Can You Use A Twin Needle On Any Sewing Machine


Twin needles are an incredibly useful tool for achieving a professional look on fabric. Not only do they provide a versatile and unique aesthetic, but they can also save you valuable time and energy. Though twin needles are incredibly popular amongst more seasoned sewers, many people are unaware of the myriad of uses of this helpful tool. In this article, we will discuss if you can use a twin needle on any type of sewing machine and explore the different types available.

The Basics

Twin needles are a tool designed to simultaneously sew two lines of stitches side by side. Twin needles come in a variety of sizes and are typically paired with medium or heavyweight thread, allowing sewers to create patterns such as satin stitch, pintuck, and heirloom seams.

The main advantage of using a twin needle is speed. Since you can create two perfect lines of stitching with one pass, it can cut down on the time required to sew the same pattern multiple times using a single stitch. Additionally, twin needles can help with even stitch placement since the two rows of stitching act as a guide.

However, not every sewing machine is capable of using two needles. Before you can use a twin needle, you must check if your sewing machine is compatible. There are a few factors you should consider when determining if a twin needle will work with your machine, including the shank, needle bar, and the needle plate.

The Shank

The shank is the top portion of the needle and fits into the hook area of the machine. Twin needles have a divided shank whereas single needles have a single section. Therefore, if your machine is designed to hold singular needles, a twin needle may not fit.

If you have an old sewing machine, you may run into this dilemma. Many older sewing machines designed prior to the 1990s are not designed to accept a twin needle. There may be some exceptions, but it’s best to research your particular machine before making any assumptions.

Fortunately, newer machines from major sewing machine brands like Singer, Brother, and Janome are more likely to be compatible with twin needles.

The Needle Bar and Needle Plate

The needle bar is the rod the needles move up and down on. The needle plate is the metal plate that covers the needle bar and helps guide the needles into the fabric.

The needle bar and needle plate on a twin needle require more clearance than a single needle as there are two needles instead of one. This means that if the needle bar and needle plate on your machine are not wide enough to accommodate two needles side by side, it will not be compatible with a twin needle.

It’s important to remember that even if your machine does have a wide enough needle bar and needle plate for two needles, it may not be compatible with a larger twin needle which is often necessary to create a wider stitch width.

The Types of Twin Needles

Twin needles come in a variety of sizes and types, so it’s important to select the right one for your project. There are two types of twin needles: narrow twin needles and wide twin needles. Narrow twin needles have a spacing of 2.5 to 4 millimeters, while wide twin needles have a spacing of 5 to 7 millimeters.

Narrow twin needles will usually be fine for fabrics like jersey, voile, and chiffon, while wide twin needles are better suited for heavier fabrics like denim, corduroy, and velvet.

If you’re in doubt about which size to use for a particular project, it’s best to opt for the narrow twin needle and work your way up to the widest. But if you’re unsure of which twin needle to choose, it’s best to consult your user’s manual to ensure compatibility.

Tips on Using Twin Needles

Now that you’ve determined if your machine can use a twin needle and you’ve selected the right kind for the project, it’s time to start sewing. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your twin needle:

  • Make sure you’re using a medium or heavyweight thread as lighter threads can easily break.
  • Always check you’ve got the right size needle for the job; thicker and denser fabrics may require a stronger needle.
  • Adjust the tension on the upper thread until it is just right, as it’s important to have the right tension for neat stitching.
  • If your machine does not have a twin needle setting, you can create a makeshift twin needle by chaining two standard needles together.
  • Start off using a low stitch length and reduce the length as necessary.

New Possibilities with a Twin Needle

Using a twin needle on compatible sewing machines can bring a new level of efficient stitching and unique patterns to your sewing. When you’re armed with the knowledge of how to use a twin needle properly, you can expand the capabilities and possibilities of your machine and take your projects to the next level.


Using a twin needle on your sewing machine can provide a beautiful and professional look to your fabric. If you have a compatible machine, it’s well worth researching which type and size is necessary for your project. With the proper twin needle in place and knowledge of its potential, you should be able to create stunning projects in no time at all.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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