A double needle is a very disused accessory; everyone has it in their sewing kitty, but only a few use it. This post is about the best ways to do double needle stitching with twin-needles.
Being afraid that changing the needle and threading with the double-needle is one big lot of trouble is one of the reasons why people stay away from this very useful accessory. Some are unaware of the many uses of double needles.
But once they use this very versatile needle on their hems and other purposes, this needle will be one of the most used accessories.
In this article I will cover:
- What is a double needle ?
- What do you need to sew with double needles?
- How to choose the double needle ?
- Where to keep the two threads for sewing with twin needle?
- Advantage of double needle stitching
- 6 uses of double needle stitching
- 1.To make a hem similar to the cover stitch hem
- 2. To sew seams on sheer fabric
- 3. To attach ribbon trim
- 4. To make Decorative stitches
- 5. To make Pintucks
- 6. To make parallel rows of top stitching
- Some more questions on twin needles
- What are the disadvatages of using the twin needles for Double needle stitching?
- What to do about the tunnelling between the stitches?
What is a double needle ?
Double-needle/twin needle is a needle with a single shank and two shafts. The two-needle shafts have an eye, each through which two threads are threaded.
As you proceed with the double stitching or twin needle stitching, you will get two parallel rows on the face of the fabric and a zig-zag stitch on the back of the material.
What do you need to sew with double needles?
One pre-requisite to sewing with double needles is having a zig zag sewing machine with a zig-zag needle plate. Ensure that the zig-zag needle plate has a big enough hole to accommodate the double needle you have and the stitch is set to straight stitch.
Two thread spools
Two thread pins (can do with one pin too, as explained below)
How to choose the double needle ?
All Double needles are not made alike. There are always two numbers on each double needle to show size. The first number shows the distance between the two needles. The second number, the one that follows the slash, is the size of the needle ( For eg 2.0/80)
Depending on the distance between the two needles – They are numbered 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, etc. 2 means the distance between the two needles is 2 millimeters.
Two things decide how much stitch width you can choose with the needles – 1. width of the hole in the throat plate and 2. the number on the needle you have (which denotes the distance between the two needles of the double needle)
To know how wide you can go with the needle, if you have a very wide throat plate, subtract the number of your needle from the longest stitch width in your machine.
For e.g.: The width of the longest stitch width in your machine – the number of the double needle.
If you get 2 as this number, this is how wide you can go with any stitch in your machine. If you go more than this, your needle will hit the sides of the throat plate and break.
Twin needles are available as Universal and stretch needles. If you are sewing knits, it is advisable to use the stretch double needle.
Where to keep the two threads for sewing with twin needle?
There are 5 places you can keep the thread spools
1. Check in the kit you received with the sewing machine – you may have an extra tread pin you can keep on a hole on top of your machine or on top of the bobbin winder. This is for the extra thread spool used in double stitching. If you do not have, check out the other options.
2. If you have a very long thread pin, you can stack the two thread spools on it. Did you know that the spool moves in a particular way when sewing. Ensure that the second spool is moving in the other direction opposite to the first one. This will prevent tangles.
Do not worry if you do not have an extra thread pin or a long thread pin on which you can keep the two spools together; you can use a winding bobbin as a thread spool. The bobbin and the thread spool can be stacked together.
3. Another place to keep the bobbin used as a top thread is the bobbin winder pin. Just do not engage the winder by moving it on. Then you can use it as a thread pin.
4. Use a straw as the thread pin.
Advantage of double needle stitching
Double needle stitches make double line of stitches at the same time, so you get enforced stitching.
It makes two rows of stitches at once – so less work.
It looks nice.
6 uses of double needle stitching
1.To make a hem similar to the cover stitch hem
You must have seen this hem on your T shirt. On the face of the textile, two parallel lines can be seen but on the back of the stitching a zigzag stitch connecting the two lines is seen.
A double stitching needle can be used for this edge-finishing.
Use a 4-number needle to make this stitch. Turn under the raw edge of the fabric to the back. Place the fabric right side up under the pressure feet; Position the needle so that this raw edge will be coming directly in the middle of the two needles of the twin needle.
Remember you are going to stitch from the top of the fabric. Start sewing. The raw edge will be enclosed in the zig-zag stitch on the back of the fabric, and you will get 2 parallel rows of stitches on the right side.
If you are sewing this hem on Knit fabric, the hem will stretch and remain intact if you use a thread with a slight stretch to it, rather than the cotton thread. Basically, the stitch itself has some stretch because of the zig zag stitch it forms on the back.
2. To sew seams on sheer fabric
To avoid bulk on the seams of sheer fabric, you can sew with this needle and cut off the seam allowance closely. Not the most durable of seams though.
3. To attach ribbon trim
Ribbon trims can be attached in one go by sewing them with a double needle which is the correct size for it. The distance between two needles should be just a little lesser than the ribbon width, so that both the edges will be caught.
4. To make Decorative stitches
Use the decorative stitch options in your sewing machine to make decorative borders. Remember to make sure that the stitch width is compatible with your needle plate hole. You can experiment with colors and stitches on a piece of scrap fabric before trying it out on the final pieces.
You may have to use Interfacing on the back for thin fabrics to prevent fabric puckering. And it is better to choose more open stitches than dense stitches to avoid complications.
Related posts : Decorative stitches on your sewing machine.
5. To make Pintucks
You can make beautiful pintucks by sewing with a double needle and a pintuck foot. Check out the post on Pintucks for more details.
6. To make parallel rows of top stitching
The twin needle is a lifesaver for those who cannot sew straight, especially when you have to sew two parallel lines. What could be easier than sewing both lines in one go with a twin needle?.
Some more questions on twin needles
What are the disadvatages of using the twin needles for Double needle stitching?
Twin needle uses a sort of a chain stitch on the back of the fabric to connect the two straight lines on the front. At the back of the fabric there is a loop made So it is not as strong as a single straight stitch. In a factory made garment, a single needle seam is considered superior to a double needle seam because of its finish and strength. So if you want a strong seam this is not the one you need to use. The stitches might cave in if you do not get the tension right.
What to do about the tunnelling between the stitches?
Many people consider the slight ridge (upper projection of fabric) created between the stitching lines, great texture and leave it at that. But if you do not like that texture and you want smooth surface between the stitches, there are some precautions you can take. Twin needles work best when there is not much stretch in the fabric – woven fabrics are the best. But that doesnot mean that they cannot be used with knits – infact using them for hemming knit clothes works very well. If you are using stretchy fabrics, stretch them slightly as you sew them or use a fusible he, tape or washaway stabiliser or tissue paper underneath to stabilise the fabric. You can also try using a stretchy thread in your bobbin. And try using a longer stitch length. Also if your bobbin case allows, loosen the tension. Check out this post on using the twin needle to make a coverstitch like hem.