SCHMETZ needles for Schiffli embroidery

SCHMETZ Schiffli Needles - The perfect needles for perfect Schiffli embroidery results

Schiffli embroidery is a Swiss invention; “Schiffli” is the Swiss word for shuttle. In the year 1863, Isaak Gröbli developed the first Schiffli embroidery machine in the Swiss town St. Gallen.
Nowadays Schiffli embroidery is manufactured primarily in Asia and in Turkey. The required machines are produced mainly in Switzerland.

There are 3 important systems for Schiffli machines, which use the following needle types:
Plauen system - needle type 854 S, Saurer Machines - needle type 110 S and Lässer Machines - needle type L83 TOP.

In Schiffli embroidery, high-value products are produced. The Schiffli embroidery is used in the field of exclusive garments, e.g. in lace manufacturing, for lingerie, for bridal and evening fashions, as well as in the field of home textiles, e.g. for curtains, table cloths and other accessories.

In the manufacture of Schiffli embroidery, you have to consider many parameters. Only if you accurately coordinate all parameters you will receive a perfect Schiffli embroidery of high quality. Therefore, you have to adjust carefully all embroidery parameters to each other that influence your production: material, needle, thread and machine settings. If you change one parameter, you should absolutely check the others. To guarantee a trouble-free and successful production, it is essential to regularly inspect all parameters.


Find the right needle to avoid material damage using special point shapes

The advantages of the R point:

  • Best for noncritical fabrics
  • Exact penetration even with dense materials
  • Accurate border lines of embroidery


The “NORMAL” R point is a very slim round point. You normally use the standard R point on noncritical woven fabrics and nonwovens, where an exact penetration of materials is required. However, if damage occurs as a result of piercing fabric threads, we recommend to use the medium ball point SUK or for coarser base material the special point for embroidery STR.


The advantages of the SUK point:

  • Best for knitted fabrics
  • Increased displacement effect compared to the R point
  • Lower penetration force than the R point
  • Prevention of material damage


The medium ball point SUK is a needle with a slightly rounded point. You should use an SUK ball point when you are working on fine knitted fabrics or tulle, as with its rounded point the needle pushes the material threads aside and pierces into the spaces between them to avoid material damages.


The advantages of the STR point:

  • Best for coarse tulle or net fabrics
  • Increased displacement effect compared to the SUK point
  • Lower penetration force than the SUK point
  • Prevention of material damage


The special ball point STR for embroidery is more rounded than the medium ball point SUK and increases the displacement effect even more than an "SUK" point. We recommend to use an STR point for extremely coarse materials such as net fabric or coarse knitted fabrics and when thicker material threads need to be displaced during the penetration to avoid material damage.


Color coding – needle identification made easy

For quick identification of needle size and point shape, SCHMETZ Schiffli needles are manufactured with a color code printed on the lower shank and shoulder. The aim of the color code is to make it easily visible to the machine operator that all needles in the machine are the same.


When viewing from the shank, the first color identifies special designs, the second color the point shape and the third color the needle size (see illustration). The standard design and needles with "NORMAL" tip for common, non-critical materials are not specially marked.


The advantages of color coding:

  • Rapid identification of needle size and point shape
  • Prevention of installing wrong needle sizes and points when changing needles
  • Smooth, trouble-free replacement of needles
  • High-quality embroidered products
  • Economical production


SCHMETZ needles with special geometry SA to work with very heavy or special effect yarns like Lurex.

Needle systems with the additional designation SA indicate needles with an extremely wide eye for very heavy embroidery threads. Compared to the standard eye, the SA eye is approximately 20% wider.


The advantages of the SA eye:

  • Easy threading
  • Optimized thread guidance due to less friction
  • Reduction of damages to the embroidery thread
  • Less thread breakage
  • Minimization of repair work


The SCHMETZ solution for repair work in Schiffli embroidery - The 130 N Topstitch and the DBXK5 needle

Even if the greatest care is taken in the production process, there are repeated instances when Schiffli embroidery must be restitched. For example, due to thread breakage during the embroidery process you might face missing stiches and defective Schiffli embroidery appearances.


SCHMETZ 130 N also called Topstitch Needle

The 130 N is usually used in industrially used household machines and has an extra long eye. The eye length of 2 mm stays the same in all needle sizes. The shank is flattened.


The advantages of the SCHMETZ 130 N:

  • The long eye enables easier threading of embroidery threads
  • Less friction in the eye minimizes damages especially on the slightly twisted embroidery threads predominantly used in Schiffli embroidery
  • Prevention of thread breakage
  • The flattened shank ensures that the needle is always fixed in exactly the same position in the needle bar and that it cannot be inserted at an angle



The SCHMETZ DBXK5 is normally used in special industrial machines for replacing missing stitches. The eye is 2 NM bigger in relation to the needle size, that means, for example, in an NM/SIZE 70/10 needle the eye corresponds to that of a needle size NM/SIZE 90/14. The needle has a hump between the eye and the scarf and a conical blade.


The advantages of the SCHMETZ DBXK5:

  • The bigger eye reduces friction and minimizes damages to the embroidery thread
  • Minimization of thread breakage
  • Decrease of skip stitches because the optimized hump scarf allows better loop formation
  • The conical blade prevents deflection, especially with very densely embroidered patterns
  • Less needle breakage and thus a longer durability of the needles
  • Less downtime for the machines
  • Reduction of damage to machine parts such as the tip of the hook and the throat plate
  • Very precise border lines of embroidery due to straight penetration


Recommendations for fabrics, sizes and point shapes

MaterialRecommended needle sizeRecommended point style
Prepared cardboard
NM 70–100
Schiffli SIZE 2/0–2
(NORMAL point)
Woven fabrics made of
cotton, linen, polyester or
blended woven fabrics
NM 80–170
Schiffli SIZE 0–7
(NORMAL point)
Coarse woven fabricsNM 80–130
Schiffli SIZE 0–4
(special point for embroidery)
Fine knitted fabricsNM 80–110
Schiffli SIZE 0–3
(medium ball point)
Coarse knitted fabricsNM 90–130
Schiffli SIZE 1–4
(special point for embroidery)
Net fabricsNM 80–110
Schiffli SIZE 0–3
(special point for embroidery)
TulleNM 80–110
Schiffli SIZE 0–3
(medium ball point) or
(special point for embroidery)

Choosing the suitable SCHMETZ Schiffli needle can help you to avoid or at least reduce the following manufacturing problems in most cases:


Typical Schiffli embroidery problems are:


Material damages


You will most probably have destroyed fabric parts or damages in the area of embroidery, especially in knit fabrics and thin non-wovens, caused by using oversized needles to avoid excessive deflection of the long Schiffli needles or by using unsuitable needle point shapes.


Further causes can be the following:

  • Your fabric might be clamped too loose.
  • You might work with defective or worn out needles.
  • Your embroidering tools like the cloth presser, the needle plate or a shuttle are damaged.


How you can avoid such damages:

  • Please adjust the used needle size to your fabric.
  • Also, adjust the point shape to your fabric and check the needle point for damages.
  • Tighten your fabric and check the tools for eventual damages.


Defective Schiffli embroidery appearance

Defective embroideries appear as follows:

  • Schiffli embroidery motives are only partly embroidered due to thread breakage
  • Different sizes of eyelet holes or defective appearance of eyelet holes due to worn out borers
  • Transverse stripes in Schiffli embroidery
  • Shuttle thread is visible on surface
  • Schiffli embroidery looks distorted
  • Puckering of fabric in the area of Schiffli embroidery


How you can avoid such appearances:

  • Change soiled thread spools
  • Optimize the thread tension
  • Use a thread stop motion to quickly detect the point of breakage
  • Examine borer
  • Correct thread guidance
  • Clamp the fabric tidily and in the desired position. Observe orientation of weft and warp threads / course and wale in knitted goods.


Needle breakage

Needle breakage can cause the following problems:

  • Destroyed fabric parts in the area of Schiffli embroidery
  • Damages in thin nonwovens
  • Mesh damages in knit fabrics
  • Broken needle parts remain in fabric


How you can avoid such problems:

  • Adjust the needle size to the fabric to avoid bending and breaking
  • Check the needle point for damages regularly
  • Check the correct positioning of the needle
  • Adjust embroidery tools, e.g. cloth presser, needle plate, embroidery thread and material
  • Optimize the thread tension


Skip stitches / Thread breakage

Skip stitches and thread breakage are caused by the following:

  • Incorrect thread tension
  • Incorrect thread guidance
  • Incorrect needle system
  • Needle fitted incorrectly
  • Use of an oversized embroidery thread in relation to the needle size
  • Cloth presser adjustment too high


How you can avoid such problems:

  • Adjust the embroidery thread size to the needle size and the fabric, or try a needle with a bigger SA eye
  • Check the correct positioning of the needle
  • Optimize the shuttle setting
  • Examine the thread guiding elements
  • Optimize the thread tension
  • Reduce the embroidering speed
  • Replace worn out embroidery tools such as thread guiding elements, needle plate, shuttles
  • Optimize the adjustment of the cloth presser

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