In your sewing adventures, sewing through thick fabrics always makes you frustrated and out of sort. Needle breakage, presser foot resistance, thread snapping, and skipped stitches are no less than a nightmare to sewing enthusiasts.
Your sewing journey also takes a turn where you have to sew thick layers or fabric like upholstery, denim, leather, fake fur, hem jeans, or quilted fabrics. But at home, with your simple sewing machine, it becomes a hard nut to crack.
What if I find you a way to sew through thick layers? With accurate tools and tactics, you can accomplish such back-breaking tasks and become a pro at sewing through thick and thin.
Let’s dig deeper into some simple tricks to conquer the seams through thick layers.
How to Machine Sew through Thick Layers
Going step-by-step through the project will not only make it easier for you but will give you the courage to attempt any task.
Step 1: Selection of Accurate Needle
The broken needle is equal to a broken heart to a sewer while sewing the fabric. And while sewing through thick or multiple layers, repeatedly breakage of needle blow your fuse.
So first step in sewing thick fabric is to consider the thickness of the fabric before sewing thick layers. Never feed the fabric more than 6mm or ¼ inch through the machine. Forcefully pushing the fabric may cause the needle to break.
Be very specific about needle selection to sew through thick layers. You may choose:
- Denim Needle of size 90 or 100
- Heavy-duty needle with No.90/14 or 100/16
- Jeans Needle with No.16
After needle selection, do not try to sew fast as it will ultimately cause the needle to break or may cause injury.
Step 2: Selecting Suitable Thread
After resolving the needle issue, here comes the next stumbling block i.e. thread. While sewing through thick layers, you cannot rely only on the all-purpose thread. It is necessary to match the needle size and thread type with the fabric type to get the best outcomes.
Using heavy-duty thread for the upper thread and all-purpose thread in the bobbin can prevent thread breaks when sewing thick layers.
I would suggest you choose strengthened polyester thread or upholstery thread to sew thick layers of fabrics.
Step 3: Selecting Presser Foot
It’s not that easy to fit thick layers under the presser feet, and if it gets fit anyhow, it may result in uneven seams. To avoid such inconvenience, you can use the presser foot lever to raise its position. If you don’t have this tool, you can use a small stack of scrap fabric or a piece of cardboard for the same purpose.
Other than a regular foot, some unique presser feet are used to sew through thick layers.
- Walking Foot
- Teflon Feet
- Roller Feet
- Bulky overlock foot #12/#12
Step 4: Selecting Hand Wheel
If you want to save your needle from snapping while getting seam on the thick layers, I would suggest switching from the electric motor to a hand wheel.
Using a hand wheel makes everything under your control as a few hands turn to give the seams of your choice.
Sewing through thick layers with an electric motor gives irregular seams and skipped stitches that may result in needle snapping. Whereas sewing steadily with a hand wheel gives you smooth and perfect seams even through thick layers.
Step 5: Using Tailors Clapper
Once you are done with selecting accurate machine accessories it’s time to step into sewing the thick layers. Thick layers will make the fabric bulky and bothersome to feed the fabric to feed dog. Our tailors’ clapper is here to assist you with troubleshooting.
Tailors clapper is a flat hardwood block with rounded edges and grooved sides for finger grips. You can use it to get flat and crisp seams while sewing thick layers. All you have to do is press the seams with hot iron and steam. Now lift the iron and place the tailors’ clapper immediately over the seams until the fabric cools. In this way, your fabric is able to trap the steam and heat, resulting in flat, crisp seams.
If the tailors’ clapper is not available, you can use a hammer for a similar purpose. A few whacks from a small hammer may make stubbornly thick areas behave.
Step 6: Using clips
Flat and smooth fabric is easy to sew through feed dog. When sewing through thick layers, after pressing the fabric with a tailors’ clapper you can use clips to keep the layers together in a smooth arrangement.
Clips work great at holding many layers of fabrics together and are preferably used over pins that may cause holes while working with thick layers of leather, vinyl, or silk. It becomes easy for you to feed the fabric to presser feet bound with clips as it makes your layers flat.
Step 7: Start Sewing
After completion of all essential steps, now it’s time to start sewing through thick layers. Feed the fabric to feed dog carefully and move the hand wheel at a snail’s pace. Try to keep the length of stitches more than the standard size (2.5) or the thicker the fabric longer the stitches should be. Stay focused and engrossed while finishing the seams through thick layers.
Following all of the above tricks, sewing through layers should become unchallenging for you. But if still, your machine refuses to get along further in your project, don’t compel it to perform against its potential. You may consider buying an industrial sewing machine or choose hand sewing through thick layers.