Quick Tip: Sewing Stretch Denim

We’re proud to have Brother Sews Ambassador Angela Wolf here to showcase a quick tip for sewing stretch denim with her Brother sewing machine.

In just a few steps, Angela picks a decorative stitch and adds it to her favorite fabric.

Follow this easy video guide to get the most out of your stretch denim and then be sure to stick around for even more tips as well as our answers to your FAQs.

Top 4 tips for sewing or hemming jeans made with stretch denim fabric

Need even more tips after watching our above video tutorial? I’ve got you covered!

Simply follow these four tips on how to sew stretch denim to make the most of your DIY sewing or hemming project.

  1. Wash the material first
  2. While 100% cotton denim is more prone to shrinkage than stretch denim fabric, you can still expect the material to shrink slightly the first time you wash it.

    With this in mind, it's best to prewash your fabrics, including stretch skinny jeans, before getting started with your sewing project to prevent puckering or misshaping.

  3. Use a denim needle
  4. Stretch denim fabric is relatively thick compared to other fabric choices.

    For this reason, you'll want to use a denim needle, which is slightly larger than average, when sewing patterns.

  5. Go slow over double layers of denim

    When running the sewing machine over multiple layers of denim, go slowly and carefully to ensure the denim needle and presser foot can get through.

    If your sewing machine struggles to stitch the fabric, try turning the wheel by hand.

  6. Finish the raw edges
  7. Since denim is prone to fraying, be sure to finish the raw edges of your jeans, jacket, or other denim piece.

    You can use a serger sewing machine or zigzag along the edges of the material before starting with your jeans pattern pieces.

Your hottest stretch denim questions — answered

Find our expert answers to some of the top frequently asked questions about topstitching a stretchy pair of jeans below.

What stitch is best for stretch denim?

A zigzag stitch is generally best for stretch denim because it allows the material to expand and retract with the topstitching thread.

Also, the twin needle applies two rows of topstitching, which provides a more secure, durable finish.

How do you hem stretch jeans on a sewing machine?

When hemming store-bought stretch jeans on a sewing machine, first use a zigzag stitch with a denim needle or a serger for the edges.

Then, pin the bottoms with a half-inch allowance on each leg.

Next, sew all the way around the hems with a straight stitch, finishing with a back stitch over the beginnings and ends.

What is the difference between stretch and non-stretch denim?

Non-stretch denim is typically made of 100% cotton.

Stretch denim jeans, on the other hand, are usually made of a blend of cotton and a small percentage of elastane or Spandex, which makes them stretchy and more flexible.

It’s important to keep in mind that both types of denim are prone to shrinkage, so prewash your fabric before making jeans with either non-stretch or stretch denim.

Getting started with stretch denim

Now that you know the ins and outs of stretch denim, you’re ready to take on this fabric for yourself in your next project!

Are you just getting started with sewing denim and similar materials? Check out our Brother ST513HD Stitch Sewing Machine — it can sew through up to six layers of denim!