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Thread: twin needle sewing

  1. #1
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    twin needle sewing

    My 401 manual has instructions for double needle stitching. You just use two needles. My 778 came with a twin needle and an extra thread guide for stitching, which I never used or even tried. If I remember correctly, the salesman demo'd it, though.

    A couple of questions:

    Are those needles widely available?

    Any reason a twin needle wouldn't work in a 401?

    Would it work with a walking foot?

    Is there any reason it wouldn't work if you straddled a seam on a quilt?

    Of course, I'm going to try it first on a sample. However, I'm debating going to JoAnns for a needle, since I've long ago lost the one that came with my 778. (Seems like getting dressed and going out eats up 1/2 a day, which I don't want to waste for nothing.) I also don't want to mess up my machine.

    bkay

  2. #2
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    Twin needles should work on a 401. I have used them for my Berninas and my old Elna Supermatic. I find them in stores here, and on the web, they are common. The only trick is to determine the maximum needle width for the machine in question.

  3. #3
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    Since the 401 has the needle clamp for using 2 needles, why not just do it that way? No need to get dressed lol.

    Twin needles are still made, in several sizes and widths. I have a bunch of them, the trick is figuring out which ones will fit and work in which machines as some are made different than others.

    Cari

  4. #4
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    For the regular type 705 (15x1) needle, I guess most of them should work. For the two needle clamp, the width between the needles are fixed, and it take time before you find one, if it's not with the machine. I have yet to find the double needle clamp for my Elna Supermatic. It hasn't been a problem yet, I have two different twin needles, and I haven't worn them out yet. Here's a geneneral overview of the various kinds.
    Last edited by Mickey2; 08-10-2018 at 09:32 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey2 View Post
    For the regular type 705 (15x1) needle, I guess most of them should work. For the two needle clamp, the width between the needles are fixed, and it take time before you find one, if it's not with the machine. I have yet to find the double needle clamp for my Elna Supermatic. It hasn't been a problem yet, I have two different twin needles, and I haven't worn them out yet. Here's a geneneral overview of the various kinds.
    It doesn't have a special clamp.

    bkay

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  6. #6
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    It really struggles with the load when sewing down the seam line with the batting and backing (like it's having a hard time piercing the fabric). It does pretty well in the open areas where there are no seams. Is this detrimental to the machine?

    Do you think changing to another 401 or to one of the 503s would make a difference? I used new needles, so changing needles won't help.

    The other option is to change the plan on quilting, which won't hurt anything. I just thought the twin needle thing would look good for a change.

    bkay

  7. #7
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    You are on the 401 not the 778? The thickest I have sewn with twin needles are flat felled seams, hems, and edge stitching on cotton. As far as I can remember I have mostly used sew-all weight GŁtermann (polyester) and mercerised cotton. I never got the feeling it was noticeably heavier for the machine, but I guess the needle punching will be double the work. These machines can take a bit of struggle, but it's usually seam bumps and not the long stretches of continuous stitching. I guess you would have to pull out something like a Pfaff 360 or other model with sturdy build and extra strong motor to improve on the 401. If your other 401 does the job easier, at least you know the first needs some attention. I have pushed my Bernina 730 and Elna Supermatic to their limits, and no damage to them. I don't know about the 401, but the mentioned zigzaggers sort of just stop stitching when it's too much, and it's hard to overload them in the long run.

  8. #8
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    Bkay if your needle clamp will take two needles it's not an ordinary needle clamp. Most machines only have a slot wide enough for one needle, so the clamp will only hold one.

    Cari

  9. #9
    Super Member OurWorkbench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkay View Post
    It really struggles with the load when sewing down the seam line with the batting and backing (like it's having a hard time piercing the fabric). It does pretty well in the open areas where there are no seams. Is this detrimental to the machine?

    Do you think changing to another 401 or to one of the 503s would make a difference? I used new needles, so changing needles won't help.

    The other option is to change the plan on quilting, which won't hurt anything. I just thought the twin needle thing would look good for a change.

    bkay
    It has been quite a while since I have tried twin needle sewing of any sort. You said you used new needles, but what size and are they sharps or universal? Also what kind/size of thread? I know is sounds weird, but I know it works, sometimes a smaller needle helps. Sometimes you might have to go with a topstitching needle, but I don't remember how small they go. I know you are trying to use what needles you have on hand, so topstitching needle might not be an option. It also seems like I loosened the top tension, but it looks like the instructions use a regular tension.

    Looking at the instructions it also mentions to only thread one thread through the guide before the needle.

    Do you have the Special Purpose Foot? Or are you using the General Purpose Foot?

    I know the twin needle looks good on top, but are you happy with the ZZ on the back?

    So - my suggestions would be to try with smaller needles, Special Purpose Foot, and maybe changing the tension and pressure.


    Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
    Janey & John

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OurWorkbench View Post
    It has been quite a while since I have tried twin needle sewing of any sort. You said you used new needles, but what size and are they sharps or universal? Also what kind/size of thread? I know is sounds weird, but I know it works, sometimes a smaller needle helps. Sometimes you might have to go with a topstitching needle, but I don't remember how small they go. I know you are trying to use what needles you have on hand, so topstitching needle might not be an option. It also seems like I loosened the top tension, but it looks like the instructions use a regular tension.

    Looking at the instructions it also mentions to only thread one thread through the guide before the needle.

    Do you have the Special Purpose Foot? Or are you using the General Purpose Foot?

    I know the twin needle looks good on top, but are you happy with the ZZ on the back?

    So - my suggestions would be to try with smaller needles, Special Purpose Foot, and maybe changing the tension and pressure.


    Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
    I was just using my all purpose zig zag foot. Yes, it's a sharp needle, but it's also a 14 which I can see to thread without changing glasses.

    I think the problem is the fabric I used to make the sample sandwich. It's a real dense fabric. I used it for cornerstones, backing and binding for a quilt a couple of quilts back. I thought about it yesterday after I posted. It was hard to get the needle through when I hand stitched the binding on the back.

    You're right, I'm not too fond of the look on the back. I didn't remember it did that (if I ever knew). I like the way it looks on the front, especially using a serpentine line. I'm going to pass on it for this quilt, though. I just need to come up with a new plan, now.

    Thanks for the help.

    bkay

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly View Post
    Bkay if your needle clamp will take two needles it's not an ordinary needle clamp. Most machines only have a slot wide enough for one needle, so the clamp will only hold one.

    Cari
    Cari, it worked just like the manual said - with the regular needle clamp. It took a couple of tries to get the two needles in there, side by side, though. I even got out a mirror to see if the slot was big enough to hold both needles after a couple of failed tries. I finally got them in there, though. It sewed just like it was supposed to.

    bkay

  12. #12
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    It will also do it with the double needle with one shank. I know because I did it before i read the manual and found our I could have just used 2 needles. Hehe, must have been channeling my inner dude thete.

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