[VIDEO] How to Use a Twin Needle on Your Sewing Machine


There’s something about sewing two perfectly parallel lines that makes you feel like you’re an expert at sewing. It’s just so perfect! In this video I’m going to show you how to use a twin needle on your sewing machine, including a little explanation about what the numbers mean on the packaging and some little tips along the way.

Or watch it here on YouTube

What Does a Twin Needle Do?


A twin needle is great for creating two perfectly parallel lines of stitching. This is great for hemming clothing, especially on knit fabrics, as it allows for stretch. Above, you can see what the view is like from the top and what the stitching looks like on the bottom. Twin needles can also be used for decorative stitch (like you’ll see in the video) and they are just cool to use!

What Do the Numbers Mean on the Twin Needle Packaging?


As you can see in the picture above, the bigger number on the twin needle packaging refers to the size of the needle and this will depend on what type of fabric you are using. If you are sewing a thick denim you may go for a size 100. If you are sewing a cotton, medium weight fabric, you might go a size 80. If you are sewing a lightweight knit, you may chose to go a size 75. The smaller number refers to the distance between the 2 needles. I believe these needles come in a distance difference from 1.6mm up to a 6mm. You can find many twin needles on Amazon here* or at your local sewing centre.

A twin universal needle will suit you if you are sewing medium weight cotton type fabrics and a twin stretch needle would be best for lighter knit type fabrics.

Things to Remember When Setting Up the Twin Needles

Some of the tips I touch on in the video include:

  • If your top threads are on the same spool holder, try to have them coming off the spool in opposite directions to decrease the chance of tangling
  • Don’t forget to use a standard foot or foot that has a wide enough gap to cater for using twin needles. You don’t want to be snapping your needles on the foot. It’s not good news. I’ve done it before. Yikes!
  • If using a decorative stitch, always manually turn your hand wheel towards you to test that the needles are not going to hit the top of the foot at the widest point of the stitch. This could be disastrous too. You can try decreasing the width of the stitch and stick to a twin needle that has a gap of no more than 4.0mm.
  • If your fabric is ‘tunnelling’ (bunching up between the sewn lines) try decreasing or loosening the tension
  • You could use some stabiliser to reduce the tunnelling as well. This is especially handy if you are doing a decorative stitch

Tips I Didn’t Mention in the Video

  • Try not to use a backstitch when starting or finishing with your twin needles. Try a locking stitch instead if you have one available
  • You can’t use your auto-needle threader with the twin needle. Boo! I have seen a lot of nifty needle threaders around the place (like this one*) or you can thread it by hand, but that would be boring…It takes me forever!

Do you have a burning question that I haven’t answered about using a twin needle? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll see if I can help you out with it!

Until next time, happy sewing!

*these are affiliate links and I truly thank you if you choose to purchase through clicking one of my links


  1. Thanks so much for making this clear. I’ve got a fairly basic machine and thought this was a very fancy stitch but I’ve realised now that my machine will probably handle this and I love the tips to stop the threads getting tangled.

    • Great to hear! Yes, once you see the twin needles being used you realise that they aren’t that hard to set up after all. All the best and let me know how you go when you decide to try a twin needle out on your sewing machine.

  2. Thank you so much for putting up this video and tips! I did get my threads tangled and the needle broke (yikes!) while using the twin needle when I first got my Janome machine. Needless to say I’ve never use it again. What a shame! And now I think I might use that extra needle and decorative stitch for my next project. Thank again!

    • Ouch! Hopefully the video gives you enough confidence to definitely have another go at it and skip the tangled thread and broken needle issues, which would’ve been enough to put me off sewing for a while when I was first beginning to sew. Let me know how you go!

  3. Great tutorial! My problem is that when I stretch my fabric after sewing the stitches, one thread doesn’t stretch and breaks. I’ve tried playing with different tensions but get the same result. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    • Hi. Thanks for the question. I’ve had this issue before. Which part of your garment did this happen on? There’s a couple of things you could try for this, anyway. If the twin needle is being used for a hem then you could try stretching the fabric slightly as you sew or you could try using a very slight zigzag stitch with your twin needles. If you are sewing a part on your garment that is going to be stretched quite a lot it might be best to go with a triple stitch or stretch stitch instead with a single needle. Hope that helps with solving your problem. :)

  4. Thanks for the tips. I’m going to try again and see if I can be rid of the tunneling. Do you have any tips for smocking with a bobbin mounted from below? I can never get enough tension to wear the item. It shrinks up, but not enough. I’m going to try winding the bobbin with a little tension to see if that does the trick.

    • My pleasure. Now for the smocking – It’s best to use a lighter weight fabric with a longer stitch length. I think it’s a whole heap of trial and error to see what works for your sewing machine, but I think winding the bobbin with a bit more tension could make a difference too. Good luck! :)

      • Thanks. I’ll reattempt this summer.

  5. I like using the twin needle because it reinforces the seam I use for throw pillows. The problem inhale though is once complete the stitching is visible on the outside. Like it doesn’t tightly bind the two pieces of fabric. I’ve tried every tension etc. Still shows the thread between the two pieces, any tips on how to get a tight seam with a double needle?? Please help?!?!

    • Hi Crystal. If you are looking for a stitch the that is super strong I would recommend the triple stitch or stretch stitch. I use this one when I need to sew a seam that may need extra strength. I’ve only even used the twin needle as a decorative stitch. Sorry I counldn’t help any more than that.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>