Last week I did a tutorial on how to attach a sleeve and a lot of people found that helpful. I received a request from a fellow sewist to do a tutorial on hemming knits using a twin needle, which you can see below.
This is what a twin needle looks like. It has two needles as the name suggests and it allows you to create a cover-stitch without using a cover stitch machine. You can find this needle at fabric stores or online. For knits, make sure you are using a stretch twin needle for best results
For the purpose of this demo, I am using a red thread on the left needle, green thread on the right needle, and yellow thread on the bobbin.
Step 1: Replace your regular needle with a twin needle.
Step 2: Adjust the needle position to make sure it does not hit the metal on the presser foot. Lower the needles manually using the handwheel to make sure the needle wont break once you start sewing.
Step 3: Threading the needles: This is a very important step. If this is not done correctly, the threads can get tangled up and cause a lot of frustration.
The left spool will be placed exactly where you place the spool when you are sewing with a single needle. The right spool will be placed where you normally place the bobbin before winding the bobbin. You will need to place an extra spool holder on top of the bobbin winder. See illustration below
Be sure to thread the left needle before you thread the right needle. If you thread them together and treat both threads as one, you will have tangling. The left needle will be threaded EXACTLY the same way you thread a single needle, so go ahead thread as normal. For the right needle, thread it exactly the same as the left needle EXCEPT the very last step. The last step of threading a needle is passing the thread through the needle bar guide before inserting the thread into the needle. You will skip this step for the right needle. Please note that your needle bar guide might look different than mine, so refer to your user manual in case yours doesnt resemble mine.
Left Needle: Thread this as normal, passing the thread through the needle bar guide
Right Needle: Thread this as normal, but do not pass the thread through the needle bar guide before inserting the thread into the needle. In the illustration below I am using red arrows to show you how to thread the left needle and green arrows to show you how to thread the right needle.
While this step is pretty universal, refer to the user manual of your machine as well.
Step 4: Place the fabric under the presser foot with the hem folded under. Lower the needle manually once to secure the fabric. Then grab the two top threads and tuck them underneath the presser foot to avoid tangling.
To start hemming, back-stitch twice to lock the stitch and then forward stitch. When you get to the end of your stitch, back-stitch again. This is what the hem will look like on the correct side of the garment:
This is what the hem will look like on the backside of the garment. Of course you will use the same color thread. I used different colors for the sake of the demo.
This finish can be used on necklines, armholes, sleeves, hems at the bottom of shirts, dresses, skirts etc. In this case, you will be sewing in the round. I recommend backstitching at the start and end regardless of what you are hemming. Always try the hem on scrap fabric before hemming your garment because all fabrics are different and you might need to adjust your tension accordingly.
I used this technique to hem the neckline, sleeves and bottom of this top:
To see some garments I have hemmed using this technique, click HERE or HERE. To see other sewing tutorials, click HERE. You can find a stretch twin needle HERE.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. The twin needle is also used on woven fabrics as a decorative stitch. The same steps above would apply to a woven using a non stretch needle. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I will be doing more tutorials in the near future, so please subscribe to my blog if you are interested. Also, please let me know what other topics/ tutorials you would find helpful.
See you soon!! Happy Sewing!