When and How to use a Twin Needle in Sewing
Ever wonder how sewists get those perfectly straight double lines of stitching? Want to sew knits professionally without a serger? The best way to accomplish both of these tasks is by using a twin needle. Twin needles are the perfect solution to more professional results in top stitching with both straight stitches and decorative stitches and in sewing knits without a serger. The beauty of a twin needle is that it does all of the work for you. You just need to know a few things about these needles and how to use them to get professional results every time.
What is a Twin Needle?
A twin needle is also called a double needle. It is comprised of two needles attached together by a single shank. One of the needles is slightly shorter than the other. This is to allow the bobbin to catch the thread of both needles as it is sewing. The single shank fits into your machine in the same way your single needle does.
Types of Twin Needles
While there are some specialty twin needles for jeans and metalics there are generally two types of twin needles; universal and stretch. If you are sewing with knits you will want to get either a Stretch twin needle or a Ballpoint twin needle. The stretch needle is used for highly elastic fabrics like spandex or scuba while the ballpoint is used for all other knits. If you would like to purchase any of these needles just click on the links or the photos. This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Not only do you need to be concerned about the type of twin needle that you choose but these needles come in varying widths. In other words the needles can come in different distances apart. On the packet of needles you will see two numbers, the size of the needle and the distance they are apart. So for example a 4/80 twin needle has two size 80 needles that are 4mm apart. The distance apart that you choose is determined by the look that you want. For the example that I will be showing you I used a Universal 2/80 needle that I had on hand. Schmetz offers all of these varieties of twin needles.
How to Install a Twin Needle
A twin Needle has a shank just like a single needle. It is rounded with a flat side on the back of the needle. Place the needle into the needle holder on your machine so that the flat side is facing to the rear of your machine and tighten exactly the same way that you would a single needle. There is no difference in installing this needle from any other needle so do not be intimidated by it.
How to Thread your Machine
Because you now have two needles you will need to have two lines of thread. Most machines come with an extra spool pin that you have probably wondered what to do with. Well this is the reason. You will need to place one spool of thread on your regular spool pin and another spool on your extra spool pin. Don’t worry if you don’t have the extra spool pin. You can always use a separate thread stand or even a tea cup. In addition, you can wind a bobbin and use that on your regular spool pin along with your spool of thread. Any of these options will work.
Once you have placed your thread in two of these locations you will thread your machine as you usually do with both threads one at a time. Place one of the threads through one of the needles and the other thread through the other needle. Thread your bobbin as usual. At this point your twin needles have been threaded.
How to Sew with Your Twin Needles
Now that you have threaded your machine it is time to sew. You can stitch using straight stitches or decorative stitches as shown in this example. Remember that in this example I used a 2/80 twin needle. If I had used a 4/80 twin needle the stitches would have been farther apart. It is really dependent on the look that you want and the purpose of the double stitch.
As in all things sewing not everything goes smoothly all the time. You may have some issues with your double needles. One of the more common problems with sewing with twin needles is tunneling. This most often occurs when the bobbin tension is too high. You will want to lower your bobbin tension if you see tunneling happening. You will know tunneling is happening if your project looks like this.
You may also have issues with skipping stitches this may be caused by dull needles or using the wrong type of needle for your fabric choice. Make sure that you are using the appropriate needle for your fabric as described above.
Now that You know how to use a twin needle take the opportunity to use it. Whether you are going to sew with knits using a straight stitch or try some decorative stitching using your twin needles. Take the opportunity to give it a try. It is just as easy as using a regular needle and gives you professional looking results every time.
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If you want to try your new twin needle skills try adding some decorative stitching to some of our Sew Very Crafty Projects like our slider Pen Pouch or our Curve top Makeup Bag or any other of the projects here at SVC.