You know your machine can sew all kinds of stitches, but did you know it can also do the twist?
Twisted threads have many uses—from jewelry to belts to edge trim, piping and tassels. Currently popular friendship bracelets use twisted threads as well, sometimes extending the ends into fringe. Twisted threads and cords are also great for couching, either with zigzag or decorative stitches. If you couch with invisible thread, the texture of the threads remain prominent. Thin twisted threads can be used for button loops or belt loops. Twisted threads can be knotted, woven, braided or even re-twisted together to make heavier cords.
What will you twist? Anything and everything! You can twist all kinds of threads from basic thread, metallics and heavier threads like Dual Duty XP Heavy or Jeans thread, to variegated colors, novelties, yarns, pearl cottons and ribbons—all work well and create cords of various sizes depending on the amount of twist and size of the original strands. Nothing says all strands have to be the same either—mix them up for more interesting results.
There are two ways to twist strands on your sewing machine—one using the bobbin winding mechanism, and for shorter lengths, the machine’s hand wheel. The basics are the same—both begin with at least four times the finished length of the twisted cord you need. If you plan to twist a long length, you will need a partner, as you can’t hold the strands taut and reach the machine foot pedal at the same time.
To twist on the hand wheel, fold the strands in half and securely tape the fold to the hand wheel center. Use a long piece of either painter’s tape or duct tape for best adhesion.
To twist using the bobbin winder, thread the ends through a hole in the bobbin and hold the cut ends together. If your bobbin doesn’t have a large hole, slip the strands into the center hole and press the bobbin onto the winding pin. Using this method, there’s a limit to how thick the cords can be and still have the bobbin fit on the pin.
Start running the machine (or engage the bobbin winder), hold the cut strand ends tautly, and when you feel them start to pull in toward the machine, stop the twisting process. Hold the cut ends and take them back to the opposite end folding the length in half, but don’t let go.
Grab the opposite strand ends and let the two lengths twist unto themselves, while still holding on. Smooth the twists and knot the ends together to maintain the twist.
About the Author
Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.