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Tips and Tricks For Overcoming Denim Sewing Problems

Denim is just one of those fabrics that always looks stylish when using it for sewing crafts. You can use it to make jeans, skirts, jackets, purses, and even hats.


Yet despite being a versatile fabric, denim can be tricky to sew if you are not careful. The tough fabric has been known to not be merciful toward needles or thread, causing both to break unexpectedly. There is nothing worse than being halfway finished with a denim sewing project and having a needle break without a replacement needle handy.

Don’t let denim fabric intimidate you. Here are some tips and tricks to corral this fabric and make it do your bidding as it travels across your sewing machine;

Eliminate Frays with Zigzag Stitching

Denim loves to fray at the edges. We doubt you have finished any sewing project with denim and haven’t seen the seam begin to fray and pull apart.

Solution: Keep those fabric threads in place by using the zigzag stitch. Run this stitch technique over any seam that is on your project. As an added bonus, by placing a zigzag stitch on the fabric, it will make your clothing look even more professional.

Scrap Denim Prevents Sewing Machine Stalls

When you are sewing over folded pieces of denim, the surface starts to get bumpy for the presser foot. When this happens, the sewing machine sometimes struggles to where it just won’t move the fabric forward because the presser foot is not balanced.

Solution: Fold a piece of scrap denim and place it under the presser foot to straighten it out so your sewing machine can continue to run without any problems.

Iron as Much as Possible

Most of the problems with breaking needles and thread come from the fact that denim can get so bulky during your sewing project. This is where you will put your iron to extra use.

Solution: Iron down all your seams and press them flat as much as possible. While this technique might slow you down some, you will have fewer issues to deal with in the long run.

Use the Right Tools

You can’t just place the denim on your sewing machine and start doing your craft without changing out a few items. You’ll definitely want to use your denim needle, or one that is designed for the thickness of the material.

Solution: Look into changing out your universal presser foot with perhaps a walking foot to stop the fabric from moving about so much, or an edge stitching foot. Also, you don’t have to stick with the cotton thread that is marketed for jean use if it keeps shredding and snapping. You might have better luck with upholstery thread or heavy duty thread.

Pre-wash to Soften the Material

You may skip the pre-wash for some fabrics, yet don’t do it with denim. When you wash denim, the material softens.

Solution: This method can give you better control of the fabric. In addition, a prewash is ideal as denim has a habit of shrinking, which can throw off your measurements when you are making clothing that is tight fitting.

We hope these tips and tricks will help you when you are doing your next sewing project. You will have an easier time controlling the fabric so you can complete the project.

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