Determining what types of denim you use will help you choose the best heavy duty sewing machines available in the market. Everyone who has ever tried sewing thick denim knows that there are must have features when it comes to your personal sewing machine.
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Sewing Machines For Denim:Must Have Features
The projects you like the most are a major determining factor in what features you really want to look for. If you like making purses and bags or work clothing from this versatile fabric, the machine you choose should have specific things to make your job easier.
Features that are the most helpful when dealing with thick denim or any dense materials include:
- Presser foot adjustable heights
- Thread tensioner
- Variable feet
- Stable base to account for not skipping stitches at high speeds
- Stitch length variations
Each of these features have an advantage over the standard user machines that most people have in their homes for basic mending. For thinner fabrics or lightweight jobs, none of these features have a great importance. However when dealing with a thick material of any kind, these make your job much easier and allow for less fighting with the fabric and more time to be creative.
The average basic sewing machine is ideal for many kinds of fabrics, but the types of threads and needles used will determine how well the fabric holds up. But if you plan on doing more than a hem or taking in a pair of jeans, power and speed is key
Machine Needles that Work Best with Denim
When it comes to sewing machine needles, one size does not fit all fabrics. Smaller and thinner needles will often bend and break when they encounter thick and sturdy fabrics such as denim. So you want to switch out the standard needle that you have in the machine and look for a needle that can cleanly pierce through layers of heavy fabric.
Out on the market there will be needles that are specifically made for denim. They will feature a sharp, long blade that will not only go through the fabric when it is flat, but can also handle the bumps and folds when you are making seams. These denim needles will also be called, “jean needles.”
They will come in sizes of 90/14, 100/16 and 110/18. You may try all these needles with your sewing machine to find the one that works best with denim, although people will normally go with the middle needle of 100/16 to do the job.
Best Sewing Machines For Hemming Jeans and Pants
Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed
The Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed model is ideal for any denim job, including multiple layers.
The standard speed of 1,100 stitches per minute allows for a professional result every time. In my experience the faster speed you sew at, the more my machine would bounce around. Since the frame on this model is heavy duty metal, the high speed doesn’t cause any skipping of stitches even when going at full speed.
Many of the newer professional speed machines are pricey, but this brand offers three different options for stitches included and therefore three different prices. It’s one of the cheapest sewing machine for denim. So if you are worried about the overall cost, you can choose from an 11, 23 or 32 stitch model for very little cost. Remember just because the cost is less does not mean you are getting less of a machine.
The only difference between these three is the number of preloaded automatic stitches. If you do not intend on creating many original looks that include monogramming, the first of the three models will do wonderfully.
For a more decorative appearance, the last model offers the larger number of options with stitching. For the average user, the 23 stitch machine is ideal and will give you all the options you could ever use.
Automatic feed dog allows for the material to be fed in at the same speed with every stitch, so you won’t have to worry about having more or less space between stitches. The stitches will each have the same amount of space between, leaving you with a professional looking final product.
You can also disengage this setting, which means you can control how much space is set between each stitch.The presser foot lifter for this model machine is extra high, so no matter how thick your material is you won’t have any issues getting layers sewn at once. With many of the average home sewing machines, the presser foot lifter and pressure controls only allow for a maximum of two layers of denim without having a problem bunching.
These models will allow for numerous thicknesses, and no bunching due to the speed and lifting controls. Since the pressure control is automatic also, you won’t have to adjust your pressure for even the thickest denims.
The variable thread pressure adjustment is also helpful on this model, allowing you to decide how tightly the thread is held. With thicker materials, basic thread can fray and break easily. Using a thicker thread and a looser tension will allow your thread to stand up to the thickness of your material.
Brother XR9500PRW Limited Edition Project Runway
At a slightly higher price is the Brother Project Runway sewing machine.This model gives you a vast array of 100 different stitches to use as well as a quilting table for a much larger working area.
With this model you can expect:
- 100 stitches
- 6 different feet
- Variable stitch width
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- Free drop feed motion
- Twin needle
Having one hundred stitches to choose from for a denim project not only allows you to make your jeans or bag look original, but also allows for experimentation on finished edges. Some of the more expensive jeans made today have decorative stitching on the pockets and even down the legs, and with this model you are able to recreate these same runway looks.
The six feet included with this set are the buttonhole, overcasting, monogramming, zipper, zigzag and blind stitch. For denim that commonly frays, a finished edge on the buttonhole is mandatory. You can use the buttonhole foot, and since the presser foot pressure is adjustable you are able to decide how tightly it fits over the material.
Using the variable stitch width settings, you can go up to 7 millimeters in width. This allows for more variation in the stitches that are already installed, and you can make thicker denim styles look just as good as thinner ones. With so many options available already, adding the different widths can make your style look even more original.
Your feed dog can be disengaged with this machine so that you feed the material through manually. This not only allows you to go slower than normal in case you are unsure of the pressure setting you need to use, but it also lets you control bunching and skipping. When using the correct needle and thread types, you can easily create half inch thick denim styles and never have a problem bunching or stitch skipping.Free drop feed motion allows for you to stop the feed dog and allow a more free motion when working with thicker materials or quilting. Not only can you operate within normal parameters, but you can go as thick as you need by using the free drop feed motion.
There are needles included with this machine, but it is always best to get a few different types so you always have them on hand for any kind of project. Quite a few different sizes can be found for denim, so determining which you need will depend on how thick your material will be.
The thicker the denim, the more stout a needle and thread you will need. Basic needles that come with this machine are best used for everyday projects like hems, buttonholes and lightweight materials.
The twin needle that comes with this sewing machine can be invaluable to those that want fancy stitching. Using a twin needle allows for you to thread both and use both simultaneously when joining two pieces of fabric.
You will get a finished edge on both, while attaching the two without using more time and space to finish the same job with two separate needles. Remember when using this set, make sure you use a different foot so as to not cause bunching.
With an 8 style auto buttonhole setting, you can easily make the perfect buttonhole on your denim jeans. No more having to sit and watch the machine while hoping there are no skipped stitches.
Using the automatic doesn’t mean you just walk away, but you can be certain while using it that you will have a professional and secure stitching job. More than this, no fraying around the edges and snipping of frayed material are added bonuses using this setting.
Singer P-1250 Professional Flat Bed
Although at the high end of the price scale, the Singer P-1250 Professional Flat Bed machine is top of the line.If you can afford the one time cost of the purchase, it will pay off in the sheer amount of projects you can take on over the years. Here are a few of the best features that others are slightly lacking on.
- Heavy duty metal frame
- 1,250 stitches per minute maximum rate
- Suction cup base
- Flat bed for working
- 7 presser feet
The frame for most sewing machines are metal, but this workhorse is thicker than most so as to allow you to work without the base moving around while at high speeds. Most all of the machines have some small movement when going at top speed, because the base is not completely stable. With the width and stabilityof the frame this model boasts, you can be sure there will be no skipping of stitches.
Another great feature is the suction cup made into the bottom of the base. This allows for your machine to stay immobile and keep your stitching tight. You can always disengage the suction cup so that you have more free motion with the machine itself, but in my experience it is best to keep your base steady and immobile for the best end results.
Having 1,250 stitches per minute as a maximum speed is a great advantage if you work many large projects. The average home machine has just over half that as a top speed, and most of the time it allows for quite a few missed stitches or a bobbin to become frayed and snap.
With the power required to use that many stitches per minute, you can work with heavy materials like leather and the thickest layers of denim at one time. Without having to worry about breaking a needle due to a lack of speed and power, you can work with any materials you choose to complete the projects you have been putting off.
Using a flat bed working area is ideal for not only denim projects, but any project that requires a finished and perfected straight line. Many machines offer a smaller bed with rounded edges, that allows for the material to drape over at an angle. For a beginner using a machine, this can allow for you to inadvertently cause a crooked seam or bunched stitching. Having the flat bed keeps your material straight, and using the factory measuring lines on the base will help you to keep a perfected seam line.The different feet included with this machine are the all purpose, buttonhole, zipper, blind hem, satin stitch, narrow rolled hem and the straight stitch foot. Using the blind hem foot, you are able to work with any different thickness of material and use a free motion to create any designs you choose. The other feet that are included in the accessory kit allows for completing any project from installing a zipper to hemming and making those tiny spaghetti straps that seem to take forever with a standard all purpose foot.
The best sewing machine for denim is the one that works best for all of your needs. In order to get the most out of your money, it is ideal to get the model that works for the types of projects you complete the most frequently.
Janome HD1000 – Fantastic for Upholstery Work and Big Projects
Sewing projects that have denim fabric requires serious power and speed under the casing. The Janome HD1000 will definitely give you the power. It is the best sewing machine for leather and also works well with denim.
It is a mechanical machine, which makes it suitable for beginners who are still learning all the basic functions of the sewing machine. Some of the ideal features you will find with this sewing machine:
- 14 built-in stitches
- Extra-high presser foot
- Automatic needle threader
- Free arm
Almost the entire machine, except for a few exterior features, are made out of metal as the Janome HD1000 weighs about 22 pounds. Due to the fewer available stitches, this machine comes at a cheaper price. Yet don’t underestimate this machine.
It can plow its way through any denim project you throw at it. Just be aware that if you want more decorative stitches, you won’t be able to do them with this sewing machine. Besides this disadvantage, the Janome HD1000 can easily be put to heavy use.
Janome HD3000 – Great For Sewing Multiple Layers of Heavy Fabric
The Janome HD3000 is a step up from its distant relative of the Janome HD1000.
It has a slightly higher price tag as you will find this sewing machine has the following features:
- 18 built-in stitches
- One-step buttonhole
- Automatic needle threader
- Foot presser adjustment
- Reverse stitch lever
The Janome HD3000 definitely needs to be placed somewhere at the top of your list as possibly the best sewing machine for heavy fabrics if you plan to work on a ton of denim crafts. This mechanical machine has the power and the speed to get you over the bumpy denim as you will sew beautiful stitches. Beginner and intermediate sewists can watch their skills excel when using this sewing machine.
It is completely made out of metal parts and is on the heavier side at about 24 pounds. Yet it is built to last for a long time. You will have this machine to pass on to your children and grandchildren when they become interested in pursuing their sewing hobbies and professions.
Janome 8077 – Computerized Sewing Machine Perfect for Denim
Some people love to work on computerized sewing machines and need one that can work on denim.
Luckily, there are several available on the market that will do a great job. The Janome 8077 is one such computerized sewing machine that you have to check out as it offers the following benefits:
- 30 built-in stitches
- one-step button-hole
- Automatic needle threader
- Speed control slider
The Janome 8077 costs about the same as the Janome HD3000. Yet the Janome 8077 does come with more stitch options. It also has an exceptionally strong motor despite the fact that many manufacturers of computerized sewing machines are switching out metal parts for memory cards and microprocessors.
Perhaps what makes the Janome 8077 the best heavy duty sewing machine for home use is the feed system. No matter how bumpy and lumpy the denim becomes, it will keep on going without stalling. It won’t matter what thickness the denim is in your project.
One other thing that you may immediately notice is that the machine operates quietly even with the heavy-duty motor. You will be amazed at the speed and control it will give to you.
Singer 9960 – Packed with Stitch Features at an Affordable Price
If you are searching for a sewing machine that has about every stitch imaginable and can work well with denim, the Singer 9960 will not disappoint you.
This computerized sewing machine features 600 built-in stitches as well as the following features:
- 600 built-in stitches
- 13 one-step buttonholes
- Automatic thread cutter
- Automatic needle threader
- Electronic auto-pilot option
The Singer 9960 has everything under the sun that you could possibly need to sew any project imaginable. It is one of the pricier sewing machines on the market. Yet you are definitely getting the best sewing machine that works on upholstery and denim if you are searching for one that is computerized.
There are very few sewing machines out on the market today that has this many built-in stitches and other features. If you are a beginner who has learned all the basics on their old mechanical sewing machine and are looking to upgrade to a computerized one, check out the Singer 9960.
Having said that, if you are doing this for business and receives a lot of order on a daily basis I think investing on a good industrial sewing machine is the best route to go.
If you are a quilting person, the Brother XR9500PRW will give you the most flexibility. With the larger table and quilting options in this machine, you have the capability of working on the thickest of materials without dealing with bunching and missed stitching.
For mostly large professional projects, Singer P-1250 will work fantastically. It allows for the fastest stitching speed, which in turn allows for tighter stitching and the most power out of a machine on the market. With the option of completing any kind of project you can imagine, the possibilities are endless as to the things you can create.
Those that want a great all around sewing machine for denim would be well served by the Singer 4423. It offers a variation of stitches so that you can personalize any project, as well as a great stitching speed of 1,100 per minute. This is ideal for thicker materials, quilting or just completing small projects like hems and new seams or installing a zipper without bunching. For the price, this is the cheapest sewing machine for denim that still allows for all different kinds of projects.Every seamstress has a favorite feature, and for me it is the option of choosing height for the presser foot. No matter what project I take on, I am able to adjust the foot to the height that will be the most beneficial for my material thickness. I can control the bunching, stitch length and strength as well as thread tension with all of these models.
Although I have not personally owned any of these three models, the reviews I read have had nothing but great things to say about each. Everything was mentioned from the thread tension to the ease of threading and use. So whether you are a professional seamstress or you are a beginner, there is a sewing machine for denim that will work for your level and understanding.