Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: How To Use a Double Needle

11.03.2010

How To Use a Double Needle

Double needles are the best. They aren't cheap, but they are so worth it. You know how t-shirts have a great hem with two rows of stitching on the top and loopy stitching underneath? A double needle is a home version of that stitch. You can get a universal, jean, or stretch double needle. Universal is for woven fabric, jeans for denim fabric, and stretch for jersey/swimsuit fabric. If you're lucky and your store carries a lot, you can get different widths. This is what the stretch double needle looks like.
To use a double needle you need two spools of thread and a bobbin. I just threaded two bobbins instead of one so I could use one up top.
There's only one change when you thread it. See the arrow pointing down in the middle right? Next to it in the groove there is a metal piece that splits the groove in half. One thread goes one side and the other thread goes the other side.
Then each thread gets it's own needle to be threaded through. All the settings are the same as a normal straight stitch. (If you move the needle postition, don't move it so far that a needle will hit your foot!) The great thing about this stitch is it stretches but it's not a zigzag! And it always looks beautiful because the needle makes perfect stitches.
 To sew measure where you want to fold over.
Fold it over and pin. I did mine at 1/2". I've seen it range from 1/2" to 2". Pin over the entire area you want to sew.
When sewing coordinate the amount you folded over the where you'll sew. I had a 1/2" allowance, so I moved my needle so that the left needle hit at 1/2". Does that make sense? You want to catch the edge of the allowance with the outside needle. (Don't mind the random stitching in front of the needle. That was previous stitching I did so I could wear the shirt before I got the double needle.)
This is what the hem looks like from the top. Looks good huh?
This is what it looks like underneath. I used a dark green bobbin so that you could see the bobbin thread. The bobbin goes back and forth between each needle which is why it can stretch.
Let's see you try it now!

12 comments:

  1. wow! Thank you for this. Seriously cause I always look at the hems of my clothes and I could not for the life of me figure out how to get that stitch! Now I know. I didn't even know they made double needles. Wow. Learn something new every day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a great post. I recently used double needles for the first time to shorten some hemlines on knit tops. I noticed with the stretchier fabric that the thread was popping when I slipped it past my hips. Would you have any advice on preventing this or what I'm doing wrong? Thanks! Mary

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mary, I think I need some more information about what you're doing. My guess is you have other straight stitches or your double needle stitch is too long making the zigzag stitch on the bottom not have enough room to stretch. Send me an email at sunnysummersmile(at)gmail(dot)com so I can understand better. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've read two other walkthroughs before this one and you made it so simple to understand! Thank you ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  5. Re: Double needle tip: change presser foot pressure
    Would you please explain how to change the presser foot height?
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on your machine. Mine has a little dial on the side, but you'll need to read your manual to see how to do it on yours.

      Delete
  6. I'm not for sure I can use 2 threads at once on my machine. I'll check the manual. Thanks for this tutorial! I'd love to be able to use a double needle!
    Gina @ Gina's Craft Corner

    ReplyDelete
  7. pretty much every machine that does a zig-zag stitch can use twin needles, even older machines ... YOU DON'T USE A ZIG-ZAG stitch with the twin needle ... it's the width of the hole in the throat plate that determines whether or not you can use the twin needle and if you can do a zig-zag, you can use a twin needle ...

    great tut .... darlene

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been using twin needles for many years, initially to do pin tucks but in recent years for stretch hems. On some fabrics it will miss a stitch on one needle so you get a long stitch on one thread. I've changed needles and threads and not found an answer. It does seem to be fabric related as I can do one fabric without problems and go straight to another and miss stitches. Any clues?
    They make a great finish around a neck where you have done a rib band and pressed the seam allowance towards the garment, then twin needle close to the seam line on the garment - looks like a commercial cover-stitch machine

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi guys, I'm having an issue with this stitch and double needle. See the pics located here: https://goo.gl/photos/xU3JFBGJgvtBFdWF8 The first is the front, looks fine, right? but the second is the back. What the heck is going on? Tension issues? Bobbin tension? Foot height? I'm not getting the zig zag back and forth. This causes the tunneling I see on the front some. Any help would be great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like the bobbin is too tight and the top thread is too loose. This could depend on the fabric you're using or the tension on your machine. Since writing this post I've started using 1/2" double sided iron-on tape. It keeps the fabric from tunneling!

      Delete
    2. Hi Heather, thanks for the response. The problem was, that I figured out late last night, is that I was using the "stretch" length stitches with my twin needle. That was causing a triple stitch and giving me the back you see. Changed it to stitch length of 3 and all is well. My 8 shirts came out perfect. Hope they hold!

      Delete

09 10 11