Denim Fabric: A Guide And Sewing Tips

There’s nothing quite like a good pair of denim jeans, is there? It’s such a versatile fabric which only improves with age and wear. We have the French to thank for denim, originally woven in the town of Nîmes for overalls and sailcloth it was known as “serge de Nîmes” which got shortened to  “de Nîmes” and the name was born.

Denim is a strong and durable twill woven fabric made from 100% cotton. Traditionally the warp yarns are dyed an indigo colour and the weft yarn is left undyed which is why true denim fabric is different colours on either side (for real fabric geeks, if your denim is the same colour on both sides it’s actually jean fabric, not denim!)

We have recently started stocking denim, you can see our collection here and we carry a range of weights and colours. We also have stretch denim which is particularly great for clothing makes.

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Uses for Denim Fabric

Denim is super versatile. As it’s 100% cotton it’s great for casual wear clothing such as jeans, skirts, jackets, shorts, children’s clothes, workwear overalls and protective clothing. As denim is very hardwearing it would also be great for home wear items such as oven gloves, cushions, decorative upholstery and bags.

A Guide to Denim Weights

Denim comes in a vast array of weights and one of our most frequently asked questions is whether a denim classes as light, medium or heavy weight.

  1. Lightweight – or under 12 Oz.
  2. Mid-weight – or from 12 Oz. – 16 Oz.
  3. Heavyweight – anything above 16 Oz.

The rule is the heavier the denim, the better it will age and fade *but* heavier weight denim will be very stiff to start off with and take time to wear in and soften. The most common denims used and the easiest to handle are the light and medium weight.

Sewing With Denim

Denim is a rough and tough fabric and the main problem is poses for sewing is the thickness of the fabric,  as such you need to right kit for the job to ensure success.

1) Use a denim needle which are stronger then “normal” needles and have a sharper point both of which will help you sew through a heavier fabric.

2) Use denim thread, it’s stronger and especially important on stress seams.

3) Go slowly! Those layers of denim might leave your machine struggling, if that’s the case then slow down and use your hand wheel.

4) Reduce bulk. Some machines will glide through layers of denim with no issues, others might not have the wellie needed to cope. If this is the case then reduce bulk where you can by pressing seams out flat or by using thinner fabrics as facings of linings which is not only practical, but will also add some pretty design features to your work. You can also trim seams right back to your stitching line (being careful not to cut your stitches of course)

5) Use a longer stitch length, about 3-3.5 should do it.

Have you made anything lately with denim? I’d love to see photos if you have!

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How To Restore Plush (Minky) Remnants

Plush, minky, cuddle fabric… whatever you like to call it! (For an update on why we don’t call the fabric “minky” in the UK like the rest of the world does see this post) There’s no mistaking the lusciousness that started me on the road to our online shop. The trouble is (for us) the last 50cm-75cm of every bolt we have can only be sold as a fabric remnant. The pile near to the centre of the bolt gets brushed up the wrong way and crushed when the weight of the rest of the fabric piles on top of it. Then it’s stored by the manufacturer for a while and in that time unfortunately the pile goes a bit wayward and no amount of stroking it puts it back to it’s former glory. The fabric isn’t permanently like this as the pile isn’t damaged per se, it’s just got a bit of bed hair so needs a little coaxing to restore it. Continue reading “How To Restore Plush (Minky) Remnants”

Fabric Guide: Linen Look Cotton

We’ve just had a bumper delivery of linen look cotton in some beautiful prints so I thought I’d write pen a quick guide about it so you can drool in a more informed way 🙂

DSC_0020 Continue reading “Fabric Guide: Linen Look Cotton”

A Waterproof Fabric Guide

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Image Source: Michael Miller

Following on from my popular post about the fabric possibilities for dribble bibs I thought it would be a good idea to run a  series of these posts to talk about the other more specialist fabrics we stock in the Plush Addict Shop. We get lots of questions about which is the best waterproof fabric to use for a particular type of garment or handmade item so I figured this would be the next one in line for a bit of (hopefully!) helpful blurb. Continue reading “A Waterproof Fabric Guide”

Best Fabrics for Dribble Bibs

Image courtesy of “My Little Patch”

One of the most common questions I get asked is which fabrics should be used when making dribble bibs. If you Google “how to make a dribble bib” there pages of hits and so many different methods to choose from, I’m not surprised people get confused! Not that I’m going to prescribe a formula here as there many ways to skin this cat, but hopefully a bit of an explanation about the possible fabrics and their properties might assist you if you are at all confused. Continue reading “Best Fabrics for Dribble Bibs”

Wot No Minky Fabric?

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**UPDATE**  If you have found this post and are looking for “Minky” the ironing board cover people, or are in search of their cleaning products , then please let me help you by redirecting you to their site here.  If however you were all good for cleaning products this week and were instead looking for some soft and luscious cuddle fabric that some people around the world still call “minky fabric” then please return to our website and search for “Cuddle” or “Plush” to find it.  It’s still the same fabric, what’s in a name, hey?!  Continue reading “Wot No Minky Fabric?”