Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Leggings and a twin needle experience

Another accolade to the Ottobre magazine I'm afraid. I am very impressed with these leggings. Made with stretch cotton jersey from the Ottobre 3/2009 issue and they were a cinch. I made them in size 74cm intending that they would be too big for my 10 months old, however they fit perfectly now, so any more pairs I make will be the the next size up. I have some pink cotton jersey waiting to made into leggings too. The applique flower came out a treat, it is two layers of different sized flowers embroidered together and then to one of the pant legs. I chose a slightly brighter blue for the cotton and hand embroidered it whilst watching some less than B-grade movie on television the other night. It was very rewarding.

A few months ago, I bought a twin needle from Tessuti fabrics, after it was recommended by Nichola of Nikki-shell and I love it. It gave such a clean professional finish to the edges. And it was REALLY EASY TO USE!

All you have to do is go out and get yourself a twin needle and (apparently) it will work on any machine that can do a zig zag stitch. You insert your fancy new needle as normal, then thread two threads through the machine (in exactly the same place as you would thread one). My sewing machine has a second spool holder (see pic), but if you didn't have that, you could just rig it up otherwise.
The bobbin is wound on as usual. You use a straight stitch and off you go! The top comes out as two straight parallel lines or stitching, and the bottom cotton does a zig zag (which you don't see as it is on the wrong side of the garment).
(The hubby said I should have taken the picture from an angle so you could see the threads on the needle better without the machine foot in the way. Sorry about that. He also said I should have cleared the dining table in the background too...)

The beauty of using the twin needle is that not only is it easy and looks very professional, but is also allows stretching, so the stitching will stretch with the fabric, rather than break. Another fantastic sewing gadget to add to my repertoire. In my trial attempt before doing the actual leggings, I used two random cotton colours and it looked really good so I think this would make an interesting finish for another item one day.

I've since learned a few things from a Kadiddlehopper post of using twin needles (as I am a learn as you do kind of girl, or jump in and do it, hope it works, then when it isn't perfect, do the research and find out what went wrong):
  • I should have lowered the tension to make the material lie flat between the two layers of stitching (mine is a little mounded as the tension was a bit high).
  • The two cotton spools should be positioned so they are rotating in opposite directions (although looking back at my picture, it looks like I unknowingly did this, must remember to knowingly do this again next time!)
  • I found the two threads twisted around each other every now and then at the needles. Kadiddlehopper advice was to put one thread through the thread guide (above the needle), and leave the other out. I will try this next time.
Sooz has a great and very informative post on sewing with knit fabrics (this reference is as much for me so I have a quick link to find it when I need it).

I can see more twin needle sewing in my future. My suggestion; go out and try it. I was very impressed.


  1. Nice job.
    Thinking I might just investigate a twin needle for myself!!

  2. Cute leggings! I'm in love with Ottobre myself. Thanks for the link!

  3. Nice work - I'm going to get a twin needle and have a go!

  4. The universe is giving me a message Pam. Just tonight, yes tonight, the same night I read this post, a friend was explaining the whole twin-needle sewing to me. She raved about it like you. Well I have heard the universe's message and I will buy that twin-needle. Thanks for the info.

    And your leggings, with the flower, look great.