Sew4Home Mini Sewing tips: How to use a twin needle

 The way to get perfectly even, super close, double rows of stitching ito use a twinneedleIf youre someone who thinks twin needles are way too complicated, youre in for a very pleasant surprise: twice the stitching is half as hard as you might imagine. Read on for Sew4Homeeasy tips and tricks. 

 What Is A TwinNeedle? 

 A twinneedle(also called a doubleneedle) is basically two needles attached to a single shank. One is slightly shorter than the other so thebobbincan catch thethreadfrom both needles. So clever thatbobbin! 

 Twin needles come in a variety of sizes just like regular needles. But they havetwonumber designations: one is the spacebetweenthe needles and the other is theneedlesize. For instance, a 4/80 twinneedlehas 4 mm space between two size 80 needles. The picture below shows a Janomeneedlepack on the left; many Janome models come standard with a twinneedle within their packaged accessories. Several manufacturers offer twin needles; check to be sure what you are using is a proper fit for your machine.  

There may be some limitations as to how wide of a twinneedleyour sewing machine can handle. That answer should be provided in your machines manual. Or even better, buy your twinneedledirectly from your sewing machine dealer. He/She can tell you which size will be best for your project. 

 Setting Up Your Machine  

 A twinneedleinstalls in your machine just like a regularneedle. With the flat part of the shank toward the back, insert it into theneedlehole and tighten the screw. 

 This may be the spot where youre saying,Wait a minute. A twinneedleneeds two threads to stitch.Correct – your sewing machine is designed to feedonethreadat a time. And even if it could feed two, where are you supposed to put the extraspool? 

 Most Janome machines come with an extraspoolpin and a hole to put it in. Thats where you put your secondspool. Again, consult your owners manual to see what your extraspoolpin looks like and exactly where it goes.  

If your machine doesnt have an extra spool pin, you can use athreadstand. Or, you can simply put the additionalspoolin a coffee mug to the side of your machine. (Just make sure theres no coffee in it.) 

If you want the samethreadcolor in both needles, but you only have onespoolof that color, wind somethreadonto an extrabobbin. You can then use thisbobbinas your secondspool. 

Threadyour machine as you normally would,onethreadat a time. The most important thing is to make sure the threads dont get twisted around one another. Some machines allow you to separate the threads at thetensiondisk. Again, check your machines manual for specific instructions. 

The only sad part is that you cannot use an automaticneedlethreader with a twinneedle. It helps to have a classichandneedlethreader. You can also try what we often do: find someone younger with better vision tothreadthe needles.  

Which Stitches Can I Use? 

A simplestraight stitchwith a twinneedlealways looks crisp and exact. Its the one we use most often in home décor sewing. However, your machine may be able to also sew a zigzag or decorative stitches with a twinneedle, which can be very pretty, especially with two different colors ofthread.  

As mentioned above, the slight difference in the length of the needles is what allows the singlebobbinthreadto secure both threads as they penetrate through to the back of the fabric. This means the back of a twinneedlestitch is likely to look quite different from the front. Keep this in mind when deciding where the twinneedlestitching will go on your project. If the back of the project will be visible, consider using abobbinthreadthat matches the fabric in order to best conceal thebobbinstitching. 

 The image below shows you the back of straight as well as decorative stitch options. The larger flat surface is the back; the smaller flipped over section is the front.  

Some machines, including many of Janome models, actually have a twinneedlesetting. When you select the twinneedlesetting on the machine, any stitches that cannot be used are grayed-out or otherwise disabled so they cannot be selected.  

You may not have this screen setting option. If so, just make sure the needles dont swing too wide.The biggest danger is that one of the needles will hit the presser foot orneedleplate and damage your machine (not to mention an eye risk of flyingneedleshards). Beforeevenbeginning your test stitching, use thehandwheelto slowly take your twin needles through one full stitch cycle, making sure theyre safely within the tolerances of your plate and foot. Then, do some test stitching on a scrap to make sure youre getting the effect you want. 

A standard presser foot that can accommodate azig zagstitch is the most common option to use for doubleneedlestitching. The goal is to use the presser foot with the widest opening for theneedleswing. 

 Now, go forth and make perfectly parallel lines of stitching. 

Link to article at S4H: 

By: Liz Johnson, Senior Editor, Sew4Home – a Janome Exclusive Studio 

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2 Responses to Sew4Home Mini Sewing tips: How to use a twin needle

  1. Sargen says:

    Hi Liz.
    Can the Janome HD9 uses the twin needles?
    Do one has to change the needle plate to use the twin needles?


    • Liz Thompson says:

      Hi Sargen
      The HD9 is a straight stitch single needle machine. there is no needle plate to switch as you cannot use a twin needle on this machine. The twin needle would break on the foot as well.


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