Photo Challenges
Comments 56


One of the things I’ve yet to master…… The twin needle!  I’ve had success on scraps of fabric when practising, but it’s the threading of the needles that I struggle with.  I’d rather re-thread my overlocker! 

Every time I give it a go I can’t make the 2 spools behave nicely and generally the  in the seconds one jerks and snaps the thread. I have read the instruction manual 17 times and made several on observations on You Tube, but no no avail. 

If you would like to add a link below, or any words of wisdom they would be greatly appreciated. 

Feature photo (because as usual I am unable to just share one photo): 

Does anyone else keep all their sample stitches when trying something new?

Head over to Wild Daffodilโ€™s blog where sheโ€™s joined forces with  3 other lovely bloggers whoโ€™ve created this weekly challenge. 

This entry was posted in: Photo Challenges


I sew and play golf. I blog about my sewing as I don't think you'd want to read about my golf. It's bad enough watching it on telly! Contact me via email -


    • I know, it’s crazy! I find it easier to sew 2 separate rows, but would like the stretchiness of the twin needle now and again. Maybe I should just buy a cover stitch machine! ๐Ÿ˜€

  1. I must admit that, apart from my usual trick of not keeping the stitching in a straight line, I don’t have any trouble with using the twin needle on my machine. I have taken to winding a bobbin with the second thread and running it off from the bobbin winder (rather than using a second spool holder) holding both threads together while threading up as you normally would – until you actually get to the needles obviously. All machines are different though – I have a Janome – but if you would like to come and thread my overlocker, I’ll come and thread your double needle.

    • It’s a deal…..where’s my passport!?
      I might try using a winding a bobbins for my second thread, as when I’ve done it before I’ve used a full spool and it just doesn’t run smooth. Mines a Janome, I might try using the bobbin winder too. Thankyou!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. I would so like to give out words of wisdom, but I’m afraid the twin needle has totally defeated me. So much so in fact that two years ago I went out and bought a coverstitch machine – just to show the twin needle what’s what! Ha!!!

  3. Hi on my Bernina the first thread goes to the right of the tension disc and the second to the left of the disc. Coverstitch sounds good though. Good luck K xXx

    • Not heard of difference tension discs ๐Ÿ˜ณ โ€ฆcover stitch does sound best, might have to wait til my birthday in October

  4. Totally befuddled by mine too, so will look forward to reading the comments on this. Can’t even work out how to thread mine… Oh, and you probably know how much I love my overlocker. So, so worth getting!

  5. Faaar be it from me to discourage any useful equipment in the sewing room! โœ‚๏ธ โœ‚๏ธ
    I see an excuse… er, challenge for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thereโ€™s a quilt shop nearby, and they sell Janome. Will ask for a demo, if possible on โ€œyourโ€ machine…..
    My double needle efforts on Bernie have only been once on fairly heavy cotton knit, for the orange renfrew. My probs were threading those double needles & getting the shank into place. Seemed to sew ok after that. Havenโ€™t braved it since. Or re-threading serger, come to that.
    (nothing from postie, luv… ๐Ÿ˜ข)

    • Oh yes! for going for a demonstration and oh no m! to the failure of postie putting a smile on your face! My parcel arrived today when I was at work. I’ve to pick it up from the sorting office and have a customs charge to pay!! Hope you don’t get one of those from my parcel!! x

      • Goodness, what’s in your parcel!? Still have yours here, ’cause haven’t got to post office yet. Will make sure you don’t pay customs & might split into 2 parcels to make certain. Sending you an email anon~

  6. I love my twinneedle! My machine is only about 5 years old. My old singer would never let me sew stretch fabrics or use the twinneedle! On my machine, a Bernina, I use a normal thread, and a spool for the second top thread. I pull and thread both of the threads together, it seems to make no difference if they get twisted and it doesn’t matter which thread goes through which needle eye!? Could it possibly be that you’re over thinking it and making it more difficult than it could be!! I wish you luck with it, because once conquered its a great sewing technique!

    • You’re probably right, need to just step back and try again. The second spool just wouldn’t release smoothly. Will go back to basics and have another go.
      Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  7. I have used a twin needle a few times. I also just pull both threads through at the same time and it works fine. I have done this on my Viking. I get frustrated thou because I seem to forget that I shouldn’t do a back stitch and break the needles every time. Ugh! Do you have an extra spindle to put your second spool of thread on? Just curious if I am understanding correctly. And I also vote for the new cover stitch machine. Been thinking of one for myself too. My Bernina overlock is convertible but, I’ve never tried it.

    • You need to dig your instruction book out, and give it a go. You never know, it might even be life changing! I do have an extra spindle, it’s upright whereas the maiming is horizontal. It’s the upright one that just won’t run smoothly. If I release the thread about a metre at a time and just have it hanging at the front of the machine it works. But there must be a better way!

  8. Your stitches look pretty good to me, but I do feel your pain. Wouldn’t a coverstitch machine make it feel all better though?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Hi Ali
    I have a Janome (XL601) & have struggled with the twin needle but think I’ve finally mastered it, I’ve only used it on jersey/ stretch fabric, yours looks like woven, used as a decorative top stitch, the ones on your feature photo on the left look fine, but it looks as though there’s a bit of tunneling on the ones to the right, which could be a tension issue, the thing is all fabric will react differently so you need to practice on a scrap of fabric that you’ll be using. Deby at so-sew-easy has a great little video, but again on stretch, (she’s got a really good facebook page too, if you join someone there will be sure to help you).
    My best tips are: put your second thread on the spare upright holder, winding in the opposite direction to the horizontal one, thread both through the machine together, separate at the needle, only the left goes through the guide, leave the right out of the guide. Increase the stitch length to 3 or 4, sew SLOWLY, tighten tension to 4 or 5, if you can, decrease the pressure on the presser foot, (I can’t). If stitching stretch use ballpoint needles and a fusible stay tape.
    Good luck, keep watching the YouTube videos, something will work but if all else fails, you’ve plenty of time to get that cover-stitch machine for your birthday.

    P.S went to Fabworks yesterday & it looks as though they’ve got loads of new stock in, I’ve left some for you lot on Saturday!

    • Thanks, I’ll have a twiddle with the tension next time I’m feeling sane enough to give it another try. I usually just leave it in auto. I can’t have my threads in the opposite direction unless I put them in the horizontal one together (I’ve tried) because my extra fool holder is vertical. It’s just too baffling!
      You should join us tomorrow if you’re local – lots of ladies talking sewing, you don’t need to buy anything else if you’ve already been this week! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      • I can’t go into that place & not buy anything! I went for a zip, which they didn’t have in my length, some grossgrain ribbon – got about 8 metres for ยฃ1, twill tape 10p a metre & cording also 10 p a metre, but also came out with a metre & half of their fabric of the week, so ended up spending nearly a tenner, which was very good for me as I always end up rooting in the remnants and getting all sorts of random stuff, mainly shirting, it’s good for practicing on! I then went up to the ยฃ1 a yard chap (Roger) and spent ยฃ15 with him – still I’m tempted to go, as despite living in the area all my life I’ve no idea where Lucky fashions is. I might join your next one if you’re planning a mid week one, it might be a bit quieter!
        Have Fab day x

        • Lucky fashions is just around the corner from Roger. Come out of his shop, turn left, and you’ll see it on your left!! It’s only open Wednesday and Saturday. Might try and squeeze in the ยฃ1 a yard shop tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

          • Ok thanks I’ll have a look next time I’m in town. Many people slate Dewsbury, but it’s a a real gem for sewists, you could be their next ambassador!

            • Haha, my mum said something similar when I posted last year – Dewsbury in lovely sunshine looks so much better on the photos. ๐ŸŒž

  10. Fiona M says

    Good advice from Sam above, to have the threads coming off their reels in opposite directions, it helps stop them tangling, and sew slowly.
    However, I can promise you that you will not regret investing in a cover stitch machine!

  11. I’ve never got it to work on an actual garment either although produced nice stitches on the sample.
    I’m going to try Sam’s advice of leaving the right needle thread out of the guide.
    I would love to conquer this for hemming my stretch fabrics. The zig zag is is too homemade for my likely but I’m stuck with it.
    Maybe we need a cooperative coverstitch?!!!!!
    See you tomorrow!!!

    • Know what you mean, even with a perfect match of thread it’s still not as good as a twin.
      A cooperative cover stitch could work, or you buy one and I’ll move in! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  12. Oh no, you are all worrying me now, my plan for tomorrow is to go and buy a twin ballpoint needle to top stitch a tunic I am making. Thought it was going to be easy!

    • You might be lucky! I think I’m just jinxed, but looking st the comments maybe you should just go buy a cover stitch machine! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  13. Dee Weaver says

    I had the same problem with a twin needle, and gave up in the end. But I
    absolutely LOVE my coverstitcher; it’s a Janome, same as Fiona’s but I can’t remember the exact number… Fiona will know!
    Have a great day tomorrow, and sorry I can join you all X

  14. I tend to use a bobbin on the bobbin winder for the second thread (only just discovered recently that this machine has a sprocket thingy that slots in to hold a second spool). I have read (can’t remember where) that the threads should unwind in opposite directions, no idea why, but I try and do that. The tension discs tend to be inside the machine these days, if you have a machine where you get to choose try apparently you should thread the different threads through different discs (I think they’re normally in pairs) but I don’t have that option on my easy thread machine. If you have a little hookey thing just above the needle as a last step before threading you’re only supposed to put one of the threads through this (I only discovered the little hookie thing on my machine when I found this advice out and to be honest it seems to work better if I ignore it). Top tip on threading needles, put a spare finger against the needle on the wrong side, behind the hole, it’ll help you see what you’re aiming for (small tip I picked up from Tilly and the Buttons, makes a big difference). Also, play around with your settings, I normally stitch at a longer stitch length and loosen the tension dial slightly. Hope that helps. That said, I still don’t find the twin needle stitching that stretchy, it still has a tendancy to Pop when used on t shirts. Which is making me consider a coverstitch but apart from the cost I’d really need to have a good tidy up first to find space for it!

  15. Pingback: Photo Challenge: STITCH review | Wild Daffodil

  16. springystitches says

    Both spools of thread go through the machine together on my brother. It doesn’t seem to matter if they get twisted up which makes things nice and simple! I hope you manage to master it soon!

    • Thanks, I think i will now after reading all the advice. It’s all or nothing with the twin needle by the sounds of it. They either love it or hate it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Pingback: Brooklyn Preparation and a BIG ‘Thankyou’ | T H I M B E R L I N A

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s