Denim fabric is back, make your own denim jackets, skirts, skinny jeans and bootcut jeans. Our new denim fabric range has something for everyone. From the traditional dark blue, hard wearing denim fabric for work wear, to the soft pale blue denim shirting fabric and the slightly stretchy denim for skinny jeans and leggings, Croft Mill fabrics has them all.
In this Blog:
- About Denim fabric.
- Sewing Denim with domestic sewing machine.
- Showcase Croft Mill Denim fabric.
- Denim fabric information sheet, how to sew, cut, seams and top stitching.
- Be Inspired.
What is denim? Taken from wiki
Denim Fabric is a sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces a diagonal ribbing that distinguishes it from cotton duck. The most common denim is indigo denim, in which the warp thread is dyed, while the weft thread is left white.
- Heavy denim fabric works best with structured garments. It’s obviously great for pants and shorts but also works well in jackets, fitted dresses, or skirts.
- Lighter denim fabric: can be used to make more flowing garments, like full skirts, looser dresses, and shirts.
In the last few years, we have seen the trend with denim change, and enhance those of us who have lovely figures. We have seen denim fabric distressed in many ways to show knees, thighs and calves. Croft Mill Fabrics has got a whole new range, of good quality denim fabric in stock. Perfect for those of us who like to sew our own clothing.
Can my domestic sewing machine sew denim fabric?
First of all, most basic home sewing machines can sew thicker fabrics by using the proper needle size and thread resulting in a good overall finish. But if you are going to sew the thick heavier fabrics more often then you need to upgrade to a heavy-duty sewing machine. This is because many basic home sewing machines have plastic gears and relatively weak motors, which can easily wear out if you are consistently sewing heavier fabrics.
The pattern we recommend: Butterick B5682 Available at the time of publishing from Sew Essential. It has various sizes and all types of leg fit. Croft mill has just the denim fabric you need to make a stunning pair of jeans.
About Denim fabric from Croft Mill Fabric’s Alan Boardwell:
Good morning, I’ve been dragged from my sick bed, on this very Wintery morning, to talk to you about Denim. Just how much can you talk about Denim? I am fairly sure I have regaled you in the past, about my experiences about being involved in the manufacture of denim. At that time there was only one sort of denim and that was very heavy quite coarse and all the same colour of blue.
You may well be aware that at the time it was only used in the manufacture of workwear and that can mean anything from rounding up the cattle in the Wild West to the digging and be filling up of holes anywhere in the world. In my time at Smith and Nephew, we made the best denim in the world, which didn’t go unnoticed to the major uses of denim, namely the Americans. We got involved at the time with Wrangler.
You cannot believe the quality standards that had to be met in order to satisfy them. Only superseded I have to say, by Marks and Spencer, basically they wanted a cloth that was flawless. And the yarns that you make denim from can’t be flawless, they’re not meant to be or weren’t at the time anyway. So here we are a long way from that, we have different weaves, and different weights different colours, different end usages.
Plain Denim Fabrics
Fantastic Denim Prints.
Croft Mill Denim Fabric information sheet.
- Washing denim fabric very important!!!!! It shrinks and can lose a bit of colour. As a result, pre-washing will soften heavy fabrics, making it easier to manage while sewing it.
- Purchase the correct sewing needles: Schmetz and other needle makers have a jeans or denim needle for sewing these fabrics. They are designed to puncture through multiple layers of thick fabric. For finer denim, you can use a 90/14 needle. For a denim jersey you would use a jersey needle, for the heavier denim use the 100/16 needle.
- Cutting out: Use SHARP scissors or new blade on your rotary cutter, it makes cutting the layers easier and clean.
- Finishing: Heavy duty snaps, riveted jeans buttons, and heavy metal zippers all pair well with denim. For lighter denim shirts, skirts or dresses you can go with standard buttons and studs.
Tips for sewing and working with Denim Fabrics
- When cutting: make sure that the grain lines are aligned correctly. If you cut your fabric off grain, you’re likely to encounter twisting in arms and legs.
- When sewing: If your chosen denim fabric frays a lot, zig-zag or serge the raw edges, before putting it all together.
- Some denim garments use a heavier weight thread to top-stitch seams, on the right side. This is to provide extra support and is a “trademark” of denim. Use a regular all-purpose thread in the bobbin.
- Sewing thick fabric: If your denim fabric is the typical heavyweight, jeans sort of denim, lengthen your stitches to about 3mm. This will help it feed evenly through the feed dog of your machine.
- Prevent Stretching: Sometimes denim can stretch while you sew it, try holding it firmly in front and back of your needle. Just hold it together, DO NOT PULL as that will cause stretching. You should just be holding firm enough to guide it under the needle. You may want to use a walking foot to help feed through evenly.
- Iron as you go: for good looking seams. Use a high heat setting on your iron and plenty of steam for a nice flat denim for top stitching.
- Make sewing easier: To reduce the bulk, press seam allowances open whenever you can, especially if you need to sew across the same seam.
- If you have two seam allowances meeting, for example where the legs meet at the crotch, try to offset them.
- Work slowly when sewing over thick seams. You may need to turn the wheel by hand to pass over thicker layers of fabric. This prevents damage to the needle and the machine.
- Raise the presser foot when sewing really thick seams and put it down again once you have passed the “thick” seam.
Sewing the seams and topstitching.Seams
- Types of seams: We use flat felled seams for sewing Denim fabric but there are different types of flat felled seams. There are the French seam, mock French seam and the Hong Kong finish. These methods make the wrong side of the seam look as good as the right side. Your regular sewing machine can sew the standard flat felled seam.
- Why use a felled seam? The flat felled seam is usually on the inside seam as well as the crotch seam where there’s the most stress. Flat felled seams are known for being strong, durable and comfortable for the wearer. They’re also ideal for anything that will be washed repeatedly.
- How to sew a felled seam: There is a blog by Heather Lou which has pictures and a good example of how to sew flat felled seams. https://closetcasepatterns.com/ginger-sewalong-pt-4-seam-finishes-for-jeans/
Top stitching: Traditionally an orange thread was used on dark denim but you can use any colour you like.
- What thread is best? Use a Heavy Duty thread on the top and regular thread in the bobbin.
- What stitch should I use? A longer straight stitch length 3.5 or 4 which will sew easily and look good.
- How do I do the pocket design? When doing pocket design, trace the design on all pocket pieces, and sew them before attaching them to the garment.
If you have bits of fabric left over, take a look at our Bucket Hat Blog where we have a free pattern download to make a denim bucket hat.
Check this website out for a full tutorial on sewing denim jeans.