How to Sew: Tips and Tricks for Sewing Denim

These tips and tricks for denim will help you excel with any denim project you try.

By: Nichole Pientka, Editor,
How to Sew Tips and Tricks for Sewing Denim

If you love denim fabric, you'll want to learn how to sew with denim. Sewing denim doesn't seem that difficult, but there are tricky aspects to working with it. Denim is a sturdy material, which makes it ideal for making pants, bags, and anything else that requires some wear and tear. Another great thing about sewing with denim is that it doesn’t cost much to buy for sewing projects. Denim is also a great fabric to upcycle, especially from jeans that don’t fit you anymore. 

Whether you are working with recycled or upcycled denim, or freshly made denim fabric, there are some specifics about this style of fabric that you need to know before starting to sew. You may be working on a completely-denim piece or only using denim elements, but either way, you will want to know how to sew denim and work it before you get too far and find there have been some mistakes.

After you have read these tips and tricks, keep scrolling down to our last section for some denim sewing patterns to try! Denim crafts are always in fashion and many of them involve sewing.

How to Sew: Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Denim

History of Denim:

First, here is some background information you may not have known about denim:

The name for denim comes from the place it originated, which was Nimes, France. It was "from Nimes" or "de Nimes," which became "denim."

Denim is a rugged cotton twill fabric, which makes it a strong textile to use for many different purposes.

Because of its ruggedness, denim was first used by workers to wear for heavy labor as it survived the wear and tear of their work.

Denim Sewing Tips and Tricks for Beginners:

Now, here are the tips and tricks for sewing with denim if you’re just learning how to sew with it:

  • Always pre-wash your denim fabric because it can shrink and some of the color will fade out because it’s a dyed cotton fabric. In order to get the color just right, you can put some vinegar in the water when you rinse it or let it soak in warm water with vinegar overnight. Washing will also soften it, which will make it easier to work with.
  • If you really want to be safe, wash your denim twice!
  • Use sharp scissors or a new blade in your rotary cutter when cutting denim.
  • If your denim starts fraying, serge the raw edges after cutting out your pattern pieces.
  • There are specific needles for denim! They will be sharper and will last longer than regular needles.
  • Your denim may stretch while you’re sewing it, so make sure you’re holding it tight in the front and back of your needle without pulling the fabric. To combat this even more, try lowering the foot pressure if your sewing machine has that option.
  • As usual, slow but steady is better!
  • Using heavy-duty pins will work best.
  • When pressing after completing your sewing project, press the seams well and use a lot of steam. 

Even if you know how to sew with denim, hopefully you learned something new about the history of denim or some new sewing hacks for the next time you sew with denim. 

PLUS! Denim Sewing Patterns:

Before you go, be sure to take a look at these fun and useful denim sewing projects featured on our site. We love working with denim because it's so versatile. From clothing to home decor, and everything in between, this variously-shaded blue fabric is always going to be popular.

  1. Sewn DIY Denim Oven Mitt (video tutorial)

BONUS! Watch this video tutorial for Upcycled Denim Jean Fringed Coasters. So cool and super thrifty!

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To make a jacket from a sweatshirt covered with embroidered denim patches, do you embroider the denim or cut out the patches first?


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