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Denim has been able to stand the test of time thanks to its durability and strength. This also means it’s not the easiest thing to sew with your average domestic sewing machine. The best sewing machine for denim needs to be able to sew through multiple layers of fabric, produce unskipped stitches and possess a strong motor. While industrial sewing machines can do this very easily, they’re not entirely practical or accessible for the average home sewist. Fortunately, there is a range of domestic sewing machines available to anyone working on jeans and denim products at home that fall under the range of ‘heavy duty’ sewing machines. Whether you’re just altering your jeans, upcycling denim, or planning to create a pair of your own from scratch, below is a list of the best sewing machines for denim.
You could probably try your luck with your average domestic sewing machine for sewing denim. Once-off alterations can be done quite well with the right needles and thread but if you’re going to regularly work with denim, you will wear that machine out. Heavy-duty machines are a must for anyone who wants to frequently work with jeans and denim. These machines are often made from metal frames, unlike the plastic of most domestic machines, which help house their strong motors. They’re mostly available as electric machines but there are a few models that are computerized though this isn’t a necessity. The most important features are their composition, speed (or stitches per minute), stitch variety, and accessories (such as bobbin cases, needles, sewing feet, etc.).
The best sewing machine for jeans under $200
Brother is another world-renowned brand for sewing machine products. The Strong and Tough machine delivers on its name as a contender for the best sewing machine for jeans.
The machine comes with 37 stitch options, which include blind hem and stretch stitches beyond your regular utility straight and buttonhole stitches. Its metal needle plate is specifically built formulated to work with heavyweight needles–a must when sewing heavyweight fabrics like denim.
This machine is a great deal as it comes with 6 sewing feet, which isn’t very common. Besides a general-purpose and zipper foot, you can also enjoy a buttonhole and button sewing foot, blindstitch foot, and a spring action zigzag foot which makes this quite the bargain. The machine has a strong motor and produces 800 stitches a minute.
The Brother Strong and Tough is complete with an instructional DVD making it great for complete novices.
At the lower end of the cost spectrum, the Singer 4452 is a more affordable contender for the best sewing machine for jeans. This machine is strong enough to handle a variety of denim and jeans projects at 1,100 stitches per minute which is above the industry standard for heavy-duty machines. This means that you can sew faster through thicker layers without having to worry about uneven, skipped stitches and machine jamming.
The machine also has the very convenient feature of an automatic needle threader! You’ll never have to strain your eyes or battle tiny needle eyes threading your machine like the Singer 4452 takes care of all of that for you. We rarely think about how much of our time is taken from our projects because we have to concentrate so hard on small objects.
The machine is great for a variety of your denim projects thanks to its 1-step buttonhole along with over 100 stitch applications from your regular straight stitches, to stretch stitches and several decorative stitches that open up an entire world of embroidery and quilting for your denim projects.
The best sewing machine for jeans under $400
This heavy-duty machine is one of the best sewing machine for jeans especially if you’re a beginner sewist. Singer is one of the oldest sewing machine companies in the world, producing machines since the 1800s! You can rely on this brand for trustworthy and reliable machinery.
This machine has 23 stitch options, including a one-step buttonhole, which allows for regular straight stitching and decorative finishing. The machine also has a built-in needle threader which will save you time and the eye strain of tiny needle eyes. The Singer Heavy Duty comes with a general-purpose sewing foot as well as a zipper foot, buttonhole foot, needles, and bobbins as well as in-machine storage for you to store all of these accessories.
What makes this machine especially great for sewing denim and jeans is its incredibly motor which can allow you to stitch 1,100 stitches a minute. That’s almost a third more than the industry standard.
One of the heavier machines at 15 pounds, the Janome HD1000 isn’t incredibly portable. But that does make it quite the workhorse. Due to its weight, it’s not recommended for anyone who wants to travel frequently with their machine but it’s still a great home sewing option.
The sewing machine has 14 stitch options, from your utility stitches, to stretch and a 4-step buttonhole stitch. You can also easily adjust the length of your stitches with the dial above the reverse stitching lever. The machine comes with your standard accessories of bobbin cases, screwdriver, needles, zipper, and buttonhole foot — all of which can be stored within the machine. The Janome HD1000 also has an automatic needle threader which will speed up a lot of your sewing.
The Janome HD1000 has shown to last a long time, with the option to perform light services by yourself barring any serious issues should any flare-up.
The best sewing machine for jeans under $600
The HD3000 isn’t too dissimilar to Janome’s HD1000 as both heavy-duty machines offer 860 stitches per minute and are fantastic options for denim. Where the HD3000 surpasses its sister machine is in its weight, 18 pounds versus the HD1000’s 15 pounds, and it comes with many more features that make it much closer to an industrial sewing machine than a domestic machine. This sewing machine is most ideal for intermediate to experience sewists who will be undertaking large or heavy sewing projects daily or almost daily.
It works great with both lightweight and heavyweight fabrics, making it a great all-rounder and the powerful motor ensures that you can sew even, neat stitches at fast speeds. The machine’s 7 piece dog feed will also assist with ensuring that thick or particularly difficult fabrics will glide over the metal needle plate smoothly and easily.
What also makes the HD3000 the best sewing machine for denim are its accessories. This machine arrives at you with a variety of sewing feet from your general-purpose foot to zipper and buttonhole foot to even a rolled hem and blind hem foot–which are usually feet you’d have to buy separately. You can enjoy up to 18 stitches which include straight, stretch, overcast, and embroidery stitches.
This is a rarer sight: a computerized heavy-duty sewing machine. With a computerized sewing machine, choosing stitches, length selection, and other features are all done at the touch of a few buttons. The 740DC sewing machine features a needle up/down button (as opposed to a lever you would manually pull), an automatic bobbin winding system, and a built-in needle threader. You can also lock stitch settings, such as length, type, and tension into your machine which will make switching between projects very fluid.
There are three different 1-step buttonholes along with 4 straight stitches, overcasting and hemming stitches, decorative stitches, and stretch stitches. Interestingly, the machine comes with a start and stop button which means you don’t need a foot pedal for the machine.
The best sewing machine for jeans under $800
This is a real powerhouse of a sewing machine that can work through denim, leather, and quilting projects at 1,500 stitches a minute! That’s over and above the standard 800 to 1000 stitches of most heavy-duty machines. This definitely ranks the Juki TL-2000Qi as the best sewing machine for denim if just for its speed.
While this is a very powerful machine, it’s not recommended for absolute beginners or anyone who won’t be sewing very often–such as almost daily. The machine does require a sewist who has intermediate to advanced experience and understanding of sewing machines. The Juki TL-2000Qi is virtually a few steps from being a portable industrial machine. This machine is most ideal for the sewist who will be working with lots of denim very often.
If that’s you then you can enjoy an automatic needle threader, a die-cast arm, and a bed that will reduce all the vibration and shaking regular domestic machines endure with heavy denim and there’s an included extension table for larger projects.
One of the Brother PQ1500SL’s best features is its knee lifter which allows you to lift the needle foot without having to remove your hands from your sewing. This is especially great when you’re working with slippery materials like elastic you need to stretch onto your jeans. There’s an automatic needle threader too which makes the process even more seamless.
The Brother PQ1500SL is the definition of heavy-duty, allowing you to sew up to 1,500 stitches per minute. You can get through thick and dense layers of denim without any skipped stitches, jamming, or shakiness. There are 7 sewing feet included: general-purpose, zipper, invisible zipper, rolled hem, spring action quilting foot, and a walking foot. The machine is also equipped with a table attachment for larger products and an included cone thread stand.