Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: February 09, 2021
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Although a very popular fabric, denim is definitely not one of the easier materials to work with. And if you own a lot of pairs of jeans, you’ll know that to tailor your denim you must have the right tools to fix rips, tears or alterations to work with this tough fabric. Any regular sewing machine won’t do when working with jeans and you may need to invest in a special sewing machine customized to handle tougher fabrics like denim. So when looking for the best sewing machine for jeans it becomes important to keep a few key considerations in mind.
What you will need is a sewing machine that falls in the category of heavy-duty sewing machines. These machines feature unique characteristics making them better suited for tougher fabrics. Typically heavy-duty sewing machines start off with more powerful motors and have faster stitching speeds. That is why we have compiled a list of the five best products available in this category keeping in mind their speed and stitches number, maximum length of stitches, weight and warranty information.
Our experts have spent time with these machines, testing out their various features and evaluating their performance. After trying out these best recommended products, we have put together a tabular comparison for you to look at and then in-detail reviews of each model for more information. We conclude with our in-depth buying guide for the best sewing machine for jeans so that you can make an informed decision about the right product for your sewing needs.
The Janome HD1000 is a heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine with great quality and all the features you need, without any flashy extras that you might never use. With a frame and body made of cast aluminum, this model was made to last and tackle any type of project. At nearly 17 pounds, the HD1000 won’t budge when stitching up heavier fabrics.
This machine is equipped with 14 built-in stitches to get the job done with high quality results. The adjustable stitch length and zigzag width dials allow for customization and durable stitching on any fabric type. The reverse stitches feature comes with a simple lever so you can easily reinforce stitches on trickier heavy material.
Other features include a 3-piece feed dog system which allows for smooth feed especially with pile fabrics and quilts. The machine includes a free arm for stitching sleeves or hemming pants, and an automatic needle threader.
The HD1000 comes with accessories including bobbins, needles, screwdrivers, a soft cover, hard case, and 4 different types of stitching feet for extra versatility.
Because of its weight, this machine is not very portable, and would be quite a hassle to bring to a class or on-the-go.
Overall, the great quality and practicality of the Janome HD1000 are why we nominate it our Editor’s Choice. It will get any job done, with just enough customization and without any fancy complications that other machines in this price range have.
Brother is well known for their good quality beginner-level sewing machines that offer both a variety of stitches and an easy-to-read interface. With a metal chassis and frame that this model offers for tougher projects, the ST371HD is our choice for the best beginner sewing machine for jeans.
This machine has what any entry-level sewer needs and more. It has the power to take on thick fabrics with ease while remaining simple-to-operate.
The 37 built in stitches are easy to navigate and listed on the side of the machine. The variety in decorative stitches are great for experimenting with and figuring out what styles you’d like best when moving on to more elaborate machines.
To work with a variety of projects, this model includes 6 easily adjustable sewing feet which all serve their own purpose: from zippers to buttonholes to blind stitch, this machine will handle any kind of stitch.
Other features include 6-point feed dogs with drop feed, a free arm for sleeves, a metal needle plate for smooth feed and free motion, a built-in carry handle, and a well-mentioned jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin system. The machine includes 3 needles for different fabrics, numbered 16, 14, and 11.
One feature that seems to be missing, however, is an automatic tension control option which may affect stitches.
Despite the mention of a metal structure, the machine has many plastic components. This does not affect the performance, but may affect the product’s longevity.
Being one of the company’s best-selling sewing machines ever, there is no doubt that the JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing Machine is a unit that was designed to delight. Despite being made for the home use, the machine packs a decent amount of power, which is pleasantly surprising. Apart from its power, the machine also sports a beautiful design and a strong construction, with its body made of heavy metal. With this, the unit won’t vibrate annoyingly while you sew.
Furthermore, this straight-stitch machine offers a high speed of 1,500 stiches per minute, which is great news for people who usually have a lot of items to sew. However, it must be said that the machine is not an ideal option if you’re in the market for a unit that will give you fancy stitches when decorating your crafted items. The machine is only great for making quilts and for regular sewing. To easily handle your quilting projects, it includes an extension table, offering a large work area.
However, while it comes with automatic needle threader to get you started quickly, many customers would rather have the traditional needle threader. The automatic option is not only ineffective, but difficult to use as well. There are LED lights to light up the unit’s work area though, which should come as a compensation for the poor needle threader. It also comes with a pedal, so you can operate the machine more easily.
Though performance is often determined by the price tag, Singer proves this doesn’t always have to be the case with the Heavy Duty 4432. At under $200, this machine is packed with features and performance that higher-end models have to offer while remaining budget-friendly.
The Singer Heavy Duty 4432 has a motor capable of reaching a very high maximum speed of 1100 stitches per minute, and a tight presser foot with adjustable pressure. With an all-metal frame, this machine is stable and durable like all the Heavy Duty models and is ideal for frequent denim or other heavy-duty projects.
The 4432 has 32 different stitches to choose from, including a one-step buttonhole. For making your stitches stronger, there’s a reverse stitch option available. Stitch length, zigzag width, and tension can all be adjusted to make the right stitch for your fabrics, thick or thin.
The accessories that come with this model include needles, bobbins, screwdrivers, a quilting guide, and 4 different purpose stitching feet.
Other features in this model include an automatic needle threader and a free arm. To accompany your Singer product is an assistant app with tutorials and lessons for new owners and beginners.
The main concern regarding this machine is in its high stitching speed, and how it becomes much easier for the needle to break under this circumstance.
The Singer Heavy Duty is an overall trusty machine that can take on tougher projects, and we can assure you you’ll get your money’s worth with this budget pick.
The Necchi Q132A machine is an extremely robust sewing machine ideal for heavy gauge sewing. It is equipped with an all-metal frame and ABS shell.
The machine makes it possible to carry out impeccably 32 useful and decorative stitches. It is adjustable in length and width, makes automatic buttonholes, and has an automatic needle threader. You can lower the claws easily with the button to make free-motion embroidery and quilting. You can also sew on a button or sequins etc.
The newly improved 90-watt motor achieves 1000 stitches per minute. This makes the machine perfect for sewing on heavy fabrics such as jeans, denim, faux leather, canvas, velour, tarps.
The large metal needle plate makes the machine extremely durable and reliable for particularly delicate jobs.
An extension table is included as well as many presser feet including the non-stick foot for an optimal glide on thick materials.
On flat lines, the NECCHI Q132A is perfect, whether with classic or thick thread. It achieves perfectly regular stitches.
The only downside is that the penetrating power of the needle and the drive are not powerful enough to ensure a perfectly regular stitch.
What we liked:
90 watts power for 1000 stitches/minute!
Possibility to adjust the stitch length
You can use a double-needle
Easy adjustment of the thread tension
Easy to use needle threader
What could be better:
Low needle penetration power
Things to Consider
When you indulge in the world of sewing, it’s better to know what you’re headed into. The best way to do this kind of research is to look through the products promised with this hobby. Not every sewing machine is going to be what you want as there are many differences in durability, strength, and convenience. Buying a sewing machine for jeans is not the same as buying a regular sewing machine. Since you’re going to deal with a heavier, thicker fabric, this being denim, you’re naturally also going to have to find one machine that compliments it.
Sewing the jeans – can any machine take it?
Technically, it’s not impossible for a normal sewing machine to handle the job. A regular sewing machine can work over denim so long as you’re going slowly and you’re also using a strong and sharp needle.
If you intend on working with denim more than just once, it’s better not to test the limits of your regular sewing machine and instead used one more equipped for the job. After all, it’s better to get something stronger and more reliable than bite your nails under tension as you try a sewing machine that might not be able to handle the load.
Sewing tips for denim fabric
When it comes to denim, reinforcing the stitches is the key to success. Denim is a much heavier fabric than others and therefore requires more safeguard. When using the right materials, denim can be very easy to work with.
There are two types of denim to keep in mind: heavy and lightweight denim. Naturally, the heavyweight denim is going to be tougher but better for jeans, jackets, shorts, and skirts. The lighter denim has a more flexible build with greater movement.
When dealing with denim, your stitches should be longer, repeated, and done with the right needle. If you go to a store for the material, you’re bound to find needles packaged under the label ‘jeans’. These are the type of needles you’ll be looking for. The smaller needles in these sets are better for lighter material while the larger ones are more suited for thicker material.
Always stick to a budget when it comes to buying anything. It’s easy to get lost in the wave of accessories, sales, and deals. Before you go out to buy anything, research a little and make a final budget to follow.
In the case of sewing machines for jeans, a good budget works in between the lines of $200 to $400.
The following features will help you choose the best sewing machine for jeans
To help you get the right product, know that there are some features and accessories that sewing machines will have to offer. It’s better to know it all before rambling over what big words could mean on the packaging, and some features you may find promising to your tastes.
Type of the sewing machine
There are three basic sewing machines types to pay attention to. Mechanical, electronic and computerized.
Mechanical machines are the best beginners since they have the east additional features to try and understand. They are manually controlled meaning you’ll be able to manipulate everything this type of machine does. All of the listed sewing machines are mechanical.
Electronic machines are standard for those users who work with machines often and have a heavier duty job to do.
Computerized is the most expensive and technologically advanced of them all. This machine can do most if not all functions on its own so long as you provide the guidelines for it to follow.
High presser foot lift and leveling button
The leveling button holds much significance over the performance of the entire machine. When using heavier material with your sewing machine, this button elevates the front of the presser foot so as to make sure you can insert thicker fabrics underneath.
Without this button, your sewing machine won’t be able to accommodate thicker, heavier and multiple fabrics.
When you work with fabric as thick as denim, you’ll want a strong motor to help you penetrate through tougher material.
Standard domestic machines typically don’t have a motor strong enough to smoothly go through denim, hence the need to go slower when using a regular machine. A sewing machine made to work with denim will have a stronger motor to allow you to swiftly stitch denim without the need to slow down. They’ll also have a stronger frame for resilience and a sturdier, longer-lasting performance.
The required speed varies for people. Some people are capable of handling higher speeds while others feel they have greater control over the fabric when the machine works at a slower pace.
When you look for a sewing machine to suit you, the best attribute to keep an eye out for is variable speed control. With this ability, you can adjust and monitor the speed to your own liking. With each different fabric you use, you can figure out if working fast or slow works better for you.
The sewing machine that offers the highest motor speed is the Singer Heavy Duty 4432 at an impressive 1100 stitches every minute.
Most electronic and some mechanical machines come with a library of stitches for you to select from. With a wider variety, you can experiment with more options and make more unique pieces of clothing.
It doesn’t hurt to be open and biased to the sewing machine with more stitching options so long as it also satisfies all your other needs and demands. Of all the models listed here, the Brother ST371HD has the largest library of 37 stitches.
With a stronger motor to help you endure through heavy denim fabric, you’ll need a frame that is resilient to the vibration. If you get one that’s made out of plastic, likely case is you’re going to have a hard and short-lived time. Find a sewing machine that has a metal frame to last longer and withstand the reverberation of the motor.
Stitches length and width adjustability
As your fabric becomes heavier and stronger, your stitches should become longer and wider. This means the machine you should look for should have stitch length and width adjustability. The longer the stitch becomes, the easier the needle can puncture through and the stronger and tighter the stitch will be.
Most machines nowadays come with adjustable options but what you’re looking for is the machine with the widest range of adjustability.
Some machines do tend to come with an automatic needle threader which can be a huge bonus, but it can also push your budget.
When you want to find the perfect needle threader that is quick, easy and accommodating, then the best person to ask would be past customers. Reviews, comments, and complaints are the place to go when you want to know how efficient one needle threader really is.
Accessories are the best part about choosing a sewing machine. Some accessories you may encounter are removable arms for extra table space; hidden compartments for your threading material, LED lights and automatic features. These all help make your sewing experience easier, but the machine can also work perfectly fine without these additions.
Sewing machines are meant to last long so naturally, you should be searching for a warranty that compliments this extended life. The warranty for parts, of course, is going to be shorter since individual components that malfunction are liable to reveal themselves quicker. When it comes to the entire machine though, keep your hopes and expectations high, searching for one that holds a 25-year warranty.
Most heavy duty sewing machines on this list come with a 25-year limited warranty coverage.
Sewing machine maintenance tips
Your sewing machine requires proper care and maintenance in order for it to last longer. When handling your sewing machine, it’s always better to remain gentle with your utensils. Use lint brushes and damp cloths to clean all areas of the machine. Try to always dust your machine before and after you use your machine. Dust is the criminal behind motor clutter and foot presser issues.
Take a look at the following video to get an idea of how you should be tending to your machine on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
There are two ways you can hem your jeans. The first way is to cut off the original work, fold the jeans over and then start anew with your own work. The other way is to keep the old work, fold it over and maintain the original look to the jeans.
The best time frame to oil your sewing machine is after every six months. If you work often on the machine, as in a day to day basis, then you’ll be oiling your machine every three or four months.
The Janome HD 1000 in an excellent pick for working with denim. It comes with that reliable quality and performance, as well as all the features you’ll really need. It’s powerful, practical, and easy to use which is why we made it our top pick on this list.
For those who are starting out and want to get straight into heavy duty projects, the Brother ST371HD is simple and has a great variety of features for you to experiment with without the overwhelming technicalities of an electronic sewing machine. This model comes with whatever an entry-level sewer will need and more.
Another strong candidate for the best sewing machine for jeans is none other than one that specializes in them – the JUKI TL-2000Qi. It’s both lightweight and jam-packed with power, and can get any one of your denim-related jobs done with no difficulty.