The fabric you sew on greatly affects the machine type and style that you will need to do the best job. This is especially true of thick and tough fabrics such as denim. Denim is a man woven fabric specifically manufactured to be extra tough and this means that a special heavy-duty machine is needed to work with it.
These machines are specifically manufactured to be tougher and stronger on these harder to work with fabrics. They are not as common as regular machines though, and this can lead to some confusion when you are trying to purchase the right one for your needs.
We are here to help you out with this. Below are our top picks for the best sewing machine for denim and jeans.
Best Sewing Machines for Denim and Jeans
1. Brother Machine, ST150HDH
This machine by Brother literally says strong and tough on the side, so you know it means business. This heavy-duty model comes with 9 different sewing feet, a full set of heavyweight sewing needles as well as a detailed instruction manual on how best to use this fantastic device.
This machine is so confident in its abilities that it is even suggested that it can sew through multiple layers of denim, as a result of the longer feed dogs no doubt.
There is a backlit display on the side of the casing that shows all the vital data to sew efficiently as well as an advanced needle threader and a solid number of 50 built-in stitches.
2. Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
This heavy-duty sewing machine is just perfect for denim and jeans or any thicker materials and fabric for that matter. It has a 7 piece feed dog and a 6,5 mm heavy-duty frame that also comes with a hardcover.
There is a built-in needle threader that works very well all the time and saves you the added effort of playing with the thread every time you start a new job.
This model is special because it has metal gears inside when most usually use nylon ones, which makes it very resistant and sturdy. The type of gears a machine has is the main factor in determining how long-lasting and rugged it will be.
3. SINGER | Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine
This heavy-duty beast from Singer has a multitude of features that make it very good at working with all fabrics. You can make anything from a delicate dress to a sturdy denim jacket. It has 32 built-in stitches and 1 automatic, one step, buttonhole.
The needle threader is automatic too, helping you easily thread the eye of the needle without risk of eye strain or just good old frustration and stress. This machine is also fast, very fast. It can achieve up to 1,100 stitches per minute so your work can be finished in the best possible time.
The motor is very strong and tough and made from solid steel giving 60% more strength than other nylon motors. Heavyweight fabrics can be used easily. As a bonus, you get four heavy-duty accessories that make your life easier.
The stainless steel bed plate on this model gives a very smooth flow and you will feel nothing but skip-free sewing.
4. Brother ST371HD Strong and Tough Sewing Machine
You know a machine is strong and tough when it advertises this on the side in body type, and this model does exactly that. Winner of the Women’s choice award in 2019, this model has an automatic needle threader and a drop-in top bobbin that will resist all jams.
You get a cool instructional DVD that will guide you through all of the fantastic features, on top of the regular manual. The feed arm is very versatile and supports a wide range of sewing types and fabrics for advanced use.
It makes good use of 6 heavyweight needles, 6 sewing feet and can achieve 37 different stitches in total. On the side is an easy stitch selector that can be controlled using a physical dial, with each stitch printed clearly on the machine.
5. Janome MC-6300P Professional Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
This machine by Janome is both professional and heavy-duty, capable of working with the thickest of fabric types with ease. It allows you to use 66 stitches and 4 different buttonholes.
There is a knee lift and drop feed controls as well as a simple yet effective LED display with various alert lights. You can even do block and script monograms with this model. There is an automatic thread cutter so you can retire the scissors too.
You will also be provided with a neat little storage box to keep all your bobbins, thread and needles in. Under the top hood, there is a cool picture guide to all the different stitches you can choose with this model.
6. Janome HD1000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine with 14 Built-In Stitches
This heavy-duty sewing machine for heavy-duty use is a simple yet sturdy machine for those on a tighter budget. It has 14 built-in stitches, and a simple to operate four-step buttonhole. The body of this machine is made from strong aluminum and will last a long time even with constant heavy-duty use.
You get a lot of accessories with this model such as bobbins, extra needles and two screwdrivers amongst many others. It has a built-in free arm that lets you sew anything from pants to collars and cuffs, as well as drop feeding for darning, stippling, attaching buttons and other free motion applications.
In addition to all this, it has an automatic needle threader to ease those stressful needle threading situations. Even though it does not have many builtin stitches, the many features of this simple device make it one of the best sewing machines for denim and jeans on a budget.
7. JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine
This model by the relatively unknown brand Juki is a heavy-duty sewing and quilting machine that covers all the bases. Recently updated with LED lights and a one-pedal operation it can reach a high number of 1500 stitches per minute.
All the mod cons are present, such as the automatic needle threader. The arm is made from the highest quality cast aluminum that gives you the smallest amount of feedback and vibration when sewing for a steady job.
Included in this pretty enticing package is a large extension table so that you can tackle even the biggest of jobs. Please be aware though that this machine is not simply plugged in and play like a lot of others. It has a steep learning curve that has to be tackled before you can get the best out of it.
The frame is very strong and the sound that this machine produces is very low considering all that power. Just remember to read the instructions and watch a few youtube videos before starting with this one.
How to Choose the Best Sewing Machine for Denim and Jeans
Here is our guide on what to look out for when considering a purchase of a heavy-duty sewing machine for denim or jeans.
Gears and motor
The most important aspect of the machine that affects its ruggedness and long lastingness, especially when working with thick fabrics such as denim, is the materials the gears are made from. Most machines today have gears made from nylon or plastic.
This is fine for regular use but they will have a shorter lifespan and eventually, they will buckle and break. You will then have to pay for new gears or replace the machine completely. A few models have metal gears, and these are the ones that will last you a lifetime, albeit costing more.
Another important part of the design of a heavy-duty sewing machine is the number of feed dogs on the sewing base. These are responsible for feeding the fabric through the machine in set stages.
The heavier and thicker the fabric is, the more feed dogs are needed to do their job well. Five feed dogs is the minimum we would suggest for a heavy-duty denim machine.
Extra high presser foot
An extra high presser foot allows you to work with many layers of fabric as well as thick fabrics beneath the foot very easily. Denim is such a thick material that it will have difficulty making it under regular height presser feet on domestic machines.
It is important to have a leveling button to reduce the number of broken needles on your heavy-duty machine – needles often break when used in denim fabric. It gives you the ability to adjust the presser foot in relation to the thickness of the fabric and to keep it level.
The sewing capacity of a machine is decided by the number of available stitches it has. The more the merrier and the more versatile your sewing will be. Stitches per minute is also a factor.
The best quality heavy duty sewing machines are able to provide more stitches per minute than regular machines, being more efficient.
Usually, they range between 800 and 2000. The higher the SPM, the better and smoother the ‘sewing feel’ is and the easier the machine will be able to sew through tough fabric.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a regular sewing machine sew denim?
Not really. A regular sewing machine will be missing quite a few components that are needed to make the experience of sewing thick denim much more manageable.
If you are sewing denim on one of these machines, you will find that the needle sticks or breaks, you can’t feed the fabric under the presser foot and even that the motor and gears might break too. Heavy-duty machines have many specially tailored components that avoid such pitfalls.
What thread should I use for denim?
Jeans thread is a cotton-polyester that is very thick and long-lasting compared to other fabrics such as silk or cotton. This thread has a gold color that looks like the topstitch on most jeans. Make sure you also use all-purpose thread in the bobbin with jeans thread to combine the two colors.
Is denim hard to sew?
Denim tends to be one of those materials that people avoid because they feel it is harder to work with. This is only the case if you are using the wrong set of tools to complete the job.
Heavy-duty sewing machines have it all covered and will make sewing with denim as easy and straightforward as any other fabric.
How to maintain a heavy-duty sewing machine?
First, purchase a good cover to keep it dust and moisture-free – you don’t want lint build-up to cause problems. Next, make sure you change all the needles regularly, as they tend to become dull over time and cause skipped stitches and overall difficulty to sew.
Lastly, make sure you take the machine to be serviced by a professional at the very least once a year, but more if you can afford it. And always look at the manual for any specific model advice for increasing your device’s lifespan.