What Stitch Settings For Thick Fabric Comprehensive Guide

What Stitch Settings For Thick Fabric?

Thick fabrics are like the strong, silent types of the textile world. They’re robust, versatile, and can be a little intimidating to work with if you’re not quite sure of the settings to dial in on your sewing machine. But fear not! By the end of this outfit of words, you will be twirling around in your self-made denim jacket or cozying up under the fluffiest quilt.

“Every fabric has its song, and every stitch its voice.”

Now, let’s get your sewing machine singing the right tune for handling those thicker fabrics, shall we? You may read also What Is A Overlock Sewing Machine?

What are the common types of thick fabrics that require special stitch settings?

When it comes to sewing, not all fabrics are created equal. Some of the heavier, thicker materials can pose a bit of a challenge if you don’t adjust your stitch settings accordingly. Let’s dive into some of the common types of thick fabrics that often require special stitch settings.


Denim is a crowd favorite for its durability and versatility. But because of its thickness, it can give your sewing machine a workout if you don’t adjust your stitch settings properly.


Think of canvas as the heavyweight champ in the world of fabrics. It’s super thick and requires a good deal of patience and the right stitch settings to handle it effectively.


Leather can be quite tricky to sew. It’s not only thick but also slippery, demanding both a change in stitch settings and often a different type of sewing machine needle.

Faux Fur

Faux fur is another thick material that can be difficult to sew. The thickness of the pile can make it hard to get the stitch settings just right.

Upholstery Fabric

Upholstery fabric is designed to be durable, which means it’s also typically thicker. It’s used for covering furniture and can be pretty tough to sew without the right stitch settings.

So, now that we know what we’re up against, let’s move on to discussing the stitch settings needed for these thick fabrics.

What are the recommended needle sizes for sewing thick fabrics?

When it comes to sewing thick fabrics, not just any needle will do! The needle size and type you choose can drastically change your sewing experience. So what’s the recommended needle size for sewing thick fabrics?

The Importance of Needle Size

Before we dive into specifics, let’s take a moment to understand why needle size matters. A needle that’s too small might break, while one that’s too large could leave noticeable holes in your fabric. This is why it’s crucial to match your needle size with your fabric thickness.

Recommended Needle Sizes

  • Denim/Jeans Needle — Size 90/14 to 100/16. These needles are robust, sharp, and perfect for sewing through heavy fabrics like denim or canvas.
  • Leather Needle — Size 90/14 to 100/16. Ideal for leather, faux leather, and heavy vinyl, these needles have a wedge-shaped point that penetrates thick fabrics without tearing.

Needle Size and Sewing Machine Settings

Remember, the right needle size is only part of the equation. You also need to adjust your sewing machine settings accordingly. For thick fabrics, a longer stitch length (3-4) and increased thread tension might be necessary. Lastly, always test your settings on a scrap piece of your fabric before starting your project!

What are the common stitches that work best for thick fabrics?

Thick fabrics present a unique challenge when it comes to sewing. The kind of stitches you use can make a big difference in how the finished product turns out. As such, let’s dive into the common stitches that work best for thick materials.

1. Straight Stitch

The Straight Stitch is your old faithful, the go-to stitch for most sewing projects. Its simplicity makes it an excellent choice for thick fabrics. The key here is to lengthen the stitch slightly to prevent seam puckering.

2. Backstitch

Next up, we have the Backstitch. This is a strong stitch that’s perfect for thick fabrics because it’s less likely to rip or tear. A backstitch starts like a regular straight stitch, but then goes backward over the same line, doubling the strength of the seam.

3. Zigzag Stitch

Meet the Zigzag Stitch. This stitch is designed to stretch, making it ideal for fabrics like denim or upholstery material. It’s also great for preventing fabric edges from fraying.

4. Triple Straight Stitch

The Triple Straight Stitch is a variation of the straight stitch. It stitches forward three times and then back one stitch, creating a seam that’s three times as strong. This is particularly useful for fabrics like leather or canvas.

So now you’re ready to tackle those thick fabrics with confidence. Remember, it’s all about choosing the right stitch for the job. Happy sewing!

You maty read also How To Quilt A Blanket With Sewing Machine?

What are the recommended thread types and weights to use when sewing thick fabrics?

When it comes to sewing thick fabrics, the thread type and weight you choose are vital for the longevity and quality of your project. Not only can the wrong thread break and cause frustration, but it can also affect the final look of your work.

Thread Types

For thick fabrics, you’ll need a strong, durable thread that can handle the weight and density of your material. Let’s talk about two of the best types:

  • Polyester: This thread type has a great balance of strength and flexibility, making it perfect for thick fabrics. It’s also resistant to most chemicals, wrinkles, and shrinkage.
  • Nylon: Nylon threads are known for their strength and elasticity. However, they may melt under high iron temperatures, so caution is needed.

Thread Weights

Thread weight essentially refers to the thickness of the thread. Here are some options tailored for thick fabrics:

  • 40 Weight: This is the most common thread weight and works well with most sewing machines. It’s ideal for thick fabrics like denim or upholstery materials.
  • 30 Weight: This is thicker than 40 weight and works well for decorative stitching on thick fabrics. It’s also perfect for topstitching.

Remember, the right thread can make or break your project, literally! So choose wisely, and happy sewing!

What are the adjustments needed for the tension and presser foot pressure when sewing thick fabrics?

When it comes to sewing thick fabrics, a few key tweaks to your machine’s settings can make all the difference. The tension and presser foot pressure are two settings you’ll need to modify. Let’s dive into the specifics.

Tension Adjustments

Your sewing machine’s thread tension plays a crucial role in producing even, balanced stitches. When working with thick fabric, you may need to increase the thread tension. This step ensures the thread passes smoothly through the dense fabric layers.

Presser Foot Pressure

The presser foot pressure is another setting to consider. If your machine allows it, you might want to lessen this pressure when sewing thick materials. Lower pressure helps the fabric to glide under the presser foot more effortlessly, reducing the risk of jamming or bunching.

Experimentation is Key

Remember, every machine and fabric is different, so it can take some trial and error to find the perfect settings. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different levels of tension and presser foot pressure until you achieve the best results. You may read also Which Foot On Sewing Machine For Thick Fabric?


So, there you have it! Crafting with thick fabrics doesn’t have to be a daunting task anymore. All it takes is knowing the right stitch settings to make the process smoother and more enjoyable.

Remember, when dealing with thick fabrics, you should opt for longer stitch lengths, typically ranging between 3-4mm. It’s also key to ensure that your thread tension is adjusted correctly to avoid puckering or skipped stitches. Choosing a larger, stronger needle is another crucial step that shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • Stitch length: 3-4mm
  • Thread tension: Adjusted to fabric thickness
  • Needle size: Larger and stronger

You might encounter some challenges along the way, but don’t be discouraged. The idea is to keep practicing and tweaking your settings until you find what suits your fabric best.

And who knows? You might just uncover a newfound passion for creating beautiful items with those thick, luxurious fabrics that used to intimidate you. So, grab that fabric, adjust those stitch settings, and set your creativity free!

Happy sewing!

10 FAQs

1. What stitch length should I use for thick fabric?

When it comes to thick fabrics, a longer stitch length – around 3 to 3.5 – usually works best. This prevents seams from puckering and allows the machine to handle the material more efficiently.

2. Do I need a special needle for thick fabrics?

Yes, indeed! A sturdy, sharp needle – like a denim or leather needle – is your best bet for handling thick fabrics without causing damage to your machine.

3. Can I use regular thread with thick fabric?

You can, but heavy-duty thread is often a more reliable choice. It withstands the toughness of thick fabrics and reduces the risk of breakage.

4. How should I adjust the tension for thick fabrics?

In general, increasing the tension slightly can help when sewing with thick fabrics. However, it’s critical to test on scraps first to avoid puckering or thread breakage.

5. Can I use any sewing machine for thick fabrics?

While most machines can handle a range of fabrics, a heavy-duty sewing machine is specifically designed to tackle thick, tough materials without breaking a sweat.

6. Is it necessary to prewash thick fabrics?

Just like with any fabric, prewashing thick materials can help to prevent shrinkage and color bleeding, especially when it comes to natural fibers.

7. What type of presser foot is best for thick fabrics?

A walking foot is ideal as it evenly feeds the fabric through the machine, reducing the risk of puckering or stretching.

8. What stitch type is suitable for thick fabrics?

Straight stitches are typically the go-to for thick fabrics. However, zigzag stitches can also be useful for adding stretch to seams in heavier, stretchy fabrics.

9. How do I prevent my fabric from getting stuck in the machine?

Using a walking foot, ensuring your needle is sharp, and setting the right stitch length can greatly reduce the risk of your fabric getting caught up.

10. Should I iron thick fabrics before sewing?

Ironing can make sewing easier by flattening the fabric. However, be sure to use the correct heat setting to avoid damaging the material.

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