PICK THE RIGHT DENIM AND BLUE JEAN MATERIAL FOR THE PROJECT…..WHICH WEIGHT IS BEST?
I use denim in quite a bit of my projects, but there is one place I don't scrimp by using re-purposed denim and that is when I am making something I want to last. For instance, I use new denim for the jackets I make and for skirts. I re-did an ottoman for my sister and I used new denim, not older pieces of stitched denim. When doing this, I want to buy denim that is fresh off the bolt and has the right weight for my purpose.
Living in Wyoming we are pretty far from things that most people take for granted. If I want to get to a good fabric store, this means going to Cheyenne (85 miles away and a 3 hour round trip) or traveling even further to Colorado where I can get to some of the larger fabric stores not available near where I live. But this isn't always possible for me so…..my next option, and a convenient one I might add, is to research on Amazon the kinds of denim I might need for the designs I have in mind.
Denim materials have different weights and while I won't go into all the different weights and the different kinds of fabrics and how weight differ from fabric to fabric (a story for another day I think 🙂 ), I believe it's important for you to have an idea of what weights are available in denim and what each weight is best suited for.
WHAT DOES IS MEAN WHEN IT SAYS MATERIAL IS SO MUCH A GSM or OUNCE ?
Often you will find denim listed as 14 oz. Or 10.5 oz, a term we are most familiar with, but there is also a metric measurement that you might stumble on as well. It's called the 'grams per square' and is referred to as GSM. This simple means that it tells you how much 1 square meter of fabric weighs. The higher the GSM and the higher the OZ gives you a density factor and shows that the higher numbers means your denim fabric is heavier and denser. OZ tells you how high the density is per square yard as opposed to meter.
There are a variety of kinds of fabrics to choose from. I don't mean the patterns or styles but the kind of weaves and weights we choose for whatever sewing project we have in mind.
LIGHT WOVEN FABRICS< LIGHT WEIGHT FABRICS
Light weight fabrics are the light and airy chiffon, mesh, soft lines, organza, many kinds of woven panel lace, open weave cheesecloth, and voiles. Suited for light breezy blouses, wedding dresses, summer clothing.
MEDIUM WEIGHT FABRICS, MEDIUM WEAVES
Some kinds of medium weights will include velvet, taffeta, silk taffeta's, oxford and sateen. Heavier blouses, still light weight enough to wear yet suited to cooler temps.
The heavyweights materials are usually the canvas, stiff brocades, denims, poplins and really heavy upholstery fabrics. Suited for pants, jackets, overalls, and the like.
WILL DENIM WORK FOR UPHOLSTERY? CAN I DENIM TO RECOVER A CHAIR?
At some point I knew I was going to have to do a search for denim fabric and I had to take the time to go through each possibility to make sure I was getting the correct material. I waded through the descriptions, paid attention to how many reviews each item had, as well as looked at what the reviewers had to say in general.
On a few of the listings I noticed that some consumers wanted to order the denim fabric for upholstering furniture. I was concerned that the sellers told prospective buyers that some of these denims would be perfect for that purpose. This is not correct. I am sure that the sellers made the assumption that denim would make a good upholstery fabric because of weight, however this is a misconception.
WEAR TESTING FABRIC
I did furniture restoration and upholstering for many years. The fabric for upholstery usually undergoes rigorous 'rub-testing' to determine durability as well as wear and tear over time. There are techniques used to simulate ordinary every day use such as sitting in a chair, sliding off a chair, rubbing etc. These tests are called the Wyzenbeek and the Martindale test respectively. They are independent of each other so a fabric might pass one test and not the other. This is because each test is different.
The Wyzenbeek test simulates normal wear patterns on furniture by taking a piece of cotton duck, (a type of canvas) and rubbing it in an up and down or back and forth motion. One up and down double swipe is considered one pass. Approximately 3100 passes equals on year's worth of wear. As you can imagine, the higher the number, the longer the material lasts and the better quality of the material. The Martindale test is similar except that the 'wear pattern' is done by following the figure 8 pattern with one completed figure 8 constituting one pass.
Material like this will be labeled anything from LD (light duty and good for things like decorative chairs to pillows at 3000 passes) to HD (heavy, stiff fabric than can stand up to years of use, can handle children and pets and usually hits 15,000 passes) which is the strongest fabric.
To my knowledge, tests like this haven't been done on denim, but I don't really know. If I was forced to give the heaviest weight of denim a density label, I would still classify it just about in-between light duty and medium duty. Why? Because most denims are made either of 100% cotton or close to it and upholstery fabric is made up of nylon synthetics. Denim, therefore, is for clothing. Not upholstery. So the reviews on these denims will be primarily for clothing and utility items (backpacks etc) for use and wear.
MY TOP 8 CHOICES OF DENIM FABRIC
Some of thes denim fabrics are 100% cotton and others are blends. Keep in mind that you may need to pre-shrink your material before cutting and sewing. Some people recommend dry cleaning the finished denim product, others say not. I'm not sure that dry cleaning is needed, but if it is, would you really want something that takes that much extra care? I'm a wash and wear person myself and if it can't be cleaned easily, and at home, I don't want it.
Many of these denim choices are 100% cotton and I'd recommend preshrinking first. You won't want to make something, that after the first wash and dry, has shrunk and no longer fits! After that, it's easy enough to pretreat hard stains. I prefer washing my denims in cold water (the color lasts longer) and I rarely use the dryer.
This denim comes in 5 yard bolts that are 60 inches wide at $35.95
CHECK ON AMAZON
This denim is of a heavier weight and I'd consider this perfect for bags, jackets, pants, rugs, slipcovers and the like. There were mostly favorable reviews, but the few negative regives concerned yardage not being in one piece, yardage being stitched together and the like. If you are working on something in which you require the entire piece to be whole, you might want to check with the seller first so that they can contact their supplier for adequate yardage. It also appears that you can only buy buy the bolt, so be sure you have plenty of things to make with 5 yards. However, I know from experience 5 yards can be used up pretty fast!
This is a lighter weight fabric. It is 60 inches wide and $9.10 a yard
CHECK ON AMAZON
This fabric is of a lighter weight, more for dresses, skirts men's shirts etc
The 3 star reviews suggest that the main complaint concerns that the color on amazon is different than when seen in person.
This can be due to computer issues as every monitor is different. No matter how you do it, it's next to impossible to take a photo and have the color look the same on everyone's computer.
If this is a factor for you, it states that this material USA made.
This beautifully colored denim comes 60 inches wide and $9.10 a yard
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This is a gorgeous chambray colored denim, but it's light weight. I would use this on medium duty work shirts, shirts, throw pillows and the like. Its too lightweight for pants …other than casual wear.
It had only two stars that made up a 5 star review, but it appears the material they ordered and received was exactly as portrayed online.
This material is $12.00 yard 62-64 inches wide. This makes it 2-4 inches wider than the average denim yardage.
CHECK AMAZON HERE
There were two reviewers that were displeased with the color. Again, this may be due to the differences in monitors, how the photo was taken etc, rather than misrepresentation on the sellers part. I think denim is denim and often we crafters have an idea in mind of what we want. When the actual prodcut doesn't measure up, we are disapponted. But these are personal preferences and does not take away from the quality of the product. Because this material is a 14 oz weight, it is much better suited to heavier jackets, pants, sturdier back packs and the like.
One reviewer wanted to use if for upholstery Again, I would not recommend it.
This material is 60 inches wide and $14.90 a yard with free shipping
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No weight was given but I'm pretty sure it's a lightweight material, But it was too pretty to ignore! I loved this fun looking pattern. What would I use if for….hmmm….Probably on a over blouse, or what I would call a jacket. Not really a jacket but when it's a bit cool in the summer yet too warm for a sweater, this would make a nice 'over' blouse to wear. it's polyester blend so there probably woudn't be a need to preshrink. It suggest that it can be used for uphostery but looks even lighter than the previous one.
Don't risk it. It is made in Turkey, but the printing is done in the US.
$8.00 a yard with a $5.48 shipping charge
Not a lot of info on this selection but sellers have to start somewhere and this may be your perfect chance to leave a review!
I liked the color though, which is why I picked it. No reviews doesn't mean a bad product and for a small projcet I would be willing to buy a yard or two. But in case it didn't meet my needs, I would be sure to have a back up project wating in the wings so that no material would be wasted.
It's called cotton iridescent which leads me to believe it might be a cotton/blend.
Considered a medium weight at 10 ounces and is all black material
It's $7.88 a yard, is 100% cotton and $60 inches wide…..and the seller offers free shipping
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This was listed as a black denim. There were some oddly mixed reviews on this one claiming that it's too light weight and more like a twill when others said it was heavy enough and they were happy with it. Again, as a crafter and sewer, you might have an idea of what you want to accomplish and it doesn't meet your expectations. For instance, if it lists beins 10 ounces but you were expecting something heaveri like a 14 oz, you won't be happy with it. There are also some differences by manufacturere. This by no means ceceprtion on the sellers part but often is the buyers expectation. Neither is wrong., Just be sure what you want and whant you need. Be sure to ask the seller for specifics!
Hold that thought that black is black….for a little while until it faces. Blue jeans fade, too. It is ineveitable so plan on taking that into account as well. Also was suggested as upholstery fabric. Don't do it.
This pretty fabric is $11.44 a hard with free prime shipping. Hard to beat that 🙂
100 % cotton but only 56" wide.
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A light colored chambray looking denim that is a actually a washed bleach. Thus the light color.
Kind of light weight but it can be made into casualr slacks that don't require standing up to hard work, great for 'over shirts', summer shift dresses and skirts.