Updated: Aug 3
Sewing thick seams when you are bag making can present a unique set of challenges, whether you're working on heavyweight fabrics or multiple layers of material. However, with the right tools, techniques, and a little patience, you can conquer this task and achieve professional-looking results. In this article, I will explore various tips and techniques to help you sew thick seams with confidence in your bag making.
Choose the Right Needle and Thread:
When dealing with thick seams, it's crucial to use the appropriate needle and thread combination. Using a 110/16 or 110/18 needle can really make a difference as well as a heavy-duty or jeans needle, which is designed to penetrate heavy fabrics easily. For threads, select a strong and durable option such as polyester or nylon upholstery thread. Thicker threads will provide better strength and prevent breakage during stitching. When using a thicker thread make sure you have increased the needle size to accommodate the thicker thread through the eye.
Prepare the Fabric:
Before you begin sewing thick seams, it's important to prepare the fabric properly. Take the following steps to ensure a smoother sewing process:
Trim the seam allowance as much as possible, reducing bulk at the seams.
Consider grading the seam allowance layers by trimming them at different widths. This helps to distribute the fabric bulk more evenly.
Using a mallet or wide pliers to compress the seams down can really help when having to sew over thicker seams especially when topstitching.
Adjust Machine Settings:
When sewing thick seams, adjusting your sewing machine settings appropriately can make a significant difference. Consider the following adjustments:
Stitch Length: Lengthen your stitch slightly, as this provides more space for the thread to form each stitch. A longer stitch also helps prevent thread bunching or breaking.
Tension: Increase the tension slightly to ensure the thread is securely locked in the fabric layers. Test on a scrap fabric piece before sewing on your project to find the optimal tension setting.
Employ the Right Techniques:
Several techniques can aid in sewing thick seams more effectively:
Hand Cranking: For extremely thick sections, manually turn the hand wheel on your sewing machine to help feed the fabric through the needle. This control prevents your needle from getting jammed or breaking under excessive strain.
Use a Walking Foot: A walking foot attachment is beneficial when working with multiple layers of fabric. This foot helps feed the fabric evenly, reducing the chances of shifting or puckering.
Hammering or Pounding: In cases where the fabric is exceptionally thick or stubborn, lightly hammering or pounding the seam with a rubber mallet or a hammer covered with fabric can flatten and soften the layers, making them easier to sew.
Take Breaks and Go Slow: I find cake helps
Sewing thick seams can be time-consuming and physically demanding. Take regular breaks to avoid strain or fatigue. Additionally, slow down your sewing speed, allowing your machine to handle the thickness more efficiently. Rushing through thick seams can lead to skipped stitches or uneven stitching.
Sewing thick seams may seem daunting at first, but armed with the right tools, techniques, and a patient approach, you can achieve excellent results. Remember to choose the appropriate needle and thread, prepare the fabric adequately, adjust your machine settings, and utilize the right techniques for the task at hand. With practice, sewing thick seams will become a skill you master, enabling you to tackle a wide range of projects with ease and confidence.
Until next time, happy sewing