The 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Sewing with Dogwood Denim

JAN 9, 2018

There are so many reasons to be excited about Spoonflower’s newest addition, Dogwood Denim™ – it’s durable enough for a variety of projects that take a lot of wear and tear, but softens up in the wash just like your most-loved pair of jeans. It’s heavy and rugged, while still being sophisticated. And best of all– it prints beautifully. We’re convinced you’ll love it as much as we do.

The Do's and Don'ts of Sewing Dogwood Denim™ | Spoonflower Blog
cave – 4 by heytangerine

However, we know the idea of sewing with such heavy fabric can be a little intimidating to the novice sewist. That’s why Spoonflower staff members Meredith, Alexis, and Gina have teamed up to create the Dos’ and Don’ts of Dogwood Denim: 5 tips and tricks to ensure that your next (or first) Dogwood Denim project is a breeze.

Introducing Dogwood Denim™ | Spoonflower Blog
Featured designs

1. Definitely Wash & Dry

Gina: I am always super impatient when I get new fabric – I want to make something with it immediately. Sometimes this works out okay, but because Dogwood Denim is a natural cotton fabric, it’s really important that you wash and dry it before you sew with it. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours making something awesome only to have it shrink down to an unwearable size.

Meredith: When it comes to washing your Dogwood Denim, remember: less is more. As much as I wanted to wash my denim with the week’s laundry, the weight of the denim is on the heavier side so it’s best to wash your yardage separately. The fabric will soften overtime and then when it’s ready for its next wash, it can join your socks, undies and other me-made pieces.

2. Do Use a Denim Needle

Alexis: I can’t stress enough how important the right needles are. They make all the difference! Getting a denim/jean needle helps your machine get through Dogwood Denim. I didn’t have any problem making a skirt in denim even when I had 4 or 5 layers to sew through.

Use a denim needle when sewing with Dogwood Denim™ | Spoonflower Blog
cave – 4 by heytangerine

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Longer Stitch Length

Meredith: If you’re hesitant to use a longer stitch length for your denim makes, it’s OK. I was too! When working with heavy weight fabrics like the denim, using a longer stitch length (3.5-4 on your machine) will work due to the heavy weight of the fabric. Still on the fence? Apply the saying measure twice, cut once and do a few practice stitches on two small scraps of your denim. Better yet, why not test out your stitches with this easy coin purse using just a swatch of denim!  

DIY denim coin purse | Spoonflower Blog
Pacific Indigo by stacey-day

4. Don’t Skip the Finishing

Alexis: Denim tends to fray quite a bit, but an easy way to make sure your work doesn’t unravel is to finish the edges. A serger comes in handy for this, but if you don’t have a serger, zig-zig stitching along your edges works fine too! Just be careful when serging and either swap your needles out for jean needles or turn the wheel by hand when going through thicker seams.

The Do's and Don'ts of Working with Dogwood Denim | Spoonflower Blog
Flint Vintage Moroccan by littlearrowdesign

Gina: Because of its construction, Dogwood Denim is a lot more prone to unraveling than many other Spoonflower fabrics – you may be able to get away with an unfinished seam or single fold hem on some woven fabrics, but I’d strongly recommend against it with our denim. Distressed denim is totally trendy right now (I mean, is it ever not?) but, hemming, serging or zig-zag stitching to finish the edges on your project will ensure you don’t end up being the one in distress because your freshly-made pair of shorts turned into a stringy nightmare in the wash.

5. Don’t be Daunted!

The 5 do's and don'ts of working with Dogwood Denim | Spoonflower Blog
The Best Woodshop by chicca_besso

Alexis: Prior to working on this project, I’d never sewn with denim and I’d never made pants (outside of lounge pants/leggings) before, so it started out as a terrifying task. My advice would be to stick with it, use a jean/denim needle, work slowly, and if following a pattern, read everything twice before starting. You can do this!

Gina: I was pretty intimidated by the idea of installing the hardware that tends to accompany bottom-weight denim sewing projects, but adding jeans buttons and rivets to my skirt was so easy! I’ll take a few good whacks with a hammer over hand-sewing a button on any day (even though my downstairs neighbors may disagree).

The 5 Do's and Don'ts of Working with Dogwood Denim | Spoonflower Blog
Ticket to Ride by pennycandy / Scribbles – Navy by scarlette_soleil

Meredith: The fear of the unknown could not have been more true the first time I sewed the Dogwood Denim. Going into it I knew this would be the heaviest fabric I had ever sewn and I had some first-timer nerves as I started sewing. With a little patience and help from some Spoonflower staffers, I conquered my fears and added a new skill to my sewing repertoire! Next up? A Dogwood Denim Tamarack Jacket from Grainline Studio. Stay tuned! 

Doesn’t it feel great to DIY? Apply your 5 do’s and don’t with this easy coin purse using just a swatch of Dogwood Denim and share your denim projects with #spoonflower! 

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  • Nice fabric to sew, jeans turned out perfect. Good to wear.
    Next wish: denim with some more stretch.

  • I washed the fresh denim: the width stayed the same, but lengthwise it allmost shrank one inch per yard.

  • Theresa Tetreau

    I would love to try the Dogwood Denim and make pants similar to the photo. Where can I find the pattern? Cheers!

    • Hi Theresa,
      We’re glad you’re enjoying the patterns we chose for the Dogwood Denim launch! Alexis used the Moji Pants pattern from Seamwork, which is part of Colette Patterns.

  • It looks really awesome and there are so many exciting possibilities for such a hard wearing and practical fabric combined with the endless choices of design available at Spoonflower!
    I was excited to have the first sale of Dogwood Denim go out from my shop yesterday, and hope for many more!

    • Hi Magenta,
      Congrats on the denim sale! We too are excited about the different projects we’ll be making with the denim. Can’t wait to see what you make!