How To Use A Double Needle

A double or a twin needle delivers two clean and parallel stitches on fabric, mostly in the hem or on a sleeve area. It is also used for pin tucking and several other decorative purposes. Stay with us to learn how you can use a double needle in your sewing machine.

How To Use A Double Needle

To start stitching with a double needle, you have to pin under your hem and place the pins on the right, where you will sew. Now, put the presser foot in a position ready to sew. As you make your way straight or zigzag stitching, you must keep a check on the distance from the edge using your fingers to feel it. It would be best to keep in mind that your stitches should not go over the edge.

Read on to learn the types and uses of a twin needle. You will also have a clear picture of how to thread a machine with such a needle and troubleshoot when facing specific issues after reading the sections below.

What Is Double Needle Used For

A twin needle is used to create two rows of stitches parallelly on top and zigzag-like interlocked stitches below. Stitches with double needles are meant for decorative purposes when done on a woven fabric, but it produces an appealing hem on stretchy materials, which do not break when stretched. When using elastic materials, hems and the seams must stretch along with the fabric; otherwise, there are high chances that the stitches will break. You can witness it in tight-fitting apparel, and you would not want to go wearing something with holes in the seams.

However, if you plan to work with knit fabrics, it would be best to have a grip on using a double needle if you want a hem that looks a lot like professional ones. These types of needles are called twins because they are joined together with a shank on top. Let us take a look at a few uses of double needle stitching.

  1. Making a hem similar to a cover stitch hem

These hems can be seen on a T-Shirt, which has parallel straight stitches on the front and zigzag on the back, connecting the two lines. You have to take a number 4 needle for it. First, turn under the raw edge to the back. Put the fabric’s right side up under the presser foot and start sewing.

  1. Sewing seams on sheer material

Stitching with a double needle is suitable on such fabric to avoid bulk on seams. After sewing, you can closely cut off the seam allowance. However, it is not the most durable seams possible.

  1. Attaching ribbon trim

You can attach ribbon trims in one go with the help of a double needle stitching. You will have to ensure that the needle distance should be a little lesser than the ribbon width to sew both the edges.

  1. Making decorative stitches

For it, you have to select the decorative stitch option on your sewing machine. It would be best to ensure that the stitch width is compatible with the needle plate hole. However, for thin materials, you may need to interface on the back of it to prevent it from puckering.

  1. Making pintucks

Stitching with a double needle and a pintuck foot will help you create attractive pintucks.

  1. Making parallel rows of topstitching

If you struggle to sew two parallel straight lines, then stitching with a double needle is the best option for you. It will help you sew both the lines simultaneously.

How To Troubleshoot Issues While Using A Double Needle

While stitching with a twin needle, there may be times when you will encounter creases or some other anomalies between the two parallel rows of stitches. It prevents the hem of your fabric from being smooth and flat. It is a common sight while working with lightweight materials as the zigzag stitches on the back are too tight.

To overcome this situation, what you can do is add some hemming tape under the hem. Doing so will give it some thickness and weight. However, if you do not have a hemming tape at your disposal, you can always go for double-sided interfacing, which you can cut in 1-inch strips.

Another troubleshooting method you can look for is adjusting your machine’s pressure (if at all it is equipped with it). Increasing the pressure will help you hold the hem flat while you stitch. You can also adjust the tension of your machine to check if that helps.

What Are The Types Of Double Needles?

Most of the sewing machines offer the option of using twin needles. There are various types of it, and they are based on:

  1. Purpose

Using a double needle, you can sew fabrics, such as universal, jersey, ballpoint, and embroidery. For stitching on knit materials, you can go for the stretchy type.

  1. Shank Thickness

A twin needle is joined with a shank on top. The standard thickness of it is 75/11, 80/12, 90/14, and 100/16. It would help to know that the smaller the shank thickness, the needles will be thinner, and you can sew lighter fabrics with it. The 80/12 thickness is the ideal medium weight.

  1. Needle Distance

The distance between the two needles usually ranges from 1.6mm, 2mm, 3mm, and 4mm. You can choose the one that you think will bring the best out of your stitches. However, while deciding the distance, it would help check if the needle points fit the presser foot.

How to Thread A Machine With Double Needle

Following the steps mentioned below will help you understand how to thread a sewing machine with a double needle. Let us take a look at it.

Step 1: Inserting the needle

You have to put the needle shank into your machine, ensure that the flat part of it faces the back.

Step 2: Replacing the presser foot

After you have inserted the needle, you have to replace your regular presser foot with a zigzag one. This foot is preferable because the needle can easily fit into it as it has a wider slot.

Step 3: Threading the bobbin

Now, you have to thread the bobbin. You do not have to make any changes here, and you can thread as you would while using a single needle.

Step 4: Threading the first reel

Thread the sewing machine normally with the first reel. Then, you need to pass the thread through the left needle.

Step 5: Threading the second reel

Now, you will have to thread the second reel into the right needle.

Step 6: Use Bobbin Winder

Even though most of the machines are equipped with a dedicated slot for the second reel of thread, but, if your model does not, then you can use the bobbin winder. You can also think a little out of the box and utilize a wooden stick to tape it on the machine’s sides. And if you use a double needle for everyday purposes, it would be best to buy a spool holder placed by the machine’s side.

Can You Use A Double Needle On Any Sewing Machine?

If your machine can sew both straight and zigzag stitches, then you can use a double needle in it. However, if it can sew only a straight stitch, then chances are you cannot use a double needle on it.

What Foot Do You Use With A Twin Needle?

It is usually the zigzag presser foot for most machines, which you can use with a double needle. And as the foot sizes vary, you can also find different needle sizes to suit your requirements. However, you can always refer to the user manual for more clarifications on what and how presser foot can be used with a double needle.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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