Quilting With A Double Needle

How to quilt with a double needle

Today is a fun little post with a new idea! You may have seen the quilting detail in my Baby Doll Quilt pattern, and I’d love to share this new idea with you today. And don’t forget, you can get the Baby Doll Quilt pattern for free in my shop! Now, onto quilting…

A few months at my Modern Quilt Guild meeting, my friend, L, showed off her ___ bag by ___ designer. I fell in love with this bag and especially fell in love with the quilted detail on the top. I wondered what it might look like to quilt with a double needle, so I gave it a try on my baby doll quilt…my little niece, G, wouldn’t mind an experiment if it went wrong!ย 

And it went absolutely right! I can’t wait to try this design on a larger quilt! It’s also a really quick and simple way to quilt on your home sewing machine.

How To Quilt With A Double Needle

A few notes

  1. If you’re not familiar or have never used a double needle, don’t count yourself out! There are not really any crazy requirements or equipment needed. You just need two spools of the same-colored thread and a double needle.
  2. When you sew with a double needle, you’ll obviously have two straight, perpendicular stitches on the top of your fabric. The back will look like a zig-zag stitch. If you aren’t a big fan of that look on the back of your quilt, then maybe this isn’t the technique for you. Personally, I think it’s a cute way to mix things up!
Quilting with a double needle tutorial

How To Thread a Double Needle

This is not an extensive threading guide for double needles, but I can certainly give you the gist. Your sewing machine manual is always the best place for guidance on these sorts of projects.

quilted baby doll quilt

First, remove your single needle and attach the double needle. Everything should work just like it does for your single needle. Pull up your bobbin thread if it isn’t already.

Then, thread your sewing machine like you typically would. When you get to the needle, put the thread through the right needle eye.

Note: Always check your sewing machine manual for exact instructions on how to thread your specific machine!

Now comes the fun part! Typically, you’ll have a spot on your sewing machine for a second spool of thread. Secure your second spool there and thread the machine, following the lines of the first thread. I definitely suggest pulling out a bunch of thread before you start threading so that you don’t need to pull from the spool (it gets things tangled if you’re tugging on one thread and not the other). Thread through the left needle.

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard part! Now check that your foot is wide enough to accommodate two needles and do a test run on a scrap piece of fabric (I used a walking foot since I was going through several layers). Your stitches on top should be nice and even and the back side should be a zig-zag. If everything looks good, you’re ready to go!

Quilting With a Double Needle

For larger projects, you might want to draw out your lines with disappearing pen beforehand. Since my quilt was so mini, I chose to just go for it and see what happened! I was thrilled with the results.

Once you have a plan, just place your quilt on the machine with batting and backing basted on (I like spray basting best), and start sewing! I don’t bother to backstitch, I just start before the edge of the quilt top starts.

a modern quilt stitch

Now that you’re finished quilting, it’s time for binding! For help with binding, make sure to check out my helpful tutorial on how to bind a quilt.

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  1. This is a great idea. I have never used my double needles. I was wondering if there is a reason you couldn’t use two different colors of thread? I think that extra pop of color would be fun.

    Thank you for the idea.

  2. Rachel, thanks so much for the tutorial. Just a few days ago someone was singing the praises of sewing with a double needle. She said it was easy, and thanks to your explanation, I believe her.
    I hadn’t thought of the zigzag on the back, but, of course, that’s what would happen with a single bobbin.
    I’ll keep this in mind next time a top-stitch is required. And I have a little doll quilt ready to assemble it will be perfect for.

    • Hi Jan,

      I was really intimidated to use the double needle at first, but as soon as I had a test run with it, I fell in love! I think you will too! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s just so professional looking. Thanks for your comment & let me know how it goes!

  3. I love this idea, I think it will add a little something special to the baby quilts that I love to make.

  4. I have to admit, I have never used a double needle and always wondered how it was done. Thank you for sharing and linking up with the Tips and Tutorials Festival!

  5. I have never thought to use a double needle in quilting, what an awesome idea! Thanks for the tutorial and for linking up to the Tips and Tutorials Festival!

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