Twin Needle Top Stitching - The Basics, Tips and Tricks!

Twin Needle Top Stitching - The Basics, Tips and Tricks!

Twin Needle Top Stitching

The Basics, Tips and Tricks! 

Hey friends! Bree here again to help you navigate the set-up, and settings for twin needle top stitching, and I've thrown in a few helpful tips along the way!

Can my machine twin needle?  

I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I wasted thinking that my machine was not capable of twin needling! Basically, if your machine can do a zigzag stitch – it can twin needle!  

First you’ll need to locate your second spool holder. (Check your manual if you need to!) This is where your second spool of thread will sit.  

Next, you’ll want to locate the secondary thread guide above your needle. (Again, refer to your manual or google a diagram of your machine if you need to!) If you don’t have one – don’t panic! We can still make this work!  

Setting Up Your Machine For Twin Needling

Insert your twin needle and thread your machine as normal, with the primary thread spool unwinding in a counterclockwise direction. Then you will thread your machine again with the secondary thread, however this one will be unwinding in a clockwise direction (this is to help prevent the threads from getting tangled). Yes, you will be putting both threads through your tension disc, one on top of the other, I found this odd at first, but it still holds then tension just fine. Your threads will follow the same path all the way until the thread guide(s), where they will split, one going into each thread guide, and then into the eye of the needle. Alternatively, if you do not have an additional thread guide above the needle, you will leave the secondary thread loose, bringing it straight down and through the eye of the needle.


The manual for your sewing machine will likely have instructions for setting your machine up to twin needle, however, I found the recommended settings to be pretty far from what I actually use. I started at the recommended settings and adjusted them to improve the quality of the stitch over time.  

I find that on average, a stitch length of about 3.5, with a tension setting of about 3.5 is where I like to start off. Your settings will vary depending on the type of fabric, as the stretch and weight of the fabric will vary, requiring your setting to vary. Always test on a scrap of the fabric you will be using first! Sometimes my tension settings get as high as 6 or as low as 2! My stitch length only varies between 3.5-4.0, which is the highest setting on my old Kenmore.   

Creating a Faux Coverstitch Finish 

Did you know that there’s a simple trick that will allow you to mock a coverstitch seam - giving your seams an even more professional finish?!

Try serging your raw edge before hemming! This will give it a very similar appearance to a coverstitch finish from the back side once finished! The trick is that you will need to lower your needle tensions riiiight down - if you forget to do this, your serged edge will either roll or pucker, so this step is absolutely necessary! I usually have to drop my needle tensions down to about a 1 or 2, however, as with all settings, they will vary slightly depending on the fabric being used - so don’t forget to test on a scrap piece of fabric first!

And TA-DA! You’ve got yourself a professionally finished hem that any non-sewist would NEVER know was created any differently! 

However, I will take this opportunity to disclose the fact that as great as this method is, a coverstitch finish is still superior to a twin needle finish. A coverstitch machine was intentionally designed for a stretchy top stitch, with its intertwining threads, allowing it greater stretchability and durability. With that being said, I have heard time and time again that a coverstitch machine skips stitches endlessly and is a whole other headache on its own, so for now, I’m happy with this option and am glad to share these tips with you so you can achieve the same professional finish on your garments!
I can’t wait to see your improved hems so please share in the Northern Fabric Fam facebook group when you give it a try! Good luck! Not that you need it though, you're awesome and you got this ;) 

- Bree xo

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