How to change a sewing machine needle?

If you’ve ever tried to sew a zipper and had it burst through the other side of the material, then you are not alone. Sewing machines have different types of needles, but when it comes to sewing a zipper, there is usually only one needle size available: type XZN.

But what if your machine doesn’t come in that size? Or maybe your zipper just always seems to break no matter what kind of needle you use? The answer is simple: replace the machine needle with one that has a different point type or size.

In this article, we will go over how to change your sewing machine needles and all its components.

There are two ways that a sewing needle can break or bend, either in the needle bar or a bend point. If you see that the top of the inner thread is twisted and wrapped around the thread ledge, this means that there is damage to the needle and you should replace it immediately.


Step-By-Step Guide

1. Loosen the needle clamp screw and remove the needle plate. 

The needle plate will usually be held in place with a screw and can be removed. The needle base slides in a sleeve on the needle shaft, positions it correctly once in place, and holds it in place. Remove the shaft from inside the machine (and make sure you keep it connected to the fabric you’re sewing with!) and pull it out through one of the holes on top of your machine (some machines have two holes).

2. Remove the old needle and put in the new one.

After you’ve removed your old needle from the machine, simply slide it out of its place on the other side of the machine. It will then slide down to fit into a small hole that allows for easy threading so you don’t have to struggle while trying to hold a slippery, spinning device down.

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3. Check the threading hole for damage.

A damaged threading hole will usually cause the needle to get stuck and stick to the material. Threading in and out of a damaged hole will also cause your threads to suddenly become twisted, causing it to get caught in between the bobbin case and feed dogs. This can cause your machine to jam up and make it difficult or impossible for you to sew with it.

4. Replace the needle plate, and then secure it with the screw from step 1. 

Do the same thing as described in step 1, but in reverse, putting the needle plate back on.

5. Select the correct thread for your machine.

A sewing machine needle threader is used to attach the right thread to the right needle for your machine. Your manual will tell you what type of thread it is, so make sure you are using it and that you are not on a lower thread setting that won’t work for your current project.

Once you’ve finished with the machine you will be left with a nice clean sewing machine with a new and useful needle and all of its components. Remember that you should replace any extra threads that may still be on the old needle to prevent problems from happening again.

So if you’re always having trouble with a broken zipper, then hopefully this will help.

Overlocker needle replacement

Overlockers have a different needle system than regular sewing machines. The needles are screwed in from the back of the machine, but to remove them, it is necessary to remove the needle bar.

Begin by turning the handwheel toward you until you can see the needle through the hole in front of it. Grab hold of it with your fingers and push it back until you are able to grab hold with your fingers on the other side as well.

Read more: Singer Vs. Brother Sewing Machine; Which One is Better?

When to Change A Sewing Machine Needle?

The best time to change a needle is when the needle bar has become worn down. Worn-out needles will not allow your needle and thread to go through the machine evenly and smoothly, which results in skipped stitches. This will also cause fraying on the edges of your material. It is also important to check your sewing machine needle before you start a job. If you are sewing any type of material that has a lot of layers, it may be necessary to change the needle. Sewing machine needles come in all different sizes and types. If the needle size is too small for the job, the machine will not be able to penetrate all the layers, and this can cause the layers to slip under the needle which makes jamming a big problem for most sewing machines.

How do you get a broken needle out of a sewing machine?

If your needle breaks in the machine, the first step is to turn off the machine.

Close up any openings in the machine with a cloth or paper towel. Using tweezers or other tools, grasp the part of the needle still inside the unit. Gently pull it out through one of the openings you have closed up with a cloth or a paper towel.

How long does a sewing needle last?

It depends on the use of the sewing machines, maintenance, and several other factors. If we can use the correct needle for every project and properly follow the machine’s guidance then needle breakage can avoid, and the needle will last longer.

In general, you should change your machine needle if it looks deformed or dull. You should also replace it after several hours of sewing or anytime the machine starts to make a clicking noise when the needle is down.

Experts recommend that a beginner learn to sew with the right needle size before trying to change it.


Change your sewing machine needle on a regular basis to avoid wasting thread and making the machine struggle when working with uneven fabric. Keeping your sewing machine needle in good working order will help you obtain excellent results and avoid unnecessary frustration.

The main advice for those who are just starting to sew is to choose the correct needle size. The more you learn about sewing, the more you will need to change your machine needle.


I’m Jane and I’m the editor of! I am a long-time craft and clothing design fan who has been writing about these interests for years.

I have spent many hours studying knitting, weaving, sewing, embroidery, and quilting as well as learning about various brands and models of sewing gear and machines. In addition to this research, my work involves publishing information related to these topics in ways that will be informative for both amateur crafters like me and more experienced sewers!