How to sew with a twin needle

I'm working on some patterns for knit fabrics at the moment. Since a lot of people seem to be scared of sewing knits, I thought some tutorials might be appreciated. Finishing hems on knits can be tricky if you don't have a cover stitcher, but not to worry, you can get pretty much the same results with a twin needle and your regular sewing machine.

A twin needle will give you two parallel lines of stitches on top and a zig zag underneath. This keeps the stitch stretchy, yet neat on top.

All you need is a twin needle compatible with your machine. There are several widths available.

Sewing with a twin needle

When threading, use two spools of thread, the second can be a bobbin. In my machine there's a pin for the extra spool, check your manual to find out how to attach the second spool as it varies by machine.

Threading your machine for a twin needle

Thread as usual, treating the two threads as a single all the way down to the needle, where you separate the threads and put each through its own needle.

Feeding thread through a twin needle

Use plenty of pins to make sure you'll catch the edge underneath when sewing from the right side.

Hem with pins

Twin needle tutorial - sew from right side

Twin needle sewing tutorial

Twin needle stitch

And here you have it! Professional looking and easy. I wanted a tiny hem for this project, if you're a beginner use a longer stitch length to get a neat result. The key is not to stretch the fabric when sewing.

Twin needle hem



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Thanks Elisa! I’ve had another play tonight and tried using a stretch twin needle which is a bit wider than my universal twin and tension is better though now getting quite a few skipped stitches. Just read elsewhere that spools should be unwinding in opposite directions so will try this next time. I think I need to a few more practice sessions to perfect this! Looking forward to seeing your knit patterns as I’m a big fan or your designs


Hi Katy, I’m glad you’re finding the tutorial useful!
Yes, always use a straight stitch. (Zig zag might break the needle!) I recommend a stitch length of 3 or longer. Also, make sure the tension is right, you will usually need to lower it a bit.
If you find the threads break easily you might want to get a wider twin needle, which gives more stretch.


Thanks for the tutorial! This comes at a handy time for me when i.m sewing with lots of jersey. I’ve been using a twin needle on hems but on a few tight fitting garments the threads have broken. Do you use a regular straight stitch setting on your sewing machine? What stitch length do you typically use?

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