How To Hem With A Twin Needle

Hemming your knit fabrics with a twin needle creates a faux/fake coverstitch look - and gives a nice professional finish to your garment.

Watch the Video Tutorial



What is a Twin Needle?


A twin needle is a sewing machine needle that can be changed out for a single needle on a domestic sewing machine.

For knit fabrics (stretch fabrics), the purpose of a twin needle is to recreate the hem made during professional garment construction on a coverseam (coverstitch) machine.

If sewing knits, the twin needle needs to be a ball headed twin needle (or a specifically purchased stretch twin needle) so the needles will not “cut” the fabric as it passes through.

For woven garments, the purpose of a twin needle is to create a double top stitch effect. They can be purchased as ball head (for knits) or regular (for wovens). It has one shank with two needles.

A triple needle can also be purchased. (Sometimes known as a drilling needle)

 Twin Needle Trish Newbery Design PDF Sewing Patterns

Twin and triple needles can be purchased in various widths. 

Twin needles have two size numbers.  The first number is the distance in metric format (mm) between the needles, the second number is the needle size. 

Generally twin needles come as a 2mm or 3mm spacing between the needls


Twin needles can be used with cording under the fabric which creates an interesting fabric manipulation technique of a raised top stitch effect.  (The key to this is to stitch first, then thread the cord through the wrong side of the work at the end). This raised cording is called couching.  Also see the "Hack" below


The main difference that will be seen when using a twin needle as opposed to a coverseam is on the garments wrong side.  A twin needle will create a zig-zag on the bobbin side, a coverseamer will create an overlock - serger - effect, a specific Commercial Twin Needle Machine may have a chainstitch on the reverse.



Is your twin needle breaking on heavier weight stretch fabrics such as ponte on your home sewing machine?  Try loosening the bobbin tension  


Twin Needle Hacks - Fabric Manipulations

Sometimes when your thread stitch tension is not set correctly, the fabric will gather up and create a tunneling effect, similar to raised cording.

You can use this to your advantage to create a "Moto" hack - the effect of narrow pleated seams on a pair of motorcycle pants.

- Raise your stitch tension to 4.5

- Decrease your stitch length to 1.5

(We want the stitches short and tight to create a ridge).

Sew in parallel lines.

Begin at the bottom of your fabric (closest to the hem) and work upwards

Leave a tail of thread (4 inches or 10cm) at the beginning and end of each row.

No need to backtack

NOTE: Your piece will shrink, so make this effect on a piece of fabric larger than you need, then cut to size later, or make an allowance for the shrinkage rate (It will reduce both horizontally and vertically)

Once your piece is stitched, chalk the pattern piece you need, but do not cut out - stitch to secure the edges within the seam allowance - also gently squeeze and stretch the fabric before you committ to cutting - your stitches may pull back so you need to ensure they end within your seam allowance on your finished garment.