Twin needle light bulb moment

You know how twin needle is supposed to mimic cover stitch & give you stretchy hem with just a sewing machine? Well I’ve never managed to get it to work. Not only do mine come out with an ugly ridge between the two rows of stitches they were never stretchy enough either.

But with my failed mock ribbing experiment came an eureka moment for my twin needle stitching. The Threads article on mock ribbing showed examples of how changing tension affects the twin needle stitching. Loose tension makes the ridge go away. Now I’m sure I’ve tried this before but ruled it out because it also make the zigzag of the bobbin thread disappear. But this time I had left long starting & ending thread tails, & stretched the sample afterward to see how much it’ll stretch. The thread tails got pulled in & gave me a bit more zigzag in the bobbin thread. Best of all the sample then stretched as much as the fabric would stretch!


Now I’m not sure if this is how you’re suppose to sew it. The loose tension & bobbin thread that pulls easily worry me a bit. Would it be strong enough? But I reckon that as long as I secure the ends this properly stretchy hem surely must hold better than less stretchy ones that pop. Maybe it’s like willow in the wind – wimpy looking but in fact holds up better for going with the flow?

Anyway, I’ve tried it on the Crouching Batwing Hidden Python top. To make stretching in the bobbin thread easier I sewed the hem in two halves leaving  thread tails at both side seams. Maybe one day I’ll feel deserving of a serger with cover stitch (separate machine is not an option in my cramped home). For now I’ll give this new trick a few more chance to prove itself. What about you? What’s your favorite way to sew a stretchy hem?

4 comments on “Twin needle light bulb moment

    • Thanks for the link! I have tried wooly nylon in the bobbin before but it didn’t work as I thought it would – it stayed stretched out. Maybe the hand winding onto the bobbin is key. I might have been lazy and done it on the machine as usual. Must try again.

      I also find it interesting that she adds bust darts in all her T-shirt patterns. RTW has so conditioned me to think that T-shirts in stretchy fabrics shouldn’t need bust darts that I still try despite these sewing pattern experts’ advice and my recent experiment’s results }:-)

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