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Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Lady Wears Trousers: Mystery of the Double Needle

 I knew what twin needles did and I loved the look of the belt loops on  commercial jeans (as well as their use to embellish other bits of jean'ery).  But for some reason, it never occurred to me that I would learn how to sew with a twin needle. That skill was for a sewist who really knew how to sew well, somebody who had taken sewing classes.

Do you ever find yourself creating mental blocks like that without realizing it? Apparently I was able to pass Calculus (and that as a teenager), hold down professional work at a young age, and bear and raise a child but a twin needle was beyond me.

Well no more.

I was inspired by the desire for classy belt loops. During my pants construction class, I was told a few secrets concerning the wiley twin needle. They aren't that all secret.

While using the double needle
I sat this thread holder behind my machine
1. Though my machine doesn't have a spot for the  two spools of thread needed to run through the two different needles, there are a variety of ways to mount them. One is an external thread holder. I'm sorry I don't know what they are called. I bought mine for less than $20.00 at a Viking dealer.  It looks like this.

When I watched Lynda Maynard, who taught my Pants Construction Class, use her double needle, I learned that you simply run the thread from both spools of thread along the same standard thread channels. They don't get tangled or unhappy running together. I was pleased to realize that I wasn't the only student who found the whole deal unfamiliar. Even the lady who has never bought a commercial pattern, because she just whips up her own, was surprised by the thread dancing merrily together.

2. Another cool thing about the twin needle, that I learned from Lynda, is that the back side of double needling makes a zig zag stitch. So, I can count on that stitch to cover up any rough edges on the back side of what I'm sewing.

3. With the magic of the twin needle, I can simple put wrong sides together on a strip of fabric to make my belt loops, zig zag the long edge, then press the resulting tube with this external seam running down the middle. Entonces, I run a line of twin needling down the non-seamed side and ¡Qué bien!  a strip ready to be cut into belt loops.

Belt Loop Strip, Ready to Go!

Here's the front side of the twin needle's work
I sewed this sample on a piece of crinole, which is a
slightly sheer material. So the back stitches show a little bit
Here's the back side of the double needle's work
Notice the zig zag

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