What is a Twin Needle? How to Use It?

Last Updated on April 9, 2023

The Twin Needle is one of the most useful accessories of sewing. It is nothing but a double-needle featuring two shafts and a single shank. Both shafts have eyes allowing the users to thread the machine with two threads.

Twin Needle

In a sewing machine, the needle plays a key role because the quality of the line and the sewn thing largely depends on it. Now you can choose a suitable copy for any fabric and to obtain the desired result. Here, we will talk about what a double needle is for in a sewing machine and how it expands the capabilities of the equipment.

What is a Twin Needle?

A twin or double-rod sewing machine needle is a tool in which two needles are placed in a single holder. It’s aimed to sew two parallel stitches on the front of the sewing machine while the thread is on the wrong side of the work, similar to a zigzag seam. If your machine can perform a zigzag, then it will also be able to work with a double needle.

When working with a twin needle, two even parallel lines are obtained, which are good for finishing products from different materials. But since the seam is elastic, a double-needle is especially useful when working with elastic materials, primarily knitwear.

Shappy Twin Needles
Source: Amazon

Twin needles are also suitable for needlework, as using different threads can result in original embroidery with a three-dimensional pattern and shadow effect. Furthermore, twin-needle stitching is useful for securing tucks, attaching braids, and assembling elastic materials.

Such a special device is also suitable for needlework. If you fill the needles with different threads, you can create an original embroidery with the effect of a three-dimensional pattern and shadow. And the seam with a double needle is suitable for fixing tucks, attaching braids, and assembling elastic.

There is a persistent misconception that sewing with a twin needle on a sewing machine is only necessary to get two parallel lines. The “possibility” of a dual device is much wider. It is used when necessary:

  • Hem the sleeve or bottom of the jersey;
  • Lay a decorative line;
  • Make a hemstitch;
  • Sew on a braid;
  • Form relief tucks.

For sewing on braid and forming tucks, you must also purchase special paws. If you fill the needles with different threads, you can create an original embroidery with the effect of a three-dimensional pattern and shadow. And the seam with a double needle is suitable for fixing tucks, attaching braids, and assembling elastic.

Note. Such stitches are intended for decorating and hemming the bottom of products, not for grinding individual parts. 

Why Do You Need a Twin Needle in a Sewing Machine?

A double needle allows you to sew two even lines at the same time from the front side, while the “zigzag” is obtained from the wrong side. It allows you to get a double stitch is two needles fastened with a plastic holder.

This needle is only suitable for sewing machines that have a “zigzag” set of stitches. They are different from others in the presence of an oblong slot in the needle plate and foot.

What fabric can be used for double needle?

Choosing the right one for a particular fabric and thread is important. Such products are:

  • Universal – for most materials and fabrics;
  • Metallic – for working with metallic threads;
  • Jeans – the name speaks for itself. Such needles are used to sew denim and other dense fabrics;
  • Stretch – designed for knitted, stretchy, elastic fabrics, knitwear with a double needle.

The cross-section of the needles is also important (it is the same for both and varies from 1.8 to 4 mm) and the distance between them (from 1.6 to 8 mm). Information about this is indicated in the digital marking. Needle gauge selection is based on the fabric to be sewn and needle spacing based on desired stitch spacing.

How to Use a Double Needle on a Sewing Machine

When the users proceed with sewing, they achieve two parallel seamlines on one side of the fabric.

How to Use a Double Needle on a Sewing Machine

They also get a zig-zag stitch on the other side. But the changing and threading process of the twin needle is complicated. So, the majority of the sewers stay away from this item. In this article, we are presenting the guide for using a double needle. Let’s get started.

1. Choosing the Most Suitable Needles

Firstly, you have to select the appropriate needles which will fit the machine correctly. The double needles come in a variety of sizes. The measurement of the size can be either the distance of the needles or their size. The needles usually have 1.8mm  to 8mm distance from each other. Most often, the compatible needle size for the machine is written in the instruction manual.

Otherwise, select the length such that it is less extensive than the broadest zig-zag option of the sewing machine. In this way, the bobbin case and the throat plate will be safe from damage. The second measurement is the size of the double needles, such as size 80 and size 90. Always pick the right double needles for achieving your desired result.

2. Threading the Needles

First of all, you have to switch the ordinary needle with a pair of needles. The process of changing twin needles is the same as the usual methods of changing a single one. Take regular upper thread for threading the left needle. Do it in the same way as you thread the ordinary needle. Place the thread spool on the spool pin of the sewing machine.

Some sewing machine comes with an extra spool pin, where others don’t. If your machine has a second spool pin, position it on the bobbin winder shaft. Then set the other spool of thread or bobbin on it. If the device doesn’t include the second pin, you can either use the winding pin of bobbin or an accessory rack.

Besides, you can also put both spools on the spool pin instead of placing one. Now thread another needle from the second thread spool. Its threading process is also the same as the first needle. But make sure of not leading the thread through the thread guide while doing this.

Alternatively, the users can hold two thread-ends together and thread them as threading one thread. If you do this, then detach them at the end and thread both through the double needles.

3. Start Sewing

After finishing the previous phase, you are ready to start sewing. Your tool will create both straight and curved stitches with the needles. Some needles only offer straight stitch, Where a few provides the opportunity of lots of decorative stitches too.

If you are a new sewer, try the simplest stitches first and experimenting with other stitches later. Use medium stitch length and usual tension for regular fabrics. You have to adjust the tension and pressure foot for working with delicate clothes.

So, we suggest practicing with scraps first before start sewing your dress or fabrics.

Suitable Needles

Do not use the same needle on different types of fabric. Despite the apparent external similarity, they have different angles for sharpening the tip and arranging the eye and groove.

Type of NeedleSuitable FabricNeedle SizeCross Section RangeNeedle Spacing RangeOther Features
UniversalMost materials and fabricsNo. 70 – 1001.8 – 4 mm1.6 – 8 mmVarious tip angles, eye arrangements, and grooves
MetallicFabrics using metallic threadsNo. 70 – 1001.8 – 4 mm1.6 – 8 mmDesigned for metallic threads
JeansDenim and other dense fabricsNo. 90 – 1001.8 – 4 mm1.6 – 8 mmSpecifically for dense materials
StretchKnitted, stretchy, elastic fabrics, and knitwearNo. 70 – 1001.8 – 4 mm1.6 – 8 mmSuitable for elastic materials

Depending on the thickness of the matter, the number of the needle is selected as:

Fabric ThicknessRecommended Needle Size
Light (thin)No. 70, No. 75
MediumNo. 80
Dense (thick)No. 90, No. 100

Attempting to sew with a twin needle of the wrong number results in skipped stitches and thread breakage.

The next criterion is the distance between the needle points. The marking indicates it after the number through a fractional line (solidus). Depending on the type of needle, it can vary from 1.6 to 6 mm.

Needles with a needle spacing of 6 mm are suitable for household machines with a stitch height of 7 mm. If your “assistant” functionality is limited to 5 mm, then the maximum allowable parameter will be 4 mm.

To make sure the needle fits:

  • Remove the paw.
  • Insert the needle.
  • Slowly turn the handwheel to lower the needle to its lowest position.
  • You can start sewing with a twin needle on a sewing machine if it passes freely into the hole. 

How to install a twin needle on a sewing machine? We act in this way:

  • Using the flywheel, we put the needle holder in the highest position;
  • Lower the foot, loosen the fixing screw, and remove the single needle located there from the holder;
  • On the vacant place, we place a double needle so that the flat side of the flask is on the opposite side from you;
  • After the edge of the flask enters all the way and touches the limiter, carefully tighten the screw.

How to Thread a Twin Needle in a Sewing Machine

Such a needle requires two spools and identical threads (in structure and thickness). Sewing threads are refueled according to standard, usual rules, but for models from different manufacturers, they may differ due to design features.

Therefore, it is advisable to use the instructions that accompany a specific machine: it will tell you how to thread a double needle for knitwear and any other fabric.

However, in any portable sewing machine, elements are necessary for threading, such as thread guides, guides, tensioners, etc. Two threads, passing through the mentioned devices, are separated at the very end: each is separately threaded into the eyes of the needles – left to left, right to right. This is the feature that makes twin needle threading different from others.

The hook is threaded as usual, but the tension should be loosened with the lower and upper threads, too – this is necessary to obtain a zigzag stitch. After threading and before using the twin needle, it is advisable to make a trial stitch.

As for the difference, sewing with a double needle or one, these processes are unlikely to be different – they are identical.

Video: How To Thread & Troubleshoot the Twin Needle

Unlock the Secrets of Twin Needle Sewing: Master Stretchy Hems & Perfect Double Seams with Expert Tips from BlueprintDIY!

Can You Use a Twin Needle on a Regular Sewing Machine? 

All modern sewing machines support the “twin needle sewing” function. Industrial (straight-seam) units are the only exceptions. However, the older models perform just as well. The main criterion they must meet is the ability to perform the zigzag operation.

To make sure that your machine satisfies this condition, look at the slot in the needle plate. If it has an elongated oval shape, then you can safely install a double needle.

The secret to the perfect stitch with Twin Needle

  • When using a double needle, the wrong side of the seam should have an even zigzag formed by the lower thread, with no upper threads visible. If this is not the case, adjust the hook tension or upper thread tension.
  • Some sewing machine models can be finicky, so use identical coils (same number, manufacturer, footage) to prevent malfunctions.
  • Only use high-quality sewing threads from well-known brands, as cheap options may cause issues.
  • Do not use threads of different thicknesses, which can result in a loose stitch.
  • Avoid sewing at high speeds when using a double needle.
  • When sewing thin fabrics, there may be a risk of forming a “contracting tubercle.” To prevent this, loosen the lower thread or slightly increase the tension of the upper threads.

Note that there is no universal advice for achieving the perfect stitch. Experiment with the tension settings to find what works best for your specific project. The lower the thread tension, the more expressive the zigzag on the wrong side, and the less it will pull on the lines.

Possible problems

As you can see, sewing with a double needle on a sewing machine is challenging. Once you have mastered this technique, you can create things competing with famous brands. However,  you will have to face several problems on the way to the sewing.

The most common of these is the formation of an inter-seam shuttlecock. The greater the distance between the needles and the thinner and more elastic the fabric, the greater the likelihood of its occurrence.  

If, despite all precautions, the machine continues to skip stitches or fails to form a seam at all, it is worth investigating a problem with the needle itself. The modern market is full of counterfeit goods and fakes, and sewing accessories are no exception. To avoid falling victim to scammers, only purchase needles and related accessories from trusted stores or brand sales representatives.

Look closely at the needle:

  • Both blades of the needle should be in the same plane and not turn in different directions. Unfortunately, achieving a high-quality stitch will not be possible if they are tilted or turned relative to each other.
  • If the flask is shifted relative to the blades, either forward or backward, there is a risk that the needle will hit the shuttle and create gaps.
  • Another common issue is a beveled flat on the flask. In this situation, one needle will be slightly pushed forward.

If the needle quality and proper threading are not questioned, the problem might lie within the sewing machine. Even with minimal “scrolling” of the needle bar along its axis, there is a high probability that one needle will be shifted forward. While fixing this issue is relatively easy, it is better to consult a professional if you are not familiar with the sewing machine’s inner workings.


Modern sewing machines from popular manufacturers are equipped with two racks for spools and paired thread guides and thread guides, in which the threads are threaded separately; that is, they are initially separated.

So there are much fewer questions about how to thread a double needle in this case. If the second rod is not visible on the unit, then it is most likely included in the kit. It must be placed in a special hole on the unit body or on the bobbin winder.

Why do we need a double needle in a sewing machine? We know how to insert and thread it; we figured it out. Now it remains to put the acquired knowledge into practice!

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