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Can I Sew Denim on a Regular Sewing Machine?

Denim fabric is not just the preferred choice of the general public; it is also a favorite of many top designers. In addition to the wardrobe staple jeans, jacket bags, purses, vests, tops, skirts, and shawls, There’s no limit to what you can create using denim.

A beginner sewer can’t imagine sewing using denim fabric as all they’ve seen jeans. And it can be difficult to duplicate the sewing done by professionals in jeans. However, with a few tips and tricks, you’ll easily sew jeans at home.

The denim with a lighter weight is easy to sew, like any other cotton fabric. Heavier denim may be difficult to sew, but there is no reason to be afraid if you focus on certain aspects.

The Specifics of Denim

Denim is among the most popular fabrics for casual wear and workwear. Denim is a basic cotton fabric and one of the toughest and most durable types. It is available in a variety of different washes and weights. For most clothes, you’ll need to wear medium or light denim weighing around a pound. The majority of sewing machines can handle this. However, it is important to be aware of a few precautions. Because it is thick and strong, it demands a sturdy and strong thread.

When Is an Industrial Sewing Machine Necessary?

If your machine isn’t strong enough to sew the fabric, you may face many problems. The needle can break frequently, and the machine could become trapped, and then the entire procedure will not be able to function. 

The amount of fabric your machine can handle will depend on the model and capability. But, as a general guideline, sewing machines intended for domestic use won’t be able to handle many layers of denim that weigh a lot. If you’re planning to tackle an ambitious project or sew using heavy denim, purchasing an industrial or professional sewing machine may be more convenient.

Denim’s Characteristic Features

Denim’s Characteristic Features

Denim is a durable fabric with a long-lasting lifespan which has been a hit for more than 100 years. Anyone who has worn one of these jeans will know that it is important not to skimp on the pre-wash. 

Most of the time, the jeans will shrink slightly, but pre-washing can soften the fabric slightly. The more you wash them, the softer they’ll get. It’s best to wash denim separately to avoid letting some color wash off and then transfer it to your other clothing.

It is also among the longest-lasting materials that you can find. The people who wear jeans know they have been around for quite a long period! The funny thing is that they start to break when you have them exactly how you want them to be!

If you have to cut your denim or suffer from tears, equip yourself with top-quality thread and extremely powerful, sharp needles. A common thread and needles won’t fit this tough material. If you’re making your jeans from scrap fabric, ensure you have the correct equipment for the job:

Tools & Sewing Suggestions:

  1. Make sure to use sharp tools: This includes using sharp sewing scissors that are professional grade and sharp cutting rotary cutters.
  2. Use the heavy-duty Jeans Thread, particularly for the top stitching required for flat felling. If you cannot find an alternative, look into the upholstery thread.
  3. Heavy-duty needles, either one designed specifically for sewing denim, such as Schmetz Denim Needles, or a needle that’s at least size 90/14. The needles will be equipped with an enhanced blade to reduce the deflection of the needle and to reduce the chance of broken needles and missed stitches. If your denim material is very thick, use 100/16.

Tips for Sewing With Denim

1. Preparation

Whichever type of denim you pick, Denim is a material that tends to shrink after washing. Dye bleeding is a frequent occurrence in denim. This is why pre-washing your denim could help you avoid the hassle. All you have to be able to wash is your jeans (water will suffice without detergents) and then dry them on a flat surface. This way, you’ll be sure that the denim you’re making will not change the following washing or pressing steam.

When cutting denim is relatively simple to cut. It’s fairly rigid and does not fray as significantly. It is possible to use shears or a rotary cut; however, whatever you choose, ensure that your blade is razor-sharp. So you can have straight lines easier. Light denim fabric can be cut into multiple layers. 

Another thing to remember while cutting patterns out of denim fabric is the ribbing that runs across the fabric’s surface. Based on the kind of denim and the cut direction, the ribbing will be evident, and you’ll want that direction to be the same across all your patterns. However, for heavy denim, ensure that you only cut one layer at a time.

If you’ve never attempted sewing denim before using your machine, It is highly recommended to test each stitch you plan to apply on a small bit of fabric before attempting it. It’s difficult to determine the capabilities of your machine before you actually try it out, and it’s always best to test all stitches before you begin an extensive project.

2. Choose the Right Settings

The seam that is utilized in the majority of denim fabrics is the flat felled seam. This seam is extremely well with heavy-weight fabrics like denim. It may also be beneficial to strengthen your seams by stitching top-stitching. You could also employ the serger to finish the edges if you have one. 

Items made of denim are typically frequently used, and you need all of your items to be as sturdy as the material. It is also crucial to select the appropriate length of the stitch. 

When sewing heavier denim, do not hesitate to increase your stitches longer. A stitch length of around 3 millimeters works best; however, you might need to increase it according to the task.

3. Take It Slow

The most basic and important thing to remember when sewing denim is to go slow. Doing it fast isn’t going to work when sewing with denim. Most novices believe that their machines won’t handle denim. However, the issues occur due to excessive speed. 

If you speed up, it could cause the needle to break and the threads to become tangled. Therefore, don’t try to push the needle too far. By taking it slow, you will get closer to finishing the job faster and, at the very least, when sewn with jeans!

As you’ve seen, sewing denim with a regular sewing machine is possible, at least in most instances. Success lies in selecting the appropriate equipment, planning it carefully, and making it slow.

4. Choose the Right Needle and Thread

Choose the Right Needle and Thread

Denim/jeans needles can be found at any store selling sewing supplies. They are, in essence, needles created specifically for denim and are more durable than needles designed for thinner light fabric. The easiest way to choose the appropriate needle for denim is to purchase one designed especially to use it. 

When you’ve decided which needles to choose, It’s also an ideal idea to have two spare needles available. They’ll be sharper and longer, as well as have eyes that are larger to allow the thicker threads that you’ll need to make denim. , It can dull fast, and you must have an extremely sharp needle for the process to run smoothly.

When it comes to a thread, you must select one sturdy and fairly heavy-weight. If you are looking for stretch jeans or lightweight jeans, you don’t have to be as sturdy, but the more heavy denim, the more you’ll need the thread to be. Heavy-duty top-stitch threads are usually an option. In terms of colors, choosing a color that contrasts with orange or yellow-blue denim is typical. But you can pick any color to add flair to your job.

Is It Possible to Sew Denim Using an Ordinary Sewing Machine? Everything You Need to Be Aware Of

Is It Possible to Sew Denim Using an Ordinary Sewing Machine

1. Can we sew denim with the sewing machine?

Yes, you can, i.e., when you’re using normal denim weight and don’t try to sew multiple layers of fabric together simultaneously.

You will require a strong enough sewing machine and not just the cheap model you buy for a bargain. It is essential to have a powerful and durable machine that can stitch many layers of heavy denim to form the hem of your jeans along the seam. Industrial machines can do this quickly enough.

With the correct needle, high-quality thread, and perseverance, your sewing machine can do very effectively with denim fabrics as long as there aren’t numerous layers. It is possible to do the process a bit slower using your normal machine and switch the needle to the suitable one for a dense fabric. The walking foot or even feed foot is an excellent accessory to use when sewing denim. The roller feet are considered to be easy to sew on denim.

If you are planning to wear heavy-weight jeans regularly and would like to sew several layers at once ( for example, around the back fly or zipper), it is best to use a commercial or industrial sewing machine. You’ll need an item designed to sew extremely heavy threads to top-stitch and stitch several layers of denim.

Take a look at this post about purchasing industrial sewing machines.

One method of using the heavy thread on your normal sewing machine is to sew the thread inside the bobbin and put a normal size thread inside the needle on top.

2. What thread should we choose for sewing denim?

Top stitching thread to sew jeans. If you don’t have a top-stitching thread, you can use two spools at the same time to create the appearance of a stronger thread. Your sewing machine might include an extra spool pin. Connect it to the machine and the needle using both threads from the spools.

The color of the thread will be based on the effect you would like to create on the fabric. Usually, a bright color such as orange is utilized to finish the denim fabric jeans. We’d suggest that bright colors are a good idea (like pink, yellow, and lime green). You’ll have to test it on the part of the fabric since denim comes in a variety of shades. The color that is good with a shade of indigo may not appear identical on a different color of blue.

Buttonhole twist also works well as a top-stitching thread due to its strength and beautiful sheen.

Using a strong thread on top of the spool, you should employ the regular thread inside the bobbin.

3. Which needle should we choose for sewing denim?

Which needle should we choose for sewing denim

Denim is best sewn using a specialized needle for jeans or denim available at sewing supply stores. They have a larger eye to hold the heavier thread used to sew denim and are also longer and sharper. If you’re sewing stretch denim, you may require the stretch needle.

A great tip is to have a few extra needles made of denim (usually no. 16 needles) in your sewing kit when sewing with denim, especially when you’re working on the work of a large scale. It requires sharp needles. Sewing denim will dull your needles quickly.

Another important thing to remember is to not sew very quickly in sewing your denim. Sewing too fast can cause needle breaks and frustrations throughout. Slow down when you are sewing.

4. How do we cut denim?

When cutting the pattern pieces of denim, ensure that the direction of ripples on its surface is uniform and is in the same direction. This should be done in all pattern pieces to allow the overall garment to appear great.

Make sure you use the sharpest tools you can find to cut denim. Both scissors and rotary cutters are equally effective.

5. Do we have to wash denim before we wear it?

Denim, a fabric composed of cotton fibers, will shrink when washed and can sometimes turn color as well. Therefore, it’s normal to wash the fabric.

The store should be able to tell you whether the denim you’re purchasing is Sanforized. Sanforized denim is pre-washed or pretreated to ensure low shrinkage ( less than 1 percent).

Sanforized denim can be tested for sewing with no washing and without damaging the fabric in any way. But, even then, the fabric might have a sizing issue that can make it difficult to sew.

There is a possibility that you would prefer denim in raw form that is unorganized, and a lot of people prefer it. Raw denim, with its dark color, is attractive and many believe that fading in denim is natural and not due to the use of chemicals.

Raw denim must be washed before sewing (no alternative here). The fabric must be put in a bathtub of water for a certain time before hanging to dry before sewing. You could also wash it in the washer. Some suggest that you wash it three times because denim is always shrinking.

Denim fabric edges are prone to travel. If you remove denim fabric from the fabric and wash it as is, you might find an untidy mess on your hands, especially if you’ve been putting it through the washing machine. 

One way to get rid of it is to use your pinking shears along the edges. You could also use basting stitches to join the edges of the fabric together to transform it into the shape of a tube and then wash it. The stitches used for basting will come off easily after washing the fabric, and the edges will stay in good shape.

6. How can we finish the edges?

Selvedge denim has edges that are finished with a vibrantly colored band. Other denim fabrics need to have finished edges since denim frays quite often.

In jeans, a straight felled finish on the seam is often employed. This finish covers the edges of the fabric. This is a challenge with a regular sewing machine, particularly when sewing with heavy denim.

Overcast stitch or serger is a different way to finish the edges of denim. It is also possible to use pinking shears since this tool gives a zig-zag line to the edges and makes fraying difficult. Certain of the edges might not be suitable for denim due to its weight.

A self-fabric fringe is an attractive fabric edge for jeans. We own a pair of shorts with this style, and it’s stunning. Look at this blog post about making fringes to learn how it was done.

7. How do you sew denim with the hand?

Sewing denim using hand stitches is a test of patience. Sometimes, you’ll have to.

One way we sew jeans using stitching by hand is when we stitch the hem of the children’s pants. We may need to release the stitches after a while. You don’t want to trim the edge of the jeans because we know to wear them for a long period.

Even using a seam ripper, it’s difficult to make the seam of jeans. Therefore, we follow the procedure described in this blog post for hemming jeans, but instead of sewing machines, we sew on the edges using an old-fashioned machine and needle.

You use only the highest thread for hand-sewing denim. Make denim stitches using a long, sharp needle with a big eye. Do not want the thread breaking into pieces now and then.

8. How do we sew seams when sewing denim?

Denim seams are generally made using flat felled seams. See the post about 17 kinds of seams to get more information on how to sew this seam.

If you’re sewing regular seams, you’ll be required to trim seams to minimize excess bulk, specifically the seam allowances on facings. Cutting seam allowances every inch for curvy seams and grading seam allowances are essential for sewing with denim.

Using a lightweight fabric for facing is recommended, so you don’t have to work with 2 layers. The hem, too, can be finished in this manner.

Make sure to press seams open, particularly if you cross seams. It is possible to use the steam setting on your iron to cause the seams to behave. Some may even apply the hammer to the seams.

It is a very dense fabric. You don’t have to line your dresses with denim. However, if you do have to pick a light fabric as liner fabric.

Most Denim garments have Bar tacks at high-stress areas, like the pocket’s top. Do you make sure that the interface has buttonholes or behind them? You should set your sewing machine to an elongated zig-zag, and your stitch length should be very short. The stitch should be 1/4 “, and then reverse the stitch to strengthen.

Hemming jeans: It’s recommended to make the hem of your denim clothes at least 1” wide. Double top-stitch the hem to the top to avoid the hem from curling up.

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