Can You Use a Double Needle on Any Sewing Machine?

Image of a twin needle, but Can You Use a Double Needle on Any Sewing MachineTwin needle, also known as the double needle, remains one of the most disused accessories amongst the professionals and DIYers in the sewing industry. The fear of changing the needle and using the double needle explains why many avoid this fantastic accessory. It comes with so much versatility; one question, however, is, can you use a double needle on any sewing machine?

You can only use a double needle on sewing machines that can sew both zig zag and straight stitches. If a sewing machine sews only straight stitches, you must have a foot with a wide enough opening; otherwise, you cannot use a double needle.

Double needles are 2 needles joined with one shank at the top. As long as you are confident about your sewing knits and have a record of outstanding results, this needle will open your world to a whole new dimension. Other uses of this needle include pin tucking plus other decorative roles in woven fabrics.

If you have taken a keen look at most of the t-shirts that you have worn over the years, you might have noticed 2 neat, parallel rows of stitching on sleeves the bottom hem, if you have never thought of checking that, please do now. As much as these stitches on your t-shirts are done using a commercial cover stitch machine, using a double needle and your regular sewing machine can give you nearly identical stitches!

How To Sew Using a Double Needle

A double needle (also, twin needle) is a fantastic tool for sewing knit garments. You can use it for pant leg hem, top, sleeves, and the making of skirts. You will find the double-needle stitch much more flexible compared to a regular straight stitch. It, therefore, means that no popped threads when you unintentionally stretch the hem too much.

In most cases, this tool is for hems and not for sewing the seams. Below are some of the essential tips that will help you sew stretch fabrics (seams included).

I’m going to guide you through the steps of sewing using a double needle and any other sewing machine that can make zig-zag stitches.

Steps to Sewing a Professional Double-Needle Hem

If you serge the edge first, you’ll end up with a finished hem that is very similar to a coverstitch hem. However, serging might not even be necessary considering that knit fabrics do wear out on the edge.

  • Step One: Prepare Your Edge

If you like, you can serge the bottom and then press the hem as you wish.

  • Step Two: Prepare Your Sewing Machine

In this step, you should have two spools of thread plus two spool holders. If your sewing machine has no two spool holders by chance, you can tape a straw vertically next to the first spool holders; this helps you create a temporary one. Alternatively, a free-standing thread holder could be of great use.

Have a twin needle installed in your sewing machine, then thread the machine, as usual, using the first spool of thread, then insert it into the needle on the right.

After inserting the first spool, thread the second spool as you did in the first case. Insert the second thread into the needle on the left.

Step Three: Test Your Stitches on a Scrap of Fabric

Go for a straight stitch. I prefer lengthening my stitch to 3 for knit fabrics. Backstitching is okay if with a twin needle. You must not necessarily stretch your fabric as you go.

Step Four: Sew Your Double Needle Hem.

All you need to do at this point is to press the hem on fabric and sew it strategically.

What Sizes Do Double Needles Come In?

The twin needles are measured using two numbers. The first number represents the distance between the two needles measured in metrics like 2.0mm, 2.5mm, 3.0mm, 4.0mm, etc. The second number does represent the size of both the needles, such as size 80, etc. So if placed together in a package, you’ll have a reading like 2.0/80. You interpret such a reading as 2 millimeters wide with each needle’s size being 80.

Types of Twin Needle

The twin needles or double needles are compatible with most sewing machines brands and comes with 2 needles attached to the one shank. You will likely get only one twin needle in a package; that’s why you need to make your choice wisely and treat it well.

Here are the popular types of twin needles that you’ll likely interact with during your sewing projects:

  • Stretch Twin Needle

This type of twin needle comes with a smaller rounded tip. It is recommended that you use it for highly elastic fabrics such as scuba and spandex.

  • Ballpoint Twin Needle

It’s the best twin needle for all the other knit fabrics.

  • Universal Twin Needle

The universal twin needles are general purpose needles. They are the most common ones in the weaving of fabrics and other forms of knits. These needles bear a slightly rounded tip such that it slips through the weave of knits with ease while remaining sharp to handle the woven fabrics.

  • Embroidery Twin Needle

You can tell an embroidery twin needle by its enlarged groove and eye; such features make them perfect for making decorative stitches.

The embroidery of materials usually happens at a higher speed, unlike regular sewing. This sewing accessory has a coating with larger eyes, which allows for a smooth thread flow at higher speeds. You can use this type of twin needles with different embroidery threads – cotton, rayon, polyester, etc.

  • Double Hemstitch Twin Needle

It’s a product of Schmetz – Usually, one is a wing needle while the other is a regular needle on a crossbar from one shaft. This needle type is largely used for decorative stitching on fabrics that are tightly woven.

  • Denim Twin Needle

If you compare this twin needle for denim with a double universal needle, you will realize that the former comes with a sharp, strong point that penetrates dense fabrics with ease.

Its sharp tip can penetrate virtually any type and multiple layers of thick material at a higher speed. Additionally, the twin needle for the jeans must be of 100 sizes. This needle size is sharp and thick enough to stitch denim fabric with ease. It is also great for topstitching woven fabrics.


Among other things that you need to know about a twin needle is the width. The width of a twin needle refers to the spacing of your two needles and stitches. It’s quite hard to find a twin needle that is too wide to fit down past the sewing plate. However, it does happen, and it is dependent on the type of your sewing machine and the presser foot. 


If you are a professional or DIYer sewing, you know that the double needle comes with many uses. They are one of the essential accessories for your sewing machines depending on the project at hand. One question, however, is…

Can You Use a Double Needle on Any Sewing Machine?

The simple answer is yes, mostly if your sewing machine can sew both zigzag and straight stitches. If your sewing machine sews only straight stitches, you cannot use a double needle.

So, if you intend to use this kind of needle at some point in your sewing projects, ensure that you have the right sewing machine to handle this needle type.

I hope you found this article helpful for your different sewing projects and especially regarding the use of double needles. If you have a question, concern, or any form of suggestion, don’t hesitate to share it with me in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment