Tips and trick on how to sew with thicker and heavier fabrics

Loving that nice thick and heavy corduroy or denim fabric but aren’t sure where to start? These fabrics are especially great choices for fall and winter garments and will look great and keep you warm. Durable fabrics like these are also great for sewing patterns for kids but can be a little bit tricky to work with.  

green corduroy overalls on wall with yellow flower

Ok so you do want a heavier fabric, but where to start?

They aren’t always easy to work with. Here are some quick and easy tips to help you with get going on your next sewing project. 

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Use the right needle for your fabrics. Look for a larger, heavier needle, such as a denim or leather needle, that can penetrate the thicker fabric. A brand new needle will be sharper and through the fabric best. 
  2. Adjust your presser foot: Switch to a walking or even-feed presser foot to help prevent fabric from getting caught or bunched up under the foot.  This will also ensure that the fabric feeds evenly on both sides.  
  3. Increase stitch length: Set your stitch length to a longer setting to avoid breaking the needle or damaging the fabric.
  4. Choose the right thread: Use a heavy-duty or upholstery thread that can handle the extra stress of thicker fabrics.
  5. Adjust the tension: Adjust the tension on your sewing machine to ensure the stitches are not too loose or too tight.
  6. Look for places to use a lighter weight fabric, such as the inside of a waistband or lining of a top like on the overalls shown above. 
  7. Trim your seam allowances short to avoid bunching where the seams meet. 
  8. Make sure your pattern can handle the heavier weight fabric. (raises hand as I’ve made this mistake a lot!). It won’t fit as well in the finished garment. 
  9. Take your time and go slowly when sewing thick fabrics. This will give you a neat, professional result. 

Don’t be afraid to try! 

If you are like me and fall in love with a fabric or a particular look that you want to make, don’t be afraid to try. Yes you will make mistakes and probably have some struggles. If you aren't cursing your sewing machine are you even trying? (Or maybe that is just me.) As you go, you’ll learn to be a better sewer from the process.

More choices:

If you are willing to try you’ll get even more options on your next fabric shopping trip. Opening up the range of fabrics to choose from means you can get more options out of each pattern that you may already have. 

Get started:

By following these tips, you can successfully sew thick fabrics and create beautiful and functional sewing projects. With practice you can add some skills to your sewing repertoire and open up your fabric selection to even more choices. Good luck!

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