Four tips for Sewing with Denim | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Tips for sewing with Denim

I recently finished a fun sewing project I made for a friend using recycled jeans (tutorial here). Let me just say, sewing with denim can be super tough! Especially when you are using recycled denim and you may be sewing through lots of layers. During this project I was able to test out denim-sewing tips I learned in my college sewing classes, and they really worked! I was amazed at how using the right techniques can take a lot of the stress out of sewing. 🙂

Here are four tips make sewing with denim a little easier:

Four tips for Sewing with Denim | stitchesandsunflowers.com

One: Use the correct needle and thread.

I’ve known this for a while, but since I don’t like to buy a lot of extra materials and supplies I tend to not follow through. This time, however, I DID and it made ALL the difference. When sewing with denim you should be using the largest needle (the numbers will say 100/16), or use the special jean needle. This made it easier to sew through the thick parts, and they’re less likely to break. I recommend you buy multiple (especially if you’re a beginner), because I still broke quite a few needles. I also used jean thread (found here, but I think it can be found cheaper at local department stores) which made such a difference! The thread didn’t bunch up underneath the fabric at all, and it really solved a lot of the issues I usually have while sewing denim.

Four tips for Sewing with Denim | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Two: Use a hammer.

What?! That’s right, pounding down the layered spots in a denim sewing project is actually a common and accepted technique that makes them easier to sew. You can buy cute, tiny hammers made specifically for sewing. Or, you can use whatever is on hand (just make sure that if you use a big hammer you work on a sturdy surface). For my last project I used a meat tenderizer (because it was really close and handy), but a hammer would probably work better, now that I think about it.

Four tips for Sewing with Denim | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Three: Use a stitch starter.

Sewing machines are made to sew through surprisingly thick layers of fabric. However, they have a really hard time climbing onto a thick part in the fabric. You can even that plain by sticking something underneath the presser foot behind the needle. They sell stitch starters for this purpose. I have used cardboard, foam core, or even a pad of sticky notes. You could also use folded up fabric like in this post.

Four tips for Sewing with Denim | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Four: Sew things the “right way.”

I don’t ALWAYS tell you that you have to sew something using the traditional method. Sometimes recycling fabrics or upcycling old clothes require a little creativity and freedom, which is okay. However, for a more professional look it’s important to follow professional techniques.

For example, if you are taking in jeans, don’t just pinch at the side and sew over both waistbands. This will look bad, but it will also be sooo frustrating to get your machine to sew through all those layers (after all, it’s not designed to sew that way). Instead, unpick the waistband from the top of the pants. Take in the side seam first, then take in the waistband, then sew them together again copying the way it was done before. Cotton and curls has a great tutorial showing how to do this.

If it’s hard to tell what the professional way to sew something is, I like to look at how it was put together in the first place. Then I try to copy that as well as I can.

Sewing with denim will be easier with these tips. It is still a challenge, but the results are worth it.

Love, Jess

Four tips for Sewing with Denim | stitchesandsunflowers.com

 

 

10 Comments

  • Beryl July 6, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks so much for this! Since it’s summer I was thinking of altering some of my less-worn jeans and turning them into jorts. I’ve also seen a lot of “how tos” on making cute little purses or bags out of denim things. Definitely things that I’ll keep in mind when I get around to actually crafting something.

    Reply
    • stitchesandsunflowers July 7, 2016 at 12:51 am

      Denim is so durable, so it’s really useful for repurposing. I’d love to see how your projects turn out 🙂

      Reply
  • Izabela July 7, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I never knew there are hammers made specifically for sewing.

    Reply
    • stitchesandsunflowers July 7, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      It seems kind of silly, but it really does help! (of course, any hammer will work)

      Reply
  • Jenn July 8, 2016 at 6:58 am

    This is such an awesome skill to have, thank you for sharing this I will definitely keep this in mind.

    Reply
    • stitchesandsunflowers July 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Your welcome 🙂 I think it would be helpful for many to learn the basics of sewing.

      Reply
  • Marie, The Interior Frugalista July 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    These are awesome tips, thank you so much! I’m vertically challenged and inevitably have to hem my jeans. Not wanting to pay the big $$ to have them professionally hemmed, I do them myself using Tip #1 & 2. Tip #2 & 3 just rocked my jean hemming world! Pinning to share and bookmark.

    Reply
    • stitchesandsunflowers July 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      I’m so happy they help! My mother in law hems a lot of jeans, and now that we use jean thread, it’s so much easier! Thanks for the pin!

      Reply
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