You know those beautiful double stitched hem finishes you see on ready to wear clothes? They are done on a specific type of machine: a coverstitch. I keep hoping the magical coverstitch fairy would show up with a new machine, but that has yet to happen! Luckily, you can achieve a similar hem using a twin needle on your sewing machine.
I was intimidated for the longest time to use a twin needle and I’m not sure why. Maybe I thought my machine would explode the minute I tried to use it? I finally decided to give it a go and guess what? It was great AND my machine didn’t explode!
No need to fear the twin needle–here are some tips to make sewing with a twin needle a breeze!
Twin Needles: Make sure you are using stretch twin needles. There are also two different widths available: 2.5mm and 4.0mm. Sometimes the 4.0 will give better results on thicker fabric but you can just go with which ever you prefer! Schmetz brand twin needles are the ones most easily found in stores but sometimes I have trouble finding stretch ones so I usually just order from Amazon.
Threading: Your sewing machine usually comes with an extra spool holder to accommodate twin needles. Since I usually don’t have two spools of the same color thread, I wind an extra bobbin with the color thread I’ll be using and use it for one of the needle threads. When you thread the needles, make sure the thread is coming off the spools in opposite directions.
Stitch Length: The stitch length should be lengthened as long as your machine allows with a twin needle. I generally use 3.5-4.5, which creates a nice length for top stitching. Depending on your machine and fabric, your preferred length might be different.
Tension: To avoid tunneling, where the fabric bumps up between the stitching, increase your top thread tension. Decreasing your bobbin tension can help with this as well! It’s best to try a few rows of stitching on the same type of fabric you’ll be topstitching in order to get the tension and stitch length right. When your tension is correct, the fabric between the rows will be flat (no tunneling) and the backside will look like a zig-zag.
One last piece of advice? Go slowly and let the fabric go through the machine on its own—don’t pull!