Sewing with denim can be both fun and challenging due to its thickness and durability. Denim is a sturdy and versatile fabric used for various clothing and home decor items.
Whether you're working with old jeans for upcycling projects or starting from scratch with denim yardage, here are some tips for sewing with denim:
1. Use the Right Needle:
Opt for a heavy-duty or denim needle when sewing with denim. These needles are designed to pierce through the thick fabric without breaking.
2. Choose Quality Thread:
Select a strong, high-quality thread that complements the color of your denim. Polyester or a cotton-wrapped polyester thread works well.
3. Adjust Your Machine Settings:
Increase the stitch length slightly. A longer stitch length (around 3mm-3.5mm) prevents the fabric from puckering and makes the seams stronger.
4. Consider the Seam Allowance:
A 1/2-inch seam allowance is standard for sewing denim. However, check your pattern or project instructions for specific seam allowances.
5. Clip Corners and Curves:
When sewing curved or corner seams, clip the seam allowances to reduce bulk and help the fabric lie flat.
6. Use a Walking Foot or Even Feed Foot:
These presser feet help feed both layers of denim evenly through the sewing machine, preventing uneven stitching and puckering.
7. Tame Bulky Seams:
Reduce bulk in bulky seams, like where two or more layers of denim meet, by trimming the seam allowances or grading them (trimming one layer shorter than the other).
8. Consider Topstitching:
Denim often features topstitching for a classic look. Use a topstitching thread in a contrasting color for decorative seams or to reinforce stress points
9. Test Your Machine:
Before sewing your actual project, test your machine settings and stitch quality on a scrap piece of denim to ensure everything is adjusted correctly.
10. Go Slow and Steady:
Sewing denim can be thick, so take your time, especially when sewing multiple layers. Push the fabric gently through the machine to avoid jamming or breaking needles.
11. Use Quality Pins and Clips:
Invest in strong pins or clips designed for heavy fabrics to hold your pieces together while sewing.
12. Press Seams Well:
Use a hot iron with steam to press your denim seams open or to one side. This step helps your seams lay flat and gives your project a polished look.
13. Reduce Fraying:
To prevent fraying at the raw edges of denim, consider using a serger/overlock machine to finish the edges, or apply a fabric fray prevention product.
14. Be Mindful of Thickness:
Keep in mind that multiple layers of denim can be quite thick, so choose your projects wisely. Heavy-duty sewing machines may handle this better than basic machines.
15. Experiment with Distressing:
f you want to create a distressed look on your denim project, you can use techniques like sanding, scraping, or even careful snipping with scissors.
Sewing with denim may require a bit of practice and patience, especially if you're working with thicker denim or intricate designs. However, with the right tools, techniques, and a little perseverance, you can create stylish and durable denim garments, accessories, and home decor items to enjoy for years to come.