Over the past few weeks, I’ve had tons of fun sewing up some gorgeous baby-grow samples for a startup children’s wear brand; the brand, Magnet Mouse, launched at Little Fashion Week in Brussels this weekend so it was a little bit of a mad rush to get everything ready in time. A few full on days of sewing and thankfully, all the little outfits were ready in time for fittings and photo shoots before the show.
Now, usually when I’m sewing, the big guns come out. My mums trusty industrial lockstitch machine (which she’s had since way before I was born), is the man for the job – it’s amazing! The only issue I have is that it’s massive & because of this, it’s kind of ended up sitting in the hallway of our house. Perfect placement – if you enjoy working in chaos, being shoved past & questioned about what you’re sewing every time the doorbell rings. Surprisingly, I don’t.
Because of the fastenings for these ‘grows, I had no other option but to use my good old domestic machine (a slight welcome relief; no craziness to deal with while I try to stitch in a straight line…!).
This little machine of mine has been with me since my uni days, and we have been through thick and thin together (literally!). Turns out my domestic machine doesn’t like the idea of trying to sew through 3 layers of leather. Shocking, right?!
Because of this domestic abuse (ha, see what I did there?), I called upon big sis and borrowed her machine for a while. This worked out pretty well – her sewing machine is a Janome 1722d, she’s had it for a good few years too and it’s pretty sturdy. And no, I didn’t attempt the leather trick with her machine. The sewing went exceedingly well. I got everything done, bar the finishing seams, which I figured I’d leave till the end and do all in one go. All in all, I had around 18 little outfits to get done.
Now the snazzy thing about these domestic machines, is the choice of stitches. I can do zig zags (never needed to do a zig zag stitch in my life) or a stitch that looks like a bunch of sideways mountains (never needed this one either). But most importantly I can do twin needle stitching – a seam with two rows of stitching parallel to each other in one go, with a zigzag stitch on the back to allow for stretch. It’s the same stitch you’d have on the hem of a T-shirt and is great for jersey fabrics. Perfect!
All excited about finishing off the garments with the twin stitching, I set up the machine and off I went. After successfully finishing around 12 of the garments, I started having troubles. My twin needle stitching was looking more like one row of stitching and a piece of thread hanging next to it. A few tweaks of the tension, adjusting the threads and bobbin later, I was still having major issues. To the point where my machine and I were about to have a major falling out – with it falling directly out of a window.
I did some research online and came across a few forums, blogs and general guidelines for twin needle stitching. All of which I tried; and all of which failed. (For those who want to try a bit of twin needling, the list of websites I found are listed at the end of this post). Eventually after some annoying unpicking and re-stitching, I managed to finish off the last few garments.
Seeing as the machines I was using were pretty old (& maybe slightly abused, ahem!), I put the fact that the twin needle didn’t work that well down to the age. Feeling the need to replace my dying machine, I went out and got a shiny new one, a cute little Brother one! Now I was excited again. My days of twin needle stitching shall continue with an abundance of speed, joy and I shall live happily ever after.
This did not happen. Turns out my new machine doesn’t like twin needles either. I’d like to say that I’m ok with this….
But instead I shall plead for some advice from my fellow seamstresses! If you have ever tried sewing with twin needles and have worked out a way to eliminate the slipped stitches and tension problems, please, please, please tell me the solution! I shall be eternally grateful and pay for advice in the form of double chocolate cookies or wheat-free brownies….!
Twin needle stitching relevant links & tips-