it. This releases the tension on the needles.
  4. Remove Old Needles:
    • Use a small wrench or the tool that came with your overlocker to unscrew the old needles. Take them out carefully.
  5. Put in New Needles:
    • Insert the new needles with the flat side towards the back. Push them all the way up.
  6. Tighten the Screws:
    • Use the wrench to tighten the needle screws. Not too loose, not too tight – just snug.
  7. Check Needle Position:
    • Make sure the needles are straight and at the right height.
  8. Lower the Presser Foot:
    • Put the presser foot back down. This helps with the thread tension.
  9. Test on Scrap Fabric:
    • Before your real sewing, try a few stitches on scrap fabric to make sure the needles are working smoothly.
  10. Adjust Tension if Needed:

Remember, changing needles is a small thing that makes a big difference. You can do it, even if you’re just starting out!

How are Sewing Needles Classified?

Sewing needles play a crucial role in the art of sewing, and their classification is based on several factors, including their shape, size, and purpose. The primary classification is based on the needle type, which can be broadly categorized into hand sewing needles and machine sewing needles. Hand sewing needles, as the name suggests, are designed for manual stitching, while machine sewing needles are crafted for use in sewing machines.

When it comes to hand sewing needles, they are further classified based on their intended use. Embroidery needles are suitable for intricate embroidery work, featuring a sharp point and a larger eye to accommodate embroidery threads. Quilting needles are designed for quilting projects, with a tapered point to easily pass through multiple layers of fabric. Betweens or quilting between needles are shorter and thicker needles, ideal for fine stitches in quilting. Meanwhile, sharps needles have a slender body and sharp point, making them versatile for various hand sewing tasks.

On the other hand, machine sewing needles have their own set of classifications. Universal needles are commonly used for general sewing projects and can work with various fabrics. Ballpoint needles are designed for knits and jersey fabrics, preventing snags or damage. Jeans needles have a strong, thick shaft to sew through heavy fabrics like denim. Embroidery needles for machines are specialized for machine embroidery, featuring a larger eye to accommodate embroidery threads.

In addition to their classification based on type and purpose, sewing needles are also identified by a numbering system that provides valuable information about their size. This numbering system is a standard way to convey the needle’s thickness and length, ensuring that sewers can easily select the appropriate needle for their project.

The numbering system for sewing needles typically includes two values. The first value represents the needle size or thickness, and the second value indicates the needle length.

For example, a common needle size might be 80/12. In this case, the number 80 denotes the thickness of the needle, and 12 indicates the length.

Understanding the needle size is crucial because it determines how well the needle can penetrate the fabric. Smaller numbers indicate finer needles suitable for lightweight fabrics, while larger numbers represent thicker needles designed for heavy fabrics. For instance, a needle labeled 60 is finer than a needle labeled 100.

The needle length is equally important, as it ensures compatibility with specific sewing machines. Different machines may require needles of varying lengths to function properly. It’s essential to consult the sewing machine manual or guidelines to determine the recommended needle size and length.

What is the Difference between Sewing Machine Needle and Overlocker Needle?

When it comes to sewing, understanding the difference between a sewing machine needle and an overlocker needle is crucial for achieving the best results in your projects. These two types of needles may seem similar, but they serve distinct purposes in the world of stitching.

AspectSewing Machine NeedleOverlocker Needle
FunctionUsed primarily for basic stitching and creating seams.Designed for overlocking or serging, trimming, and seaming.
Needle TypeComes in various types such as ballpoint, universal, etc.Typically has a more complex structure, with multiple grooves.
Threads UsedAccommodates one or two threads, depending on the project.Requires multiple threads (usually 3 to 5) for overlocking.
Stitch FormationCreates straight stitches, zigzags, or other decorative patterns.Forms strong, secure overlock stitches for edge finishing.
Fabric HandlingSuitable for a wide range of fabrics, including delicate ones.Works well with knit fabrics and prevents fraying.

Imagine you are sewing a basic cotton shirt. You would use a sewing machine needle to stitch the fabric pieces together, ensuring neat seams. Now, if you want to finish the edges of the same shirt to prevent fraying, you would switch to an overlocker needle to create strong, secure overlock stitches along the edges.

In summary, while a sewing machine needle is your go-to for general stitching, the overlocker needle is indispensable for achieving professional-looking finishes and preventing fabric edges from unraveling.

How to Choose Right Overlocker Needles?

Choosing the right overlocker needles is crucial for achieving optimal results in your sewing projects. Understanding the key factors and considerations will help you make an informed decision, ensuring that your overlocker operates smoothly and produces high-quality stitches.

Needle Size:

Selecting the correct needle size is the first step. The size is indicated by a number on the needle package. For lightweight fabrics like chiffon or silk, opt for a smaller size (e.g., size 70/10), while heavier fabrics such as denim may require a larger size (e.g., size 90/14). Using the appropriate needle size prevents fabric damage and ensures efficient stitching.

Needle Type:

Consider the needle type based on your fabric and project. Universal needles work well with a variety of fabrics, but specialty needles like ballpoint needles are ideal for knits, preventing snags and damage. For denim or heavy fabrics, choose denim needles designed to pierce through layers easily.

Needle Shape:

Pay attention to the needle shape. Overlocker needles come in various shapes, such as regular or ballpoint. Regular needles are suitable for woven fabrics, while ballpoint needles are designed for knit fabrics, preventing them from breaking or stretching.

Needle Quality:

Invest in high-quality needles to avoid issues like breakage or skipped stitches. Look for reputable brands and consider the needle’s material. Titanium-coated needles are durable and resistant to wear, ensuring a longer lifespan.

Needle Replacement:

Regularly replace overlocker needles to maintain optimal performance. If you notice any signs of damage, such as bent or dull needles, replace them immediately to prevent damage to your machine and achieve clean, professional stitches.

Choosing the right overlocker needles involves considering factors such as size, type, shape, and quality. By understanding these aspects, even beginners can confidently select the appropriate needles for their specific sewing projects, ensuring optimal results and the longevity of their overlocker machine.

Troubleshooting Sewing Needle-related Issues

Sewing needle problems can be a common headache for beginners and experienced sewers alike. Addressing these issues promptly is crucial for a smooth sewing experience.

IssuePossible CausesSolution
Needle Breakage– Using the wrong needle size for the fabric.Check the fabric and consult your machine manual for the appropriate needle size. Replace with the correct needle.
– Inserting the needle incorrectly.Ensure the needle is inserted properly with the flat side facing the back.
Skipped Stitches– Dull or damaged needle.Replace the needle with a new one and make sure to use the correct needle type for your fabric.
– Incorrect thread tension.Adjust the tension according to your machine’s guidelines and the type of fabric you’re using.
Uneven StitchingUneven thread tension.Check and adjust the tension settings on your sewing machine.
– Bent or damaged needle.Replace the needle and make sure it is straight and undamaged.
Fabric Puckering– Using the wrong needle type for the fabric.Choose a needle suitable for the fabric type to prevent puckering.
– Incorrect presser foot pressure.Adjust the presser foot pressure according to your fabric.
Thread Breakage– Using old or low-quality thread.Invest in high-quality thread, and ensure it is not too old or brittle.
– Incorrect thread path.Rethread the machine, following the correct thread path as per your machine manual.
Needle Jamming or Bending– Fabric thickness exceeds the needle’s capacity.Choose an appropriate needle for thick fabrics, and avoid forcing the fabric through.
– Sewing over pins.Remove pins before the needle reaches them to prevent bending or jamming.

Remember, proper maintenance, correct needle and thread choices, and a good understanding of your sewing machine can significantly reduce these common needle-related issues. If problems persist, consult your machine manual or seek assistance from a knowledgeable friend or professional.

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Sewing Machine Needles in Overlocker

Here’s a guide to help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of using sewing machine needles with an overlocker.

1. Choose the Right Needle Type: Select the appropriate needle type based on your fabric. For instance, use a ballpoint needle for knits.1. Avoid Using Dull Needles: Using dull needles can lead to skipped stitches and fabric damage. Replace them regularly.
2. Match Needle Size to Fabric Weight: Ensure the needle size suits the fabric weight. Lighter fabrics need smaller needles, while heavier fabrics require larger ones.2. Don’t Mix Needle Sizes: Stick to a single needle size. Mixing sizes can cause uneven stitches and fabric distortion.
3. Insert Needles Correctly: Ensure needles are inserted with the flat side facing the back and fully pushed up into the needle bar.3. Skip Needle Changes: Change needles after 6–8 hours of sewing time. Overused needles can cause poor stitch quality.
4. Thread Needles Properly: Thread each needle separately. Proper threading prevents thread breakage and ensures smooth stitching.4. Forceful Threading: Avoid forcing the thread through the needle. This can cause tension issues and thread breakage.
5. Use Quality Needles: Invest in high-quality needles. Cheap needles can bend or break, leading to stitching problems.5. Neglect Regular Maintenance: Regularly clean and oil your overlocker. Neglecting maintenance can affect needle performance.

Remember, following these simple do’s and don’ts will help you make the most of your overlocker and achieve professional-looking results with every project.

How to Take Care of Your Sewing Needles?

Needles are essential tools for various activities, including sewing, knitting, and medical procedures. Proper care ensures their longevity and helps prevent accidents. Here’s a guide on how to take care of your sewing needles:

  1. Cleanliness is Key:
    • Before and after each use, clean your needles with a mild soap and warm water solution.
    • Dry them thoroughly to prevent rust, which can compromise the needle’s integrity.
  2. Storage Matters:
    • Store needles in a needle case or organizer to prevent damage or loss.
    • Keep them away from extreme temperatures, as this can affect the metal.
  3. Mind the Material:
    • Consider the material of your needles. Stainless steel needles are less prone to rust, while others may require extra care.
    • For delicate materials like silk or lace, opt for smoother needles to avoid snags.
  4. Handle with Care:
    • Be mindful of how you handle needles. Avoid forcing them through tough fabrics or using excessive pressure.
    • When not in use, cover the needle tip with a protective cap to prevent accidents.
  5. Regular Inspections:
    • Periodically check your needles for any signs of damage, such as bent or blunt tips.
    • Replace damaged needles promptly to ensure optimal performance and safety.
  6. Lubricate When Necessary:
    • For certain types of needles, especially those used in machinery, a drop of sewing machine oil can help maintain smooth movement.
    • Follow manufacturer guidelines for lubrication and avoid over-application.

Taking care of your needles is a simple yet crucial practice that can enhance your crafting experience and ensure your tools remain reliable over time.


Congratulations on delving into the compatibility of sewing machine needles and overlockers with our guide can I use sewing machine needles in my overlocker. While the temptation to interchange needles may arise, it’s important to consider the specific requirements of your overlocker.

While sewing machine needles may physically fit into an overlocker, their design and function differ from dedicated overlocker needles. Using incorrect needles may result in compromised stitch quality, machine malfunction, or even needle breakage. 

To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your overlocker, it’s advisable to use needles specifically designed for overlocking machines. By selecting the appropriate needles, you can confidently tackle your projects and achieve professional-grade results. Happy sewing and overlocking!


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Frequently Asked Questions

What type of fabrics can be sewn with an overlocker?

You can use an overlocker to sew a variety of fabrics – from lightweight knits and silks to heavier materials like denim. It’s great for creating neat, professional-looking seams that will last. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to join fabric pieces quickly and easily!

What is the best way to thread an overlocker?

Threading an overlocker is easy! Start by threading the needle and loopers, then ensure your fabric is placed correctly. Finally, pull the threads up and away from you to complete the setup. You’ll be ready to sew in no time!

What type of stitches can I make with an overlocker?

You can make a variety of stitches with an overlocker. From simple seam finishes to decorative edges, it’s easy to create professional-looking results you’ll love. Experiment with different stitch lengths and widths for a unique look!

What is the best tension setting for an overlocker?

Setting the tension on an overlocker is key to achieving perfect seams. You’ll want it just tight enough to keep the fabric in place, but not so tight that it puckers or causes the thread to break. Experiment and adjust until you get a stitch that looks and feels just right.

How often should overlocker needles be replaced?

You should replace your overlocker needles every few months or so, to ensure your seams are as perfect as the ancients. Keep it humming and stitch away with confidence – this is a simple step that’ll guarantee top-notch results!

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