Sewing Tips: Basic Stitches (plus the Double Needle)


Sometimes all it takes is a visual picture to understand what some of these sewing terms and words are.
Basting, stitch length, zig-zag, double needle…….do those words sound like crazy talk?
Yes?  Well, let me explain.  And then you won’t get nervous when seeing those words in the future.
First of all, a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch are very common stitches on sewing machines.  If you have a very basic machine (or sometimes an older ones), you may not have a zig-zag stitch.  Or you may have a fancier machine with tons of other options and stitches.  Those are exciting too.
But these two stitches are controlled by the stitch width and stitch length.  You should have some sort of knobs or buttons on your sewing machine to control these 2 functions.
If you are using the straight stitch and adjust the stitch length, you will produce different looking stitches.  The largest stitch length (shown on the left) is also called a basting stitch and can help you with temporarily holding fabrics in place or to use to gather fabric (gathering tutorial here). If you adjust the stitch width of the zig-zag stitch, you’ll get wider zig-zags…….and if you increase the length, you will increase the distance between each zig-zag.
Play around with some scrap fabric and adjust your settings.  See what you can come up with.
Now, have you ever needed to sew two stitches right next to each other……and hate how your stitches aren’t perfectly straight??  Oh, you’re not sure you would ever need 2 stitches in a row?  Well, if you look down at your clothing, you may see 2 stitches right next to each other.  (Yes, the stitches below are done with a serger……but you can mimic the look with a double needle.)
Or maybe you are quilting, making a bag, or sewing some hot pads…..and would like 2 straight stitches next to each other.  Well here’s how to do it.  Easy, easy.
Now, let me explain something. I have had a double needle for a couple of years and rarely pull it out.  You need (or so I thought) 2 mini spools of thread to fit on the top of your sewing machine, to thread into the 2 needles…..and I rarely have 2 of the same color……..especially in the color I need.  And I always grumble while sewing 2 seams next to each other, wishing I was using my double needle.  The other day, someone commented about using a double needle for something and I laughed it off, knowing I didn’t have enough spools in the correct color.  And then I realized I could just load up a bobbin and use it as a spool of thread.  Oh, that seemed obvious? Oops, it took me a while.  Dang.
So after 2 years of loving my double needle but rarely being prepared…… double needle and I are now great friends.  I love those 2 straight lines.
To begin, you need to purchase a double needle for a few dollars.  There are different sizes, and that just means the distance between the 2 needles.  I use a 4.0 size needle.  Works great for me.  (Make sure that whatever size you get isn’t too wide for the opening in your plate.  You can’t go any wider than your max zig-zag stitch.)
See how the top post of the needle is just like your regular needle?  Take out your single needle and slide in the double needle.  Secure it in place. You don’t need a special machine to use the double needle.
Then, purchase 2 mini spools of thread or 1 spool and load up a bobbin.  Put both spools where you would place your single spool of thread.
(UPDATE: Some of you have had troubles loading the two colors on one pole because of twisting and tangling.  If that’s the case, try separating the two spools more and take a look at this updated tutorial.)
Now, grab your two thread ends and begin winding them through your machine, as if it were one thread.
Then at the end, separate your threads……..
……..and thread each end through a needle.
Then begin stitching with your straight stitch, just like normal.  You can adjust the stitch length (just like explained above), to help with your different projects.  You can also backstitch, just like normal.
When done, you have a perfectly straight set of lines.
Aren’t they lovely?
And from the back……it creates sort of a zig-zag.
And because of that zig-zag in the back, it helps while sewing with knits.  I tend to increase my stitch length just a bit, just so it doesn’t pull so much and can skip over more of the knit fabric in one stitch.  Looks great as the hem of those knit projects.
And again, from the back.
And just so you can see, the double needle stitch allows for a bit of stretch.
(Animated image tutorial here.)
Isn’t that double needle fantastic?
I will be using my double needle more often……now that I realized that there is a solution to my lack of thread spools in the same color.  Yay.
Now hurry to the store and pick one up.
UPDATE: And again, here’s another updated tutorial with a few more helps.

Related posts:

Filed under Featured, Sewing, Sewing Tips


229 Responses to “Sewing Tips: Basic Stitches (plus the Double Needle)”
  1. 1
    Crystal - crafty ave says:

    Thank you! I find your sewing tips along with the pictures so helpful. I recently got a serger and have been looking back at that post. Thanks for teaching me :)

    • 1.1
      Caroline says:

      Thanks for the redirect from your site Crystal! This tutorial is exactly what I needed!! I didn’t realise my old machine could do it!

  2. 2
    Rae-Lynne says:

    I love my double needle! I only thought of using a bobbin a few weeks ago when I accidently bought the wrong kind for my machine and I was trying to figure out what to do with them. They work perfect and I use it ALL the time to trim up my blankets, bibs, car seat covers and nursing covers…makes them look quite sharp when finished.

  3. 3
    Natalie {} says:

    I totally want a double needle now. I didn't even know they existed!

    • 3.1
      Anonymous says:

      I didn’t know they existed till this blog. I just got one today (hard to find around here) and am anxious to try it out.

  4. 4
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for your sewing tips!! I have referenced your blog many times in my sewing adventures. And I have GOT to try this double needle thing! So awesome!!!

    Maybe in the future you could do some sewing tips with different sewing machine feet. There are so many out there and I don't know what half of them are used for!!

    Thanks Ashley! You are amazing!

  5. 5
    Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says:

    seriously, this may have been obvious for other sewists – but this just rocked my world. Thank you for the tip!

  6. 6
    Jackie says:

    amazing… I never even heard of a double needle. Will it work with all machines, like should my machine actually say "double needle"? I just don't understand how a straight stitch will allow the bottom bobbin thread to connect to both needles on the top…..

  7. 7
    etta says:

    Great post! I've seen the double needle in my bag of goodies a few times, but it's kind of intimidating looking!

  8. 8
    Karyli says:

    Thanks for the tips. I have never tried my double needle… just intimidated by it. I'll have to dig it out now and see what I can do.

  9. 9
    firstmute says:

    Oh my gosh, that is a really good trick. Now to see if my cheap-o Brother machine will make such nice lines …

  10. 10
    Grace says:

    My sewing machine came with a double needle and had no idea what I would use it for, and was a little intimidate by it. No problem now! Your tutorials are great.

  11. 11
    Angie says:

    You are an angel! What perfect timing! I just bought 6 different knit fabrics to make some flowy dresses for my daughter and myself for summer. I have a serger for seams, but those hems have been making me nervous! I've never learned how to use a double needle, and now I feel dumb because it is apparently so easy! Thanks so much for the tips!

  12. 12
    Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts says:

    I have always been stumped on how to thread 2 threads through one machine – – this is like a new revelation, just thread them as if they're one – – I think I just stepped into a whole new sewing world….

  13. 13
    Lil Mama Stuart says:

    so simple, thank you!

  14. 14
    Kandice says:

    Wow, that was easy, wasn't it? I just hemmed a new top for my daughter yesterday and was SO mad at the wonky lines! :-) Thanks so much for sharing your know-how!

  15. 15
    Jess and Jen says:

    I had no idea about the double needle! Love it! Can't wait to try it out! Thanks!

  16. 16
    Lovely Lizzy says:

    So helpful! Thank you!

  17. 17
    Kim Hamilton says:

    Oh my gosh!! I have been sewing almost my whole life and never knew there was such a thing! I have been wanting a serger or a more advanced machine for years, but with this nifty little tool, I can do so much more, more easily! Thank you!

  18. 18
    D and G Stories says:

    I just checked, and a double needle came in the little "pack" of tools that came with my machine. I had no idea! Other's might realize they have had one all along too!

    Thanks for a great tutorial…I would have never dared to try this out before!

  19. 19
    Emily says:

    Thanks for demystifying the double needle! It's now on my to-buy list. :)

  20. 20
    Zaira says:

    so simple (and obvious! LOL never thought of it!) but so awesome.
    Zaira @ Living, Loving, Learning Naturally

  21. 21
    Rebecca says:

    This blog rocks! Loved the tutorial, teaching my daughter to sew over the summer and got some great ideas. I've never used a double needle, and would never have tried b/c of the thread issue…thanks!!!

  22. 22
    BECKY says:

    i think it'd be super fun for you to do a post about the making of a post. you know… how you take the pics and stuff (a pic of you taking a pic just sounds like fun to me) :)

  23. 23
    Katie O says:

    You are awesome! Thank you! :)

  24. 24
    Erica says:

    Wow serious this just revolutionized my sewing. I've been wanting to use mine since we moved overseas but I always buy my thread from random places and never remember to get two of the same color and welp nothing is coded here. I'm so breaking out the double needle this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

  25. 25
    Emily S says:

    WOW that looks so awesome! Gonna have to get one now… :)

  26. 26
    s.k.i.p. says:

    oh thank you! thank you! thank you!!!!!!

  27. 27
    Bluestripe55 says:

    I just want to say that I was lucky enough to have Kristen Duke photograph my wedding and the pictures are fantastic!

  28. 28
    fuzzysmom says:

    So informative!
    I'm just begining to sew and your tips are so helpful.
    Thank you

  29. 29
    AnnaPK says:

    Excellent tutorial, thank you! I am trying to get better with sewing knits.
    p.s. your animated photo was messing with my head for a second.:)

  30. 30
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you! I have used a double needle a lot. My old machine had a separate place for the second spool of thread but I have always had trouble with my new machine. I couldn't figure out where to put the extra thread. Now I feel a little silly, but mostly happy that I won't have to fight my machine next time I used a double needle.

  31. 31
    Kim says:

    Thank you thank you!! I have been afraid of my double needle because I've never seen anyone use one but now I'm excited to use it on my knit projects! You are fabulous. Thanks for sharing your talents!!

  32. 32
    sarahvine says:

    Oh stop showing off…. all I have is an ancient machine that still goes forward and backwards and has one zigzag button. =0o

  33. 33
    sarahvine says:

    (Love your blog in general, though – I must say your Almost Too Much Chocolate Cake has been done twice and is a m a z i n g. x)

  34. 34
    Lynette @ My Craft Discovery says:

    Thanks for sharing! I had never tried to backstitch with the double needle because I was in fear of breaking it! I would always just loop around and sew on top of the first few stitches. Thanks for the tip!

  35. 35
    Liz @ LivingMySweetLife says:

    I think I love you. You just opened up a whole new world of sewing for me!!!

  36. 36
    sarah says:

    thanks! ive been trying to come up with a good way to hem knits that looked nice- and i think a double needle is the least expensive option ive seen! and super easy! thank you! :)

  37. 37
    Anonymous says:

    I have never loved you as much as I love you right now. I realize you don't actually know me, but I check your blog every day. (And I promise I am not a scary stalker type.) I have been sewing for years and just kept winging it with all the BASICS you explained since I am totally self taught. THANK YOU!! I feel like less of an idiot now. Again, LOVE you!! :) in NW Georgia

  38. 38
    East Coast-er Momma says:

    Holy MOLY!! I have been hankering for a double needle for some time now but really unsure of how to use it properly. I really, really want to double stitch on some of the clothing I make for my children. Thankk youuu (feeling all empowered and stuff)

  39. 39
    Leigh Anne says:

    Thanks so much for this info! I had no idea it was so easy :) Just saying double needle intimidated me…haha! I will have to get one the next time I'm at the store and whip up some great knit stuff!!

  40. 40
    Annie says:

    GENIUS! I'll be getting one of these babies. I'm picking up my serger soon, so… more tute's on those little jewels would be AWESOME! Best. Blog. Ever.

  41. 41
    daveandsavani says:

    wow, i am so excited to go to the store to buy myself a double needle! yay!! i've mimicked double seams for so long now and i did not know there was an easier way. thank you soooooooooo much!!! yay!!!

  42. 42
    Anna Crowe says:

    It's posts like this that make me realize why I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. You're genious.

  43. 43
    Bree says:

    I absolutely LOVE my double needle! One thing to keep in mind, not everybody's machines will load both spools (or bobbin & spool) like yours. Mine has a separate attachment that sticks in a hole on top of my machine for the second spool.

    • 43.1
      Cynthia Browneller says:

      Some machines also have to be threaded separate, like my Bernina I have to thread one thread on either side of step 2 (I think) when you bring the thread to the front there is a disc and a thread goes on either side of it.

  44. 44
    Hootnz says:

    Wow thankyou, after all these years of sewing I never knew that about the double needle, I am going to blog about this and link back to your post :) thankyou so much!!!

  45. 45
    michele andrade says:

    It's a wonderful blog.

  46. 46
    Alison says:

    that is awesome! I will have to try it out!

  47. 47
    Tyler and Hillary says:

    This was EXACTLY what I needed! I have been needing to do some hemming and this double needle sounds perfect!! Thanks for sharing!!

  48. 48
    lilliblanc says:

    Je n'ai jamais essayé de me servir de cette bête mais après avoir vu tes explications je sens que je vais me lancer!
    Grand merci

  49. 49
    The Crisps says:

    Haha! so THATS what that double needle is for! YES! My machine came with one and for years I have been wondering what the heck it is and when I would ever use it. Just yesterday I almost threw it away because I never used it! But shoot- if I could make my double hems STRAIGHT! wow…thanks so much!!!

  50. 50
    Maria says:

    Wow this is awesome! I have been upset at some of my hems, and have a double needle…but it looked so intimidating–how to use it?! Bu now I know I can totally do it-thanks!

    I wonder if it would look ok if I just made a nice new double needle hem line over some of the things I already made…(and no way am I going to pick out the old hem–wayyy too much work!) I wonder if it would look ok if I did that over some hem lines I'm not happy with (because they aren't perfectly sewn straight).

  51. 51
    rachel says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you!!! i've been afraid of double needles for the past year that i've been sewing… and now i'm ready to run to joann's and buy one tonight! :)

  52. 52
    Melanee says:

    Thanks for the tips! I love your sewing tips almost as much as your awesome project tutorials. I just did something where a double needle would have been awesome if I had only known how simple it would be to use one. Do you have any tips for sewing stretchy knits/stretch stitches?

  53. 53
    Catherine Spearman says:

    I thought the same thing when I first bought my serger–that it's great except those serger thread cones are so expensive…I can't buy them in all the colors I need to serge things…until I realized I could use my normal thread on bobbins–or buy 4 spools of normal thread for at least cheaper than the serger thread!

  54. 54
    Keri says:

    I've also had a double needle for a while but I don't have a second place to put a spool so I never used it. You have opened up my eyes!! :) Thanks. I love those DUH moments!!

  55. 55
    Diane says:

    Great tutorial, I've learned so much from you! Thanks again!!!

  56. 56
    Danielle says:

    Yay! I always wondered about them and wasn't sure what they even looked like:0) I certainly could have googled it duh! Thanks!

  57. 57
    Dill says:

    WOW! I didn't even know there's such thing as double needles! I can see all the future projects that will use this technique…erm…I need to go and purchase them first though LOL. Thanks a million Ashley!

  58. 58
    brent & meg talbot says:

    thank you thank you thank you!!! i bought a double needle a while ago, but i've been a little intimidated using it. that and i thought i wasn't doing it correctly because of the way it looked on the back — but i guess i was doing it right all along! hurray!

  59. 59
    Erin says:

    I am buying a double needle now! You sold me.

  60. 60
    Mike and Shayla says:

    Thank you! I never realized it was so simple. Thanks for your blog. You are improving the world, one simple sewing tip at a time. :)

  61. 61
    Jann says:

    I sew quite often and have never used a double needle! I am buying one TODAY! Thank you for the wonderful sewing tips! I loved them all!

  62. 62
    hmsimoneau says:

    Add in my thanks!! I've never used mine, but that's going to change this summer. ;)

  63. 63 says:


  64. 64
    Angela says:

    Thanks so much for the tips! I've always thought that I needed a double bobbin in order to use the double needle LOL Guess I'm going to have to find that double needle again, hoping I didn't throw it away.

  65. 65
    Lynsie says:

    Yah!! Thank you so much for help with the double needle!

  66. 66
    Christine says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I am going to buy myself a double needle.

  67. 67
    MommaWard says:

    Thank you! I have to have someone show me in pics, along with the words in order to learn something new like this. Your awesome pics and detailed explanations are so helpful!

  68. 68
    Whimsy says:

    This is awesome! I didn't even know what to do with a double needle and now I want one!

  69. 69
    slfranks4 says:

    I will hurry the store!! I have contemplated trying these so many times, but was unsure as to how to use them. You make me realize how simple it is! Thank you!!

  70. 70
    Heather says:

    I love my double needle – used it today in fact! Our son developed an elbow hole in his otherwise pristine Old Navy dress shirt! I shorted those sleeve for summer and used the double needle to achieve a professional looking hem! I like the double needle for making Gilligan style 'bucket hats' too – really nice top stiching. Once in a while I'll use two different colored threads on purpose to add a touch of whimsy to my dd's clothes! Sewing is so much fun!

  71. 71
    Tiffany says:

    Grrrrrrrrrrrreat post!!! I see 71 others agree.

  72. 72
    Rachelle says:

    I never used my double needle before. It looked intimidating to me. Well, I'm going to use it now, thanks to you!

  73. 73
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you, like all your posts this is so helpful and easy to understand.

    I have been working on sewing the girls sundress that you did about a month ago (the one with the big bow in front. I'll post a photo(if I can figure out how) once it is finished. Sooo cute.

    Thank you again!

    Sid's Mama

  74. 74
    Hannah says:

    Thank you so much!now I want to by one.but were can i find it, and were can you get a zipper foot.

  75. 75
    Kimberly says:

    Thanks for the great info! I love the double needle and will have to try that sometime. Do you know if it is possible to slip-stitch a hem with a machine, or can it only be done by hand?

  76. 76
    Jill W. says:

    THIS IS HUGE FOR ME! I am petite and use my sewing machine to hem pants, but now (thanks to you) I can hem those t-shirts that are too long with a double needle….hurray!

  77. 77
    Kristina says:

    How do you do that?! How do you address the exact thing I need, right when I need it?? I am so getting one of those double needles for the knit projects I'm doing soon! I'd never even heard of it before. Thank you!!

  78. 78
    THE BELLS says:

    I too am wondering about how the bobbin comes into play with both needles?

  79. 79
    Christy says:

    Thanks for sharing that. I'm mostly a self-taught sewer and I've been a little intimidated by the double needle. But now I'm ready to try it thanks to your post!

  80. 80
    Charity says:

    I learned so much from this one blog post! I will be going put and buying a double needle today! Thank you so much for the simple instructions and pictures… it really helped me get it!

  81. 81
    Netta says:

    How wonderful. I didn’t realize that double needles were so easy to use!
    Thank you

  82. 82
    monbouton says:

    aaaahhh now that’s why there are two holders for the thread on my antique sewing machine!!
    thank you so much!!

  83. 83
    Theresa says:

    Love!! I can NEVER get my lines to, er, line up…this is going to be a lifesaver! Thanks so much!

  84. 84

    OK, I bought my double needle today! ready to make fabulous topstitching now. Thanks for the tute!

  85. 85
    Emma says:

    i just found your blog and I love it. Thanks for teaching me how to use a double needle!

  86. 86
    Prissyvillw says:

    I’m in complete awww! I haven’t been sewing long, so thhis is soooo good to be introduced to. I double stitch and its so hard to keep the lines evenly spaced. This would work wonders for me. Going to go buy one!!

  87. 87
  88. 88
    Laura says:

    Just used this technique this afternoon. It took a few tries to get it right, my stitch length had to be about a 3 but it worked out and now my daughter’s long sleeve shirt is a short sleeve shirt (using some of that tutorial as well) with a nice even double hem and I love it! Thanks for all the hard work you put into this blog! It helps a beginner out for sure!

    P.S. Do you remember my friend Brooke from Rexburg? She said you two used to make wreaths together. Anyway she is an awesome sewer…just like you, where do you girls come from? :)

  89. 89
    Tracy says:

    I have question on the mechanics of it all. How does the bobbin thread (bottom thread) know what to do? How is it caught in the double stiches? It looks wonderful and I am kinda new to sewing. thanks!

  90. 90
    Heather says:

    That double needle is amazing, I never knew they existed but now I think I need one!! Thanks for sharing a great tip!!

  91. 91
    Amy says:

    I just bought a serger and am wondering if/how you can do a double straight stitch with one!? It seems like you could but I’m not sure if you’d just skip a looper or what?

    • 91.1
      Ashley says:

      You actually need an overlock machine (or overlock capability on your serger) because a regular ‘ol serger will cut off the fabric and won’t give you that great look that an overlock machine will. Bummer, huh? But the double needle will serve you well on your regular sewing machine. :)


    • 91.2
      Marlene says:

      To make a double line with a Serger/Overlock like on the hem of a purchased factory t-shirt you have to have Cover Hem ability on the serger. Your top of the line Sergers will have the Cover Hem stitch. If your serger can use 5 threads you may have the Cover Hem ability. You will have to check your Manual. Cover Hem is also used to create a decorative stitch on light formal fabric like netting, tulle. Think of sheer fabrics with cross hatching. The blade is disengaged while doing the cover hem. A Twin Needle on your sewing machine will give you the Cover Hem look on top. It does not give the triangle overlock look on the back.

  92. 92
    Trimble says:

    I think this post is why I’ve had such a hard time finding a double needle for months! :) I also think I might have to print off your picture of the zig zag stitches because I can never remember if it’s the length or width I want to change. Thank you!

  93. 93
    Monica says:

    OMG. You have revolutionized my simple sewing life. I’ve never been able to use knits properly for anything and never dreamed of being able to make clothes for my little munchkin. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!

  94. 94

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Since I read your blind hem stitch tutorial I’ve wondered what those other stitches my humble little machine could do were truly for. I previously thought they were probably just ‘pretty’ but now I use blind stitch on everything LOL. Especially if I am whacking up something my husband requests out of hours with scrap fabric and my thread doesn’t match haha.
    I’m getting a new machine for Christmas, and it seems like forever away, but this double needle is going to help prevent machine hating between now and then :-D

  95. 95
    cucicucicoo says:

    thank you SOOOO much! i recently bought a double needle after the woman at the store assured me i could use it with a regular machine, but i had no idea how to use it. i can’t wait! especially since i’ve been wanting to sew with knits, but every time i have, it’s just been disaster. yah! lisa

  96. 96
    Clover says:

    I just tried it and it is fantastic! thanks

  97. 97
    Candace Rasmussen says:

    This is SO awesome!! Thank you so much! I have always wanted to know how to do this and I didn’t even know I could with my machine! This is fantastic! Can’t wait to try it!

  98. 98
    Allison says:

    I have issues with my double needle, it came with my machine so I know it’s the right size. It always skips stitches and gets all tangled no matter what I do to try and get it to work right. It’s worked for me once and it only worked for a minute and then went back to its tangling and skipping. I’m at a loss on what to do to get it to work.

  99. 99
    Marie says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you for this!! I could never figure it out where to put the second spool of thread, so I never bothered to even try. This is incredibly helpful, and now I want to try it out!

  100. 100
    Condo Blues says:

    I’m also in the bought a double needle it sits in the drawer club. After your tute,I’m going to find an excuse to use it!

  101. 101
    Rachael says:

    THANK YOU, i just finished a project using your tutorial and it gave me the confidence to use the double needle and the project was a huge success, THANK YOU

  102. 102
    Chere says:

    Amazing! Bought a double needle this morning – so excited to get started on little leggings! Thank you!

  103. 103
    Cher says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tip, was in the same boat as you in regards to threads…will most definitely be getting out the double needle & giving it a go now :)

  104. 104
    Marlene says:

    Twin Needles are fun with two different threads. You can also do some decorative stitches with the Twin needle. Like two rows of Zigzag, small florals. Install the needle select the pattern. Rotate the flywheel towards you and listen to make sure you aren’t hitting the needle. No clicking? Then you are set to do it. Thread Up!
    Triple Needle also is available. Can do less patterns with it. Mostly Straight Stitch and small ZigZag.

  105. 105

    I tried the double needle last night, and within my first stitch, it broke!!! Piece flew everywhere ugh. Do you know what I could have possible done wrong for this to happen? Going to go get another one today, so hopefully this time it will work!

  106. 106
    Grandma Margaret says:

    I’m 60 years old and have been sewing “forever,” and never knew this! Your double-needle tutorial is AWESOME! Thanks!

  107. 107
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! I couldn’t remember how to thread the two spools of thread. Your explanation was clear and I finished my project!

  108. 108
    Kelli says:

    I really want a double needle now. I didn’t know something like this existed. Thank you for the awesome tutorial!

  109. 109
    Chrissy craft says:

    Well the lightbulb went off for me with the twin needle a couple of months ago while making receiving blankets.

    I enjoyed the tutorial and once again ‘ Duh’……..figured out the bobbin as the second spool a very long time ago but
    just never thought to put it with the other spool,

    Thank you so much …here I am 66 yrs old and have sewn all my life…learn something everyday…:o)

  110. 110
    Sara says:

    Your blog is absolutelly fantastic! Thank you for great tutorials!

  111. 111
    Vicki says:

    I’ve always wondered how to use a double needle! Thank you for sharing your mahvelous tip!!!

  112. 112
    Shandi says:

    So…I went and picked up a double needle and I had troubles with the thread shreading/fraying inside my machine until it would break…I was just wondering if you had this problem at all!? And if you had any tips for me!?

  113. 113
    Trimble says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! Have you ever had an issue with the left needle of a double needle dropping stitches while the right needle works just fine? If so, were you able to solve the problem?

  114. 114
    Carol says:

    Thank-you!!!! This is so helpful. I have a double needle but never have used it. This post was great and yes I will give it a try.

  115. 115
    Yara says:

    Well I’m sure glad I poked around your blog today. After years of sewing, it had never occurred to me that I could use an extra bobbin for double needle sewing! Doh!

  116. 116
    shelley says:

    I have the same question as Allison…#98. I have had nothing but problems with my double needle. One side ALWAYS skips stitches and then everything ends up all tangled. I worked on a hem last night and had to rip it out 5 times before I just switched back to a single needle. Is it a bobbin issue? What can I do to insure that the bobbin catches both stitches every time? Any suggestions you could give would be WONDERFUL!!! And thanks again for sharing your sewing world with us, I just love reading your blog!!

    • 116.1
      Monica says:

      Let me just say I haven’t yet tried the double needle, but am going to get one soon, but if it’s anything like when a single needle has this problem it may be the plate of the platform may be catching a thread(s) before it enters the bobbin case, or perhaps your needle(s) have a burr on it and you may need to replace it. I just took a sewing machine maintenance class (I’m no expert by any means), and the man who taught the class constantly told us that the first thing we check when we have a problem is the needle. If that doesn’t work then I would take it to a repair shop or wherever you bought it from to help you figure out why it doesn’t work. I hope this helps.

  117. 117
    Kelly says:

    Thank you! Thank you! I was actually looking for a new machine that did just this. So excited that I already own one!!! You just saved me some serious money!!!

  118. 118
    Colleen says:

    Are you kidding me?! I’ve sewn two straight lines separately for so long – or a straight line and a zig-zag, or another serger-like stitch – trying to get a perfect effect, wondering if I should buy a serger to finish knits perfectly… I was completely avoiding the double needle which came with my (cheapo) machine. Figured it was not something I was ever going to master. Why, oh why?! Thanks so much for pressing on and trying something I was afraid to try. Great!

    (found your tutorial referenced on I Still Love You)

  119. 119
    Kathy says:

    You are a genius! I’ve had a double needle tucked away, and was too afraid to give it a whirl, now I am terribly excited to use it! Thanks for taking the fear out of it!

  120. 120
    Hilary says:

    Oh my goodness.. I’m SO glad you posted about the double needed. I’ve been sewing for over 10 years and could never figure it out. Now it seems so simple! Thanks again for taking the time to share!

  121. 121

    Wow!!!! thank you very much!!! I pinterest you :)

  122. 122
    Aylah says:

    Fantastic! I just bought a double needle and wasn’t sure how to thread the machine to use it. This is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  123. 123
    Autumn says:

    I am soooo going to try the double needle technique! Like so many of us, I also thought I needed a special machine to do this.

    A little nervous reading all the posters here who ran into problems. Hoping that may turn out like my second hand serger, which I was too scared to use for a year because I read so many getting-to-grips-with-my-serger horror stories. Worked wonderfully after about an hour figuring out how to thread it and set the tension. It didn’t even need to much swearing!

    Fingers crossed twin needle is the same!

  124. 124
    cintia says:

    Love the double needle!!! I have always skipped the stretchy fabric because I don’t have a serger, I am glad I found your post, I can’t wait to try it, Thank you.

  125. 125
    Helen says:

    What type of sewing machine do you have?

  126. 126
    darlene says:

    i cannot believe i have not ever used a double needle; i’ve been sewing for neigh untoo 40 years … i’ve had them for years but …… i didn’t have the *fresh courage take* that it needed …. i was aksed to hem a pair of stretch pants for my friend’s daughter …. did a ton of research online (this was not one of the blogs) and tried stay tape, serging on a clear elastic, fused steam-a-seam2 on the back side of the pants … nothing really looked good: the stitches *tunneled* and i hated the look … so, read a bit more and moved the tension on my bernina to about 3.9, lengthened the stitch to almost 5.75 and just did it ….

    OH, MAN …. these guys are my new bffs … love the double needle … i used a stretch twin by schmetz b/c when sewing knits, stretch works great …

    great tut — too late for me, but i’m pinning b/c it’s sooo good!


  127. 127
    Toni says:

    Thanks for all the advice. I have just finished my first clothing piece for my 5 month old son. A pair of fleece pants finished with a double needle! I would never have attempted to use one without your advice and pictures. They are about 4 sized too big, but they look neat and almost professionally made.

  128. 128
    Marion says:

    I didn’t even know they existed! I had no idea…thank you so much.

  129. 129
    Ann says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a double stay stitch for knit fabrics like what I see on my own knit tops. I notice the double stay stitch on my knit tops is different than your double stitch. The hem on my knit top is only turned up once with the raw edge showing, then the stitch secures the edge well. I want that stitch and was wondering if there’s a sowing machine, not a serger, that can do that stitch? I don’t believe the stitch you show here would secure the edge with it being turned up once, but I will try it. Thank you for showing us this stitch and how it’s done. Great Video! Applaud!

  130. 130
    texmex says:

    Thanks for your tuto, it helped me today, as I used a double needle for the first time.

  131. 131
    Phoebe says:

    This is such a great idea! I’m so glad you did this. I was trying to find all these excuses of why I need a new machine, but if I could use this then maybe I don’t need one (yet!) But this is awesome

  132. 132
    ste says:

    Thank you so much for having a straight forward and easy to understand description of how to use a double needle! I’m usually afraid to try things from tutorials but I’m absolutely not at all with this!

  133. 133
    SJ says:

    Hi Ashley,
    Thank you so much for this tutorial. Will I need a ball point twin needle for knits? I bought the same one pictured, but my thread is breaking. Help!

  134. 134
    Loribelle says:

    Thank you for publishing the information on the double needle technique. I have been trying to picture this in my head and was coming up blank. Your explanation and pictures helped me a lot.

  135. 135
    Melanie Fleming says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m so stoked, I couldn’t figure out how to use a double needle. Thank you soooo much! Now I have to go get one….like yesterday :).

  136. 136
    Stacey says:

    I just realized I have a double needle!! I didn’t know how to use it but now I do! Thanks for your tutorial!! And I love the zig zag it makes on the back. Makes me feel almost like I have a serger! Ha!

  137. 137
    Esse Hominem says:

    Nice tip.
    I have always wondered how to use a double needle on my Pfaff 332, now I know…

  138. 138
    francheska kyle cagula says:

    Its not working ahahhahahahahahahahhahahahaha…..

  139. 139
    RC says:

    I need to repair a tshirt hem and did a halfbaked job on it because I didn’t have two spools of the same color. DUH. BOBBIN. I can’t wait to get home and rip out what I did and start over. This is gonna be great!

  140. 140
    Leanna says:

    I learned how to sew by using your blog–I’ve been following your blog for years, yet I somehow glanced over this tutorial because I was so set in the mindset that my machine couldn’t do a double needle, but you keep on mentioning it in so many of your posts. So I finally came back to this and read it in full…now I feel so silly! I could have been using one all this time! Doh! And now I’m all giddy inside thinking of all the possibilities and itching to make some professional looking leggings for my two little girls out of some of my old knit tops. You are such an inspiration to me! Thanks!

  141. 141
    Brianna says:

    This could change my world! Thank you!

  142. 142
    Jenn says:

    Oh my gosh…I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you posted this!!! I bought several double needles a few months ago and intended to use them to hem some of my daughter’s too-short leggings, with the intention of turning them into capris or little shorts to go under a skirt.

    Well, when I looked online for tutorials for threading a double needle, the stuff I found was ridiculously complicated. Several places said that you needed to have an extra post on your machine (I was planning on using my bobbin winder as my “extra post” (I was that desperate), but then the tutorials said that the spools had to be wound facing in two different directions, and that the second spool needed to be threaded through the machine backwards or something, and I got completely lost and ended up giving up on the idea entirely.

    Well, here I am, and now I’ve seen how simple it can be!! I didn’t realize I could just put both spools on the same post and thread them through the machine the same way, only splitting them at the bottom!! How incredibly SIMPLE!!

    It’s after 11:00 p.m. here, and I’m lying in bed as I type this…and I’m seriously debating getting back out of bed, rummaging through my sewing supplies to find my double needles, and giving this a try right this second. Of course, then I’d want to sew everything I’d been planning to do over the past six months with my double needles, and I would be up all night!! LOL

    Anyway, thank you, THANK YOU!! Your site is absolutely awesome. I’ve seen other people do tutorials for similar projects or techniques, and yours make so much more sense! Thanks for taking the time to really make these understandable for the average, somewhat craftily challenged gal!

    I’m going to try the shirring technique you talked about earlier, too! I bought the elastic thread several months ago…but again, I couldn’t find a tutorial that made very much sense as to how to use it. I’ve bookmarked your tutorial and I’m going to start shirring something tomorrow! I don’t know what, but I’m shirring SOMETHING, darn it!! :-) YIPPEE!!!

    Thank you!!! You rock!

    Smiles, Jenn

  143. 143
    Chantel says:

    This is amazing! I never knew there was such a thing as a double needle! I read through the post, went to my sewing machine, opened up the compartment and saw that it had a double needle in there along with another spool holder thing, I’m so excited to try this needle out!

  144. 144
    Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this. Braved knits on my regular machine and it was so easy. I do need some more bobbins if I’m going to do more of this! I made three pairs of leggings last night. Thanks again.

  145. 145
    Melanie says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! I had no idea…..I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the wonderful pictures they are so helpful!

  146. 146
    Kathy says:

    So many things just fell into place for me while reading this post! I recently got an older machine, with two spool holders. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I needed two. Now I know. Not only that, but I’ve found out my old machine is capable of using a double needle! Thank you~

  147. 147
    Brenda.Bush says:

    I have two spindles on my machine so I can put spools and/or spool & bobbin on separate ones….however, I came across another tutorial the other day similar to yours and they said when you have to put them both on the same spindle to put one going under and the other going over and this will eliminate the chance of the thread getting tangled…just wanted to share.

  148. 148
    elizabeth says:

    great thanks alot
    i will now use mine as my machine does candlewicking which i believe uses a twin needle

  149. 149
    Sheree Bartholomew says:

    OMG!! I have been sewing since I was 10 (over 20 years) and I have owned several difference sewing machines and didnt know that double needles existed (thought you needed a special machine). Thank you sooooo much, I will not only go out and hopefully get a double needle, but will also convert my youngest tights into leggings too.

  150. 150
    Maria V. says:

    I’ve had a double needle for years and had no idea how to use it. I SO gotta try this! Thank you!

  151. 151
    Anonymous says:

    thankso lot. that is very useful

  152. 152
    Jennifer Galler says:

    Thank you so much for the clear instructions and explanations!! I have been trying to figure out how to do this stitch, I had seen someone mention using a double needle but they explained it very badly, I thought I would need to buy a serger to hem my stretch fabrics, now I will try this and save myself £200, yippee!!

  153. 153
    Donna Quarry says:

    I just discovered that using a double needle can also hide a hem line. I had smocked my daughter a special dress about 25 yrs. ago. At that time, dresses were hemed just below the knees. Now, they come nearly to the floor. In the mean time, I now have a 2 year old granddaughter. I wanted her to wear the dress, but discovered that after washing 3-4 times, the hem line could still be seen. I sewed bias tape on the bottom of the dress to lengthen it. Using the double needle, I sewed over the hemline which looks like a tuck which I love. I came down another 1/2 inch below that tuck and made another, and then one more. I hemed the dress, and seeing my little granddaughter wearing her mother’s dress 25 years later was such a joy. Loved the double needle.

  154. 154
    manoj says:

    plz sand me your price list of all swing machine on

  155. 155
    Caroline says:

    Amazingly helpful, after I have sewed for 15+ I know how to do it! Thank you!!

  156. 156
    Christa says:

    Wonderful article, and I love the last picture-great touch!

  157. 157
    Sarah says:

    Great tutorial! I need one of those needles sooo bad now! Thanks for the inspiration. I Love your blog!!

  158. 158
    Katie says:

    Thank you for this guide! I hope I can get a double needle to help me hem knits!

  159. 159
    Nica says:

    There are SO many comments, so excuse me if somebody asked this already! I have an antique Singer 99K and I am a novice sewer (self teaching myself thru all the wonderful people like you that are willing to take the time to share your knowledge). Do you know if a double needle like this will even work with my old machine (which is only a straight stitch machine)? Thank You

    • 159.1

      It is very important to note some machines you need to change the stitch plate to accommodate the double needle, some only have a small round hole that the needle goes in and out of, and if yours is like that you need to change it out for the one with wider hole. The hole sizes are like that so fabric can’t be pushed in to the hole and get caught up in the works. Other than that, any sewing machine should be able to use a double needle. Where to put the second spool of thread can be an issue, if you machine doesn’t have a holder for a second spool, most sewing machine stores have solutions for that.

  160. 160

    You say the hems with the double rows of stitching at the bottom, like on a tshirt, are created with a serger. I’m pretty sure you mean a cover lock machine or a serger that will do a cover lock stitch, not all sergers do a cover lock stitch, and I have heard the ones that will take some finagling to get it converted to cover lock.

    There is a straight stitch that has much more stretch, on my machine it’s little icon looks like 3 stitch lines. The stitch you show will snap the threads if you stretch it too much. Another tip is that there are decorative stitches that can be use for hemming, I think all have lots of stretch and a double needle is not required, but some can be done with the double needle.

  161. 161
    Double needle fan says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! Now loving the double needle… Makes my sewing projects more fun and give a really professional finish. Hems, stretch fabrics, casings for elastic.. Endless! DN you are my new best friend

  162. 162
    Rebeca says:

    Thank you for your simple to follow insight to sewing with a twin needle.
    Q: If I wanted to zig-zag what kind of plate should I buy?

  163. 163
    Christine says:

    Thank you! I wish I had ventured to try this sooner. Never imagined it was so fuss free, I wish I could recall all of those hemmed garments with the not-quite parallel lines I have been responsible for! Never again.

  164. 164
    Gweny says:

    Hi there.. I was wondering if there would be enough stretch in the double needle stitch for a bathing suit?

  165. 165
    laura says:

    Grazie per aver condiviso questo. io non conoscevo l’uso del doppio ago: ora si! Grazie a te. Ho accorciato una gonna di maglina con la doppia cucitura ed è venuta benissimo.
    I love your blog.Ciao da Bologna (Italy)

  166. 166
    Kassandra says:

    OMG! I love this site! Everything I need to know right here! I am trying this ASAP.

  167. 167
    Joan says:

    I’m new to the double needle, problem is that the right needle isn’t picking up the bobbin thread. I’ve slowed down, cleaned bobbin casing, re threaded, etc. manual says to put one thread behind needle bar thread guide and one outside. They still tangle up and the thread that is suppose to be out ends up in guide tangled. H E L P! I can’t find any solutions.

    • 167.1
      Ana says:

      Most machines had option for 2 separate needles to be put in. So you can put the double needle in the left or right spot. Try that and see how it works.

  168. 168
    Teresa Cunningham says:

    Thank you, thank you! I bought a double needle a couple of years ago, & didn’t know how to thread it. Didn’t know if it used a shared bobbin or what! Why don’t the manuals for the machine tell you this stuff? My life will be changed after today.

  169. 169
    Ali says:

    Shut up!,,,,,I never knew how they did that knit stitch. I thought it was a serger or something I didn’t have. YOU ROCK,,,,,

  170. 170
    Celine says:

    Threads are really cheap in China…A spool of thread usually costs less than a dollar. Some spools come in rather large sizes (and natually heavy, you can put them on the table/ cabinet/ floor, etc.) and I just put the ‘other’ spool of thread behind my machine. Since it doesn’t move about when I use the machine, most of the time everything goes smoothly:)

Notes and Comments