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Stitch It with Twins

Click here for larger image.
Click here for larger image.

Design by Pauline Richards

Spring is awakening new ideas, and creative energy is flowing in my sewing studio. What ideas will I come up with to share with you next? With sunny days and bright flowers in the future there will be many more projects, ideas, tools and techniques to come this spring and summer.

Double your sewing fun with twin needles on your sewing machine. Combined with basic and decorative stitching, twin needles instantly transform the silk surface to make the eye-catching patches in this simple but elegant shirt. Transfer the idea to home decor and make large stitched patches or panels for table runners, place mats, pillow tops and comforters.

Finished Size

Your size


Twin-needle decorative stitching


  • Shirt or unlined jacket pattern of your choice
  • Silk, cotton or linen shirting in the yardage specified on pattern envelope plus 1/8-1/4 yard extra
  • Buttons and notions as specified on pattern envelope
  • Interfacing as listed on the pattern envelope
  • All-purpose sewing thread to match fabric
  • 2 spools rayon or polyester embroidery thread in a color slightly darker than the garment fabric
  • Bobbin thread
  • Pattern tracing cloth or tissue
  • 2mm, 3mm and 4mm size 90 twin sewing machine needles
  • Chalk marker
  • Lightweight cutaway or heat-away stabilizer
  • 1/4-inch-wide strips paper-backed fusible web
  • Bias pressing bar
  • Basic sewing tools and equipment


Project Note: Measurements for the piecing sections on the jacket fronts are for a medium size. Adjust the size of the pieced sections for smaller or larger sizes as needed to create pleasing proportions. You may also need to adjust the section sizes for a more pleasing proportion on other shirt styles and lengths.

  • Trace the shirt front onto pattern tracing cloth or tissue so you have a right and left front pattern piece. Referring to Figure 1 and the project photo, draw horizontal lines on the front pattern pieces to divide them into piecing sections. There are two horizontal lines for the right front and one line for the left front.
    Click here for larger image.
  • Trace the piecing sections onto pattern tracing cloth or tissue and add 5/8-inch-wide seam allowances to the cut edges (Figure 2). Be sure to add straight-of-grain arrows to each piece.
    Click here for larger image.
  • Working on a single layer of fabric, pin the front pattern pieces in place, aligning grain lines. Draw cutting lines 1 inch away from the seam-allowance edges around each piece. Cut out on the chalk lines. You will replace the pattern pieces and trim the pieces to size after doing the decorative twin-needle stitching on each panel.
  • Cut the back, sleeves and collar from the remaining fabric as directed in the pattern guidesheet.


  1. Insert a twin needle in your machine and thread with two spools of embroidery thread. Refer to your sewing machine manual for specific directions for using a twin needle and two spools of thread on your machine. Also read through Twin-Needle Tactics on page 125 before you begin to embellish the individual panels.
  2. Back fabric scraps with stabilizer and experiment with the decorative stitches on your sewing machine. Note the stitches and settings you like the best.
  3. Study the direction of the stitched lines in the blouse photo. Use a chalk marker to draw stitching guidelines 1 1/4 inches apart in the directions shown on each of the front sections.
  4. Back each marked fabric piece with lightweight cutaway or heat-away stabilizer. Stitch on the lines with the desired straight or decorative stitch chosen from your stitched samples.
  5. Remove the heat-away stabilizer as directed by the manufacturer or trim the excess cutaway stabilizer close to the stitching. Take care not to cut the stitches. Press each piece as needed. Reposition the pattern pieces on the stitched sections, align the grain lines and cut to size.
  6. For each front, sew the sections together, press the seams open and finish the seam edges with an appropriate edge finish.
  7. From the remaining fabric, cut three 1 1/4 x 20-inch fabric strips on the crossgrain. Fold each one in half lengthwise with wrong sides facing and press. Stitch 1/8 inch from the raw edges to create a tube from each strip. One by one, insert a bias pressing bar into a tube and press the seam open as shown in Figure 3.
    Click here for larger image.
  8. Remove the pressing bar.
    Position and apply a 1/4-inch-wide strip of paper-backed fusible web over the seam allowance on each fabric tube. Press to adhere to the tube (Figure 4).
    Click here for larger image.
  9. Remove the protective paper. Position a tube over each horizontal seam on the fronts and fuse in place following the manufacturer’s directions. Stitch close to both edges of each tube.
  10. Complete the shirt following the pattern guidesheet directions.

Copyright © 2007 Easy Embellishments for Creative Sewing, DRG. All rights reserved.

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