10 tips from the experts: How to sew with denim

Sewing with denim can be an easy skill to master if you have a little time and patience. With the right sewing machine and sewing equipment, you can easily stitch your favourite pair of jeans or design stylish denim clothing on a professional level. A useful sewing machine that has multiple functions like the Empisal Expression 889 would be ideal for this role. If you’re wondering how to sew with denim, use this guide and you’ll be creating beautiful denim pieces in no time.

Tips to help you sew with denim 

  1. Choose the right needle: The size of the needle depends on the size of fabric you are working on. Heavy fabrics like denim require a size 18 needle and size 14 for lighter denim. Make sure to change these needles occasionally if you’re going to be sewing for a long period of time as needles tend to wear out over time.
  2. Choose the right sewing machine: A standard presser foot should be just fine but consider using a walking foot to keep denim from moving around when you’re working with the fabric.
  3. Use good ironing equipment: Denim is a tough material. Using a steam press will allow your tough denim fabric to stay in place when sewing and helps you create perfect stitches.
  4. Use the best fabric for your design: It’s important to choose the right denim for your garment. Heavy denim fit for jeans and denim jackets while lighter denim would work best for dresses or skirts. Prewash the fabric before sewing to get the most out of material and to make the color pop.
  5. Use sharp tools: Sewing equipment that is sharp and strong for denim is necessary for the best cut. Use only professional sewing scissors as well as sharp rotary cutters.
  6. Topstitching: Denim fabric gets a lot of stress because of its tough material. Using heavy jeans threads or upholstery threads will help keep stitches in place. Some denim requires a longer stitch than normal fabrics.
  7. Pay attention to seams: You can reduce bulk when sewing denim as much as possible by trimming seam allowances, clipping curves, and ironing corners. It is easy to break your needle or go off base with denim so take your time and hold the fabric firmly for easy seaming. Make sure to grade and trim seams as you stitch.
  8. Use a Jean-a-majig: Prevent problems with your sewing machine by leveling off your machine foot with a jean-a-majig. This will ensure your fabrics are spaced evenly and run smoothly in the machine during sewing.
  9. Fit your denim as you sew: For the best fit, make sure to fit the material while you’re sewing so that you can determine which areas need to be worked on. Sewing one area at a time before fitting can allow you to adjust each area as needed.
  10. Take your time: Jeans are a tough fabric to sew but slow and steady wins the race here. With extra patience, you can easily complete your design in no time. Use a completed pair of jeans or denim item as inspiration as a sewing guide to what you wish to achieve.


For over 35 years, Empisal has been supplying sewing equipment to Southern Africa that caters to every sewing project need. From overlockers to affordable sewing machines, we have it all. For more information on how to sew with denim, contact us today