How to Sew a Coverstitch With a Twin Needle & Sewing Machine




Army Vet. I love learning & being creative.
If you're an avid sewer and want your creations to have a more professional seam - then learning how to sew with a twin needle is very helpful. Until recently, I had no idea my sewing machine was capable of sewing beautiful coverstitches with a twin needle. If you plan on sewing knits, swimwear or other stretchy material, this technique will provide you with a seam that has elasticity and looks professional!

  • A sewing machine capable of twin-needle stitches (refer to your manual - as many sewing machines have this feature)
  • Thread, scissors and material
  • Extra Spool Pin
  • Twin Needle - A stretch twin needle is recommended
  • *wooly nylon thread - optional

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Step 1: Change Presser Foot & Needle

The first thing you should do is change out your standard needle and replace it with your twin needle. I loosened the standard needle with a small flat-head screwdriver. Once removed, I replaced it with the twin needle.

Next, remove your presser foot. You'll need to replace it with a zigzag foot. My zigzag foot came with my machine when I purchased it. If you aren't sure if you have one, please check your manual. To change a presser foot, my machine has a little button to push to remove/replace it.

Step 2: Threading Properly

The last thing to do is add the extra spool pin and thread. Please note, your machine might have a different method of threading and preparing to sew with a twin needle. So, please check your manual just in case. On my sewing machine, this is the way it works.

I put the extra spool pin in it's slot (see image). Then I thread the normal spool of thread as I would normally. But, be sure to have the thread going around the spool in a clockwise direction. Then, when you get that strand of thread all the way down to the needles, you'll want to put this behind the needle bar thread guide. This is the same as if you were threading your normal needle. But, then pull the thread under and insert into the right needle. Then, pull the thread through the needle but not underneath the presser foot as you normally would.

Next, place the second spool of thread on the extra side spool pin. Make sure the thread is also going in the same direction (clockwise) as the other one. Bring it through the same as the other thread until you get near the needle. Do not put this one behind the needle bar thread guide - rather just thread the left needle. Take the excess thread and set it with the other thread. Do not put this underneath the presser foot as you would if you were sewing normally. The bottom bobbin thread should be the same as you normally have it.
You're almost ready to begin sewing with this!

Step 3: Big Warning Before You Sew With Your Twin Needle

Now you're ready to sew with your twin needle and everything is in place and ready to go. But, be very careful that you check your manual so you know what types of stitches your twin needle is capable of producing. I prefer to do a standard straight stitch (this will produce the coverstitch). When you flip this over after doing that stitch, you'll see that underneath it is a beautiful zigzag ladder-like stitch. It looks professional - just like someone who's used a serger or coverstitch machine to produce. It's a strong, yet flexible stitch. It works great for sewing clothing.

Just be careful you choose the proper stitch. I made the mistake (once) of not switching my stitch after turning on my machine - and all it took was one time and both needles were broken instantly. They hit the presser foot because I didn't change the stitch to one that was moved over to the right a bit. It was very frustrating because I was working on something important and had to drive out to the fabric store for an extra twin needle!

When sewing, take your time. Test out your settings before sewing on the final product. Also, if you want a lot more elasticity on your fabric seam - you may want to buy some wooly nylon thread and use that as your bobbin thread. Also, be careful with the tension your machine is set at - it's recommended to loosen that when sewing with a twin needle to produce a coverstitch.

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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Thank you for this Instructable. This certainly is better than investing in a dedicated cover stitch machine.


    4 years ago

    I have had my Brother 6000i for 5 years and recently bought the Brother 1034d serger with all intents and purposes of sewing the crap out of some knits. Much to my dismay, while watching the instructional dvds and flipping back and forth through the manuals I discovered the one thing I was extremely excited about for sewing knit hems, my new serger could not do. The famed cover stitch. ? Well thank goodness I found you! We've got the same machine and I already have a twin (and triplet) needle! Because I looked to see how much I'd have to spend on a cover stitch machine (or a serger that can convert to a cover stitch) and IT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN! Thanks for sharing love!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Yay! So happy Miss Hajj if this can help you out! I also love my brother and also got the same serger! I LOVE IT! I hope this helps and let me know if you have any issues!


    4 years ago

    I did it. Your notes worked perfectly!!! Thank you. I used a zigzag stitch for the waistband of a swimsuit and it still worked.


    4 years ago

    I have the same machine. Can you tell me exactly what setting you used please. I have been searching for this info everywhere u are a godsend

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Makeema! I will try to help! I wrote myself some details about this stitch method on a little notecard a long time ago.
    So I hope I wrote down enough details to help you. I haven't done this in a long time because I caved in and bought a serger too. Basically, in my notes - I wrote that I used the "J" zigzag presser foot. And, that the stitch for this must be less than 5mm for it to work well and also that the stitches on this machine that can be used are 1, 3, 4 and 5. I also wrote if you use 3, 4 or 5 on the stitch options - do NOT reverse. I hope this might help a little. If I have any extra time I could test it out and let you know...:)

    Thank you thank you THANK you!! I have used a twin needle many times with my CS-6000i and the tension is NEVER right. I can't figure it out, and it's been driving me nuts (I always get the "tunnel" effect because my bobbin thread is too tight - even with wooly nylon). I will try the suggestions you've listed here - I'm so excited that you have the same machine as me and you get BEAUTIFUL stitches!! Thank you again!!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I was trying to figure out if I need to buy a cover stitch machine. Apparently not as my Bernina will take a twin needle. I can't wait to try this.


    We have the same sewing machine. I hadn't worked up the nerve to start using the twin needle but this helps. You're a courageous crafter.

    1 reply

    Really? That's awesome - it is the best sewing machine I've ever used. I love Brother brand. You should try this are a courageous crafter too..I love your stuff. :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have the exact same machine (courtesy of instructables!) and can't wait to try this.

    Very informative. Great ible!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! :) This sewing machine is the best - by the way! Couldn't live without it! :)