Hey gang; it’s jean sew-along month!  This month I am giving tips to get your sewing your own jeans.  First up for me are tips to sew denim.

Denim is one of those fabrics people avoid because it’s thick, which means that when you fold it or sew two pieces together it just gets thicker.  But if you handle it correctly, sewing your own jeans is not that hard.  Really.  I promise – I sewed mine in an afternoon.

So here are my


  • Cut with sharp scissors
  • Use the right needle
  • Use the right thread
  • Use a Jean-a-ma-jig
  • Go slow

Really that’s all there is to it.  But let’s delve into each a little more depth.


Sharp scissors.

Really, this one is kind of obvious.  I mean, I’m not sure when, in sewing, you’d want dull scissors.  So let’s move on.


denim needle

Use the right needle.

There are jean needles that you can buy especially for sewing jeans.  But i don’t use them.  I just make sure to have at least a size 90/14 universal needle (100/16 for thicker denim) and all is well.  Needles should be matched to the thickness for the fabric you’re sewing.  Denim is at least a size 90.  Voile? Well for that you’re going to want to go 70/11.  Not so hard, right?

guterman jean

Use the right thread.

For the regular seams, I use all purpose thread.  But for the topstitching that comes with flat felling, I switch to Heavy Duty thread.


Use a Jean-a-ma-jig.

Sewing through multiple layers, like the seams on jeans, can be tricky, especially if they layers don’t lie completely flat on the sewing surface.  The jean-a-ma-jig solves this problem.  While its’ a very simple-looking plastic tool, it’s incredibly helpful.  I’ve even used it with my mother’s sewing machine from the 1980’s.  A first glance it can be confusing to figure out what to do with this odd-looking gadget.  However, in three easy steps you can get perfect results.  Here’s how:

1.  Sew through layers until the presser foot starts to angle as shown below;

jeanamajig step 1

2.  Insert jean-a-ma-jig behind presser foot so it lays flat on the jean-a-ma-jig and your fabric. Sew until the presser foot starts to angle towards you and is not lying flat.

jeanamajig step 2

3.  Insert the jean-a-ma-jig in front of the presser foot and sew until the presser foot is completely off the uneven sewing area.

jeanamajig step 3

Go slow.

This, like sharp scissors, is kind of an obvious one.  There are lots of places on the jeans where you might even want to hand-crank the flywheel to get through.  And that’s perfectly fine – it’s easier to slow down and do it right than to have to pull out the seam ripper and take out stitches