Readers Questions – 2



Thank you SO much to everyone who took part in the first ever Readers Questions.   I hope you all enjoyed reading through the questions and answers.  Well I have some more sewing teasers and dilemmas for you today.

What can help out with experience and advice in these areas:


SOS – What is so special about twin needles? (Except they break easily..)

I have tried sewing with a twin needle twice now. It is so frustrating. I know that twin needle are perfect for knit seems, but I broke both needles very quick each time I give it a try. And as you know, they are quite expensive so my sewing heart broke each time. I kind of developed a great fear about sewing with them and I have the feeling that my sewing machine cannot deal with the standard size of 4mm. but it is so hard to get smaller ones nearby.

I only tried regular straight stitch and in a trial the needle fitted, as soon as I add fabric (very thin knit) it was over 🙁
Do you know good alternatives to making Tee hems instead of using twin needles?

Thank you very much for your help.



I am interested in buying a good quality multi-adjustable dress form. Does anyone know of a good comparison of what is available or have any suggestions? Thanks!



I have a large bust and a small waist. (Well, it used to be ‘small.' Now it is more ‘medium!') I have a very hard time fitting so I have ‘given up' sewing for myself. I often look frumpy and my bust looks saggy (even with a good and well fitting bra.)

Any suggestions from the braver and more seasoned bust-ier sewers … would be greatly appreciated!



I would like to known what the best seam would be to make reversible jersey knit clothing.  Specifically yoga pants. I am using 2 layers of light weight fabric. I was thinking a flat felled seam would be perfect but I was told that the weight of the fabric would cause rippling in the drape. Any thoughts? Thank you! 


Thank you everyone for the really interesting questions and answers.  Please leave your advice in the comments below.  It's Ok to leave links to helpful and relevant articles on your own site or someone elses.

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28 Responses to Readers Questions – 2

  1. Jessica says:

    Hi!Sorry I haven´t answered so far. I was busy with work and my job search 😉

    My sewing machine is a very basic one. Nevertheless the manual says that it is possible to use a twin needle. I followed the instructions there.
    Thank you so much for your great advice. I will try your suggestions and will keep you updated.

    Enjoy your weekend! Cheers,

  2. Theresa Diaz Gray says:

    Wow, I am only 5’2″ so now I am envious of your slim waist and height!

    You use primarily slopers in the flat pattern making method. You cut off the seam allowances and make a master pattern in oak-tag or light cardboard.However, since it’s a perfect skintight fit you compare it to purchased patterns to foresee any necessary alterations.

    I learned to use a sloper when I took flat pattern making at our JC back you could take all sorts of courses inexpensively. I still think a semester long class is the best way, but you have other options now. I think both Crafty and Burda-style have online classes. I also think Cal Patch’s book is nice way to dip your toe in flat pattern drafting.


    • Demaroge says:

      Theresa ~ thanks! There is one college near me that MIGHT have a class. It is frustrating because I started a program many years ago for Apparel Design … and the college cut the program literally after I finished the first year. So, I have some training and knowledge but definitely big holes. The sloper I made then never fit me right and the instructor couldn’t figure out why. I don’t think it was lack of expertise just that she had so much going on and way too many students (because the college was cutting the program.)

  3. Judi says:

    Cristi, check out Dress Rite Forms Co. in Skokie, IL, (suburb of Chicago). Their website is

  4. Deb says:

    Cristi, I bought my adjustable dress form from Nancy Zieman’s website, Sewing with Nancy. She has two different sizes and both are knob adjustable plus come with a tool for marking hems. It’s easy to use and very adjustable.

  5. Deb says:

    Jessica, I totally agree with what Theresa has written you. Twin needles are required for what is called ‘French Sewing.’ Look up Martha Pullen. She is the queen of this style. You may want to ask your question on her website. One of your problems may be the way you are threading your machine for twin needle use. I have two Pfaffs. My older one must be threaded so that one thread is on the right side of the machine’s tension hook and the other thread is on the left side of the tension hook. With my newer machine, I don’t have to do this. Both threads get placed into the thread guides the same exact way. But, with both machine, I must press the correct button telling my machine that I am now using a twin needle. I just can’t start sewing with a regular straight stitch setting. Are you programming your machine properly for twin needle use? If your machine’s manual isn’t clear with instructions, I suggest that you go onto your machine’s website for more info. I have to add, though, that I have never broken a twin needle. I’m thinking that it is something quite simple for you to remedy. You just may be overlooking one minor detail.

  6. Demaroge says:

    Cristi ~ My friend and I made paper tape dress forms. You definitely need a partner and be able to stand for about 2 hours. I know you can find tutorials online. It is also taught in the class on Craftsy called Plus Sized Fitting and Design by Barbara Deckert. It is very inexpensive in comparison to buying a form AND it is a copy of you! You can buy the brown paper tape, an i.v. stand and use an old t-shirt (you will cut it off of yourself) and cami (for the cover) for less than $50. It is really worth it.

  7. Jessica – I hate breaking needles too! It sure sounds like your machine isn’t built to handle the ones you were trying to use.I’ve done the sewing with a straight stitch twice and find if you use basting tape or something like a strip of stitch witchery to put your hem up first, you get less rippling. If you can, reduce the pressure foot pressure too when sewing all seams on a knit. The only reason we do twin hems on knits is because that’s how the ones you buy in the store look, except they have a special machine to do the hems.

  8. Diane Cullum says:


    If I were sewing yoga pants, I’d use a serger. If you don’t have one, a triple zig zag or other stitch that is meant for knit would be best. If you want the flat felled look, you could serge the pieces, then fold them to one side and do a stretch stitch to sew them down flat.

  9. Diane Cullum says:


    Like Elaine says you can just sew the hem twice, 1/4″ apart. I didn’t use twin needles for lots of years, but recently have tried some. They are quicker to sew and keep the seams straight with each other. When sewing knits though, you don’t have to have a double stitched hem.

  10. Amelia says:

    I’m a true hour glass. Busty on top, medium waist, and full hips. I am also petite from top of shoulder to arm pit, but long waisted despite being 5’6″. What I typically do is make a test paper using wax paper. I trace the pattern for a size or two larger from the arm hole/bustline to the bottom of the top. I do the same for the size smaller. I then find where my natural waist would be and mark it on the pattern. I then draw a slightly curving line from the bigger size and connect it to the smaller size at my natural waist. I then trace back to the larger size from my natural waist (smaller size) to the hem at the bottom. This is steeper than the upper one because of my curviness. I can send a photo if it helps. Please not I am very new to sewing but this works.

  11. Elaine says:

    For Demaroge: adjusting the pattern is the hardest part of sewing. I am 4’9″ with a ddd bust and long waist without a pop tummy. I suggest adding extra length in the waist and overlapping the waist “dart” part on the pattern. I generally buy a similar type of fabric in the clearance aisle for the first run. If it fits it is a bonus. If not I can make more corrections before cutting the good stuff. Keep trying.

  12. Elaine says:

    For Jessica :You can hem tees with 2 rows of straight stitching about 1/4″ apart, or the same with an almost o width zigzag. Practice on a scrap first. If the fabric stretches too much, starch it heavily first .

  13. Theresa Diaz Gray says:

    You ask what is a twin needle good for? I love using a twin needle to make baby pin tucks and it is fun to do decorative stitches using one. I also use the combination twin needles for hemstitching. I’ve used them to stitch down narrow ribbon and other trims. I like look of French hand sewing and heirloom sewing and twin needles make it easy.

    One important thing is to make sure the width of the needle is right for your machine- the spacing between the needles should be no wider than the widest zigzag setting your machine is capable of or you can damage the throat plate and bobbin case. Your manual might tell you how wide this is, but if in doubt run a piece of paper through your machine (with no thread in) on the widest zigzag, with a short stitch length. You can then measure the width of the zigzag or take the paper with you when you go to buy the needle and compare it.

    Another important thing is to use a foot that has a wide enough space between the toes.My machine has a setting for twin needles, it’s a pictogram showing two needle heads, which automatically moves the shaft so the needles are centered correctly. If yours doesn’t do that, you need to do it manually.



    • Amelia says:

      I read somewhere to use zigzag stitch to use twin needles on less fancy sewing machines. Anyone heard of this?

      • Demaroge says:

        That is how my sewing machine uses the twin needles. I highly suggest to look in your owner’s manual. Many manuals can be found online for free. Singer has downloadable versions for free … the little ‘link’ for them is tiny but it is on the same page from which you can buy one.

  14. nita says:

    For DEMAROGE: There is a brand new collective online called the Curvy Sewing Collective ( This is a fabulous resource made up of bloggers who are all curvy gals who sew their own clothing. I have learned so much in the few weeks that they’ve been active. It’s very exciting!

  15. Debbie. Andrews says:

    For Demorage,

    I, too, have that same issue. Nancy Zieman as well as Palmer & Pletsch have awesome tutorials on how to do a FBA (full bust adjustment) that have been extremely helpful to me. Nancy has several videos available on youtube for free, so you can get a good look at her methods.

    Hope this helps,


    • Demaroge says:

      Thank you! I will be looking for those tutorials! I have done a full bust adjustment once on princess seams … and somehow I ended up unintentionally shortening the waist so I was still not thrilled with the results. So, I haven’t done that again! It will be nice to learn from someone who knows!

  16. Fay Goin says:

    jessica, first of all make sure that your machine will do twin needle. then look and see what size it will actually take, and third you may have to adjust your machine tension and stitch width a little bit, my tension had to be adjusted to exactly 3 and my width to 4.5 do this by hand cranking an making sure it does not make strange noises. adjust till it is clear and sound like it usually does when you sew. hope this helps

  17. Gill says:

    For Demaroge who asks about sewing for a larger bust; I’m by no means an experienced sewer, did lots when younger, but have come back to it in my fifties, and I’ve found that vintage styles work better. I’ve recently made dresses by an Australian indie designer, which are great and generally there is a tutorial on how to do the bust adjustment. The site is I’ve a photo of the Mae blouse on my blog somewhere.

    • Demaroge says:

      Thank you! I will be looking over her site! 🙂 I appreciate your suggestion.

      • Theresa Diaz Gray says:

        Demaroge, patterns, especially the big 4, assume you use a B cup. I know that there are some patterns where you can pick your cup size. However, your best bet is learning how to do a FBA (full bust adjustment), there are several methods. The one I use the most is adding to the bust dart, in that case I cut a size 34 which is my upper bust measurement. If it’s a knit I usually cut a size 30 back and a 38-40 front using the size 8 shoulders and armhole. I wear a 30 G bra.

        I think you might also want to have a friend take all your measurements, especially your backwaist, a lot of busty gals are shortwaisted. Even if you aren’t, having the correct back length affects fit. Also sleeve length matters.

        For small waist in proportion to your hips(lucky girl,I am so jealous) pick a size that corresponds to your widest measurement and take in at the seams or enlarge the waist darts.

        You might consider making a sloper and a master pattern block to compare
        to purchased patterns.



        • Demaroge says:

          Hi Theresa ~ Thank you for your helpful suggestions. I wear a 32GG and am long waisted. I’m 6 ft tall and my mom always added 3 inches of waist length to anything she made for me. She didn’t know how to sew for my busty self, either, so we had a few ‘hit and miss’ dresses but it is discouraging to make things that don’t fit right in the end.

          I would really like to learn how to use a sloper. I have two patterns but have never had the courage to try. Plus I don’t know how to use it once it is done!

    • Mandy says:

      I agree with Gill. I’m built the same way. I think the reason those tops/dresses look nice is because of the style (empire waist). You can also try surplice tops/dresses or wrap dresses/tops or faux wrap dresses/tops. These styles bring the eye down away from your bust line toward your waist. By wearing a top that cuts off at your bust-line and fits snugly around the waist, it will accent your “assets”, but won’t make you look too top-heavy or like you’re pregnant like a t-shirt would if it just draped from your busts.

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