Today I’ll be showing you how to use a twin needle or double needle on your sewing machine all in a video tutorial. There’s a photo tutorial as well along with some great close up examples to help you be as successful as possible with sewing with a twin needle. 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! Using a twin needle is especially great for finishing off hems on garments made of knit fabrics. It’s allows for the stretchiness of the knit fabric as well as giving the garment a professional looking finish with your everyday sewing machine.
Sewing machine in need of some TLC? See my tutorial for Sewing Machine Maintenance
How to Use a Twin Needle or Double Needle
Materials and Tools Needed
- Twin Needle (here’s a good multi size pack on Amazon)
- Garment or other fabric to sew
- Sewing machine
- Spare bobbin if you don’t have multiple spools of one thread colour
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 stitching looks like from the top and what the stitching looks like on the bottom. Twin needles can also be used for decorative stitches (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 the size you will need will depend on what type of fabric you are using. If you are sewing a thick denim you may need to go for a size 100. If you are sewing a cotton, medium weight fabric, you might go for a size 80. When 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.
Photo Instructions for How to Use a Twin Needle or Double Needle
Insert the twin needle into your sewing machine the same way you would a standard sewing machine needle.
Ensure the gap in the sewing machine foot can accommodate the twin needles. You don’t want the needle hitting the foot and breaking! I’ve done it before and it put the timing out on my sewing machine.
Thread your sewing machine up as you normally would, but with two spools of thread at the top of your machine. You can either use the additional spool holder on your machine (if you have one) or load up a extra bobbin or two with thread and place them on the spool holder together.
I prefer to use the vertical spool holder when I’m using a twin needle as the threads tend to not tangle up. Also, if you’re using the vertical thread spool, ensure the threads are coming off the spool holder in opposite directions. I show this much better in the video.
Tip: You will have less tangling in you thread if you thread the machine with each thread separately, rather than with the threads together at the same time.
I’ve used two different colours for my thread so you can see the example clearly, but you would usually use the same colour thread.
Below is an example of how you can have a spool (or bobbin) of thread on the vertical spool holder and the horizontal spool holder.
You won’t be able to use your automatic needle threader here so it’s the old school way, unless you have one of these nifty sewing machine needle threaders.
Sew using a straight stitch to form two perfect parallel stitched lines.
How to close up openings and finish off softies perfectly with this tutorial
Here’s a close up of what the top of the stitching will look like.
Here’s a close up example of what the stitching will look like on the underside of the stitch with a twin needle. It almost looks like a zigzag.
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
Here’s an article with some great troubleshooting tips if you’re still having problems with your twin needle.
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!
Want a quick and easy sewing project to try? Here’s a video tutorial for how to make a grocery bag holder
Well that looks like a fun thing to try! I think it would be great for machine quilting, and once I get a bit braver on that front I think I will give it a try. Thank you for the detailed tutorial. ~smile~
Do you need to bobbins for the thread in the bottom bobbin holder? If not, that is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Thanks for sharing. But my machine only accormodates a needle with a one side flat and not an all round needle. Can this needle still be used?
There may be a specialty twin needle for your machine. Best to visit your local sewing machine specialist and ask.
I have never used a twin needle but this looks fun. What do you use underneath? Just one bobbin? Or is your machine capable of having two bobbins under? I couldnt see clearly in the video how the bobbin worked to keep the stickes in place. Thanks!
Just one bobbin ?
Just one bobbin for the bottom ?
Wow! Thank You so much. Exactly what I wanted to know.
Can you turn corners with twin needle?
The corners wouldn’t work out very well with a twin needle. I’ve haven’t turned 90 degrees with the twin needle before, but I’m just imagining that it wouldn’t work out well. You could always test it.
If using different colors in twin needle, what color do you use in the bobbin?
It’s up to you. This side probably won’t be seen so you can any colour. ?
Can you use twin needles if you making ruffles or gathers?
I haven’t tested it, but it may be more durable to use a straight stitch with one needle for sewing ruffles.
What an amazingly useful resource! I am sharing htis with all my readers! Great job, Domenica! 🙂 Lisa