20 Best Tips for Sewing Denim

Last Updated on November 11, 2023

It’s been a while, but I’m thrilled to be back with a new article, especially one that involves one of my favorite things: sewing denim.

Today, I’m channeling my inner hero, Best Genus from the anime My Hero Academia, to bring you some essential tips for mastering the art of denim sewing.

Best Tips for Sewing Denim


  • Denim should always be washed before stitching to pre-shrink and make the cloth more workable. To avoid fraying, finish raw edges before washing.
  • Use the right thread sizes and a jeans needle. For durability, spend money on high-quality hardware, such as metal buttons and zippers.
  • Modify the stitch length and tension according to the various denim weights. To determine the ideal settings, experiment with scraps.
  • Use steam and a hot iron to press hemlines and seams. For heavier denim, use clips rather than pins to prevent needle damage.
  • To sew over bulky regions smoothly, use tricks like grading seam allowances and using a hump jumper.

Best Tips for Sewing Denim

Best Tips for Sewing Denim

So, grab your sewing machines, and let’s dive right in!

  1. Pre-Wash Your Denim: Washing denim before sewing is crucial. It not only pre-shrinks the fabric but also makes it softer and more manageable. Remember to finish the raw edges before washing to prevent fraying.
  2. Cut On Grain: Cutting denim fabric on grain ensures that the fabric pieces maintain their shape and drape as intended. When the fabric is cut on the grain, it won’t twist or distort after sewing.
  3. Cut Single Layers: If your denim is exceptionally thick, avoid cutting it on the fold. Cutting it one layer at a time ensures accuracy and precision, especially when dealing with heavy fabrics.
  4. Use Jeans Needles: Jeans needles are specifically designed for sewing through thick fabrics like denim. They have a stronger shaft that prevents breakage and allows for smooth sewing even through multiple layers.
  5. Match Needle and Thread Size: Ensure that the eye of the needle is 40% larger than the thread size. This allows the thread to move freely through the needle while sewing, preventing jams and breakage.
  6. Press Seams and Hemlines: Pressing is key to achieving professional-looking denim projects. Use a hot iron and steam to press seams and hemlines flat. This not only sets the stitches but also provides a polished finish.
  7. Use Topstitching Thread: Topstitching thread is thicker and adds decorative elements to your denim projects. Switch to this heavier thread for topstitching to enhance the durability and aesthetics of your seams.
  8. Adjust Stitch Length and Tension: Adjust your sewing machine’s stitch length and tension for sewing denim, especially thicker varieties. Experiment on a scrap piece of denim to find the right settings that create strong, even stitches.
  9. Choose the Right Presser Foot: Invest in a jeans foot or a walking foot. These specialized presser feet help feed the fabric evenly through the machine, preventing uneven stitches and puckering.
  10. Use Strong Hardware: Denim garments require sturdy closures. Opt for metal zippers, buttons, rivets, and buckles that can withstand the weight and wear of denim.
  11. Use Hump Jumper or Cardboard: Sewing over bulky areas can be challenging. Use a hump jumper, a tool that keeps the presser foot level as you sew over thick seams. Alternatively, slide a piece of cardboard under the presser foot to maintain an even sewing surface.
  12. Practice Hemming on Scrap Denim: Hemming denim requires adjusting stitch length and tension. Practice on a scrap piece of denim before hemming your actual project to achieve the desired look.
  13. Use Clips Instead of Pins: Denim is often heavy and can bend or break sewing pins. Use clips to hold fabric layers together securely without damaging your needles.
  14. Hold Fabric Taut: While sewing, gently hold the fabric taut from both ends. This helps prevent skipped stitches and ensures a smooth, even seam.
  15. Use Flat Fell Seams: Flat fell seams enclose raw edges on the outside of the garment, providing a neat finish. This technique adds durability to your seams, making them less prone to fraying.
  16. Use Bias Tape: Cover raw edges with bias tape to prevent fraying. This method results in a clean edge on the inside of the garment, enhancing its overall appearance and longevity.
  17. Grade Seam Allowances: Reduce bulk in areas with multiple layers, such as collars and cuffs, by trimming stacked seam allowances at different lengths. This technique ensures a more comfortable fit and a cleaner finish.
  18. Overlap Stitch Lines: Instead of backstitching, overlap stitch lines at the beginning and end of your seams. This technique reduces bulk, providing your projects a cleaner, more professional look.
  19. Use Two Strands of Regular Thread: If you don’t have heavy topstitching thread, use two strands of regular thread threaded through the needle simultaneously. This method mimics the appearance of heavy topstitching thread.
  20. Hammer Bulky Seams: Hammer bulky seams over a hard surface after folding and pressing the hem in place. This flattens the seam, making it less conspicuous and more comfortable to wear.


I hope these denim sewing tips help you confidently tackle your next project! Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and refine your techniques.

Sewing denim can be challenging, but with the right tools, techniques, and a bit of patience, you’ll be creating stylish denim garments in no time.

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