Working with denim: The Essentials

Working with denim differs from working with regular fabrics because of the overall thickness of this fabric. From the proper sewing machines to laundry or even sewing tips, here are a few points to consider when working with denim.

Caring for denim

It would certainly be a shame to see all of your hard work go to waste because you didn’t take the time and effort to properly care for your denim. To extend the longevity of your denim clothes, it is recommended to turn the clothes inside out before adding them to the laundry. If you’re washing a pair of jeans, you might want to add a cup or half a cup of vinegar to your laundry soap to intensify the color. Since the color tends to run during washing, always be sure to wash denim separately from all of your other clothes.

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Invest in the proper accessories

Thick denim does require bigger needles that can pierce through the fabric without snapping. It is important to bear in mind that denim can very easily dull your needle so be sure to always keep some spare ones in your storage box. If you’re working with heavy-duty denim, be sure to buy a size 100/16 needle. If you’re working with light and stretch denim, it’s preferable to go for a 75/11 needle. Beginners will be glad to learn that most stores do carry specialty needles that are exclusively designed for denim. These normally feature a far sharper and longer tip that can very easily pierce through the weaves of your fabric. In fact, this needle comes with a larger eye which makes it even easier for you to thread the needle. This can also be used to accommodate topstitching threads.

Get the right thread

The best type of thread for denim is polyester since it is extremely durable and does not fray with time. However, if you prefer to use cotton thread, you should preferably go for a polyester thread that has been wrapped in cotton. This will ensure that your thread does not break or unravel. For topstitching, it is advisable to use decorative thread. If you plan on sewing several layers of denim at the same time, don’t hesitate to use a roller presser foot to facilitate this task.

Sewing machines for denim

When working with denim, always try to invest in a heavy-duty machine to protect both the machine and the fabric. The recommended models are:

  • SINGER 20U109 Zig Zag Straight Reverse Industrial Sewing Machine: One of the most professional sewing apparatuses on the market, this heavy-duty machine can deliver a large variety of stitches including heavy-duty and zig zag. This apparatus comes complete with the motor and table. It costs between $900 and $1000.
  • Sailrite Heavy-Duty Ultrafeed® LSZ-1: Priced between $800 and $900, this sewing machine is ideal for denim because it comes with a Power Plus Balance Wheel that delivers twice as much power as a regular sewing machine. The presser foot is extra-wide and comes with a built-in piping tunnel.
  • Juki LU-1508NS Single Needle Unison Feed Lock Stitch Machine: This heavy-duty sewing machine costs between $2000 and $3000 and is idea for more experienced sewers who often work with denim and heavier fabrics. It comes with a variety of features that will help you benefit from more polished results. For example, it even includes a thread trimming system as well as an automatic needle threader. The needles are appropriately thick and large enough to penetrate thicker fabrics and even sew two different layers at the same time. It is ideal for both home and industrial use.