Can You Sew Canvas on a Home Sewing Machine?

Item # X-HT-300050

We get a lot of questions from customers who are new to sewing heavy canvas projects. Helping people get started on doing their own canvaswork is one of our favorite things to do! We hear a lot from people who want to start sewing but aren’t sure if their sewing machine will be up to the task. If that sounds familiar, this post is for you! Can you sew canvas on your home or "regular" sewing machine? We’re going to share with you a quick and easy way to test out your sewing machine’s capabilities.

Test sew denim in your sewing machine to see if it will handle canvas

1. Select a Heavy Thread

You’ll want to thread your machine with a strong thread, preferably one that is recommended for use with Sunbrella® Marine Grade Fabric. If you have a home machine, the largest size we suggest using is a V-69 thread, but if you have a heavy-duty machine, try a V-92. You may need to increase the upper tension on your sewing machine to handle the heavier thread.

You'll also want to use a needle size that corresponds with the size of your thread. Our "Thread and Needle Recommendation Guide" (300032XHT) will help you match your thread size to the recommended needle size. For size V-69 thread we recommend a size #16 or #18 needle. For V-92 thread we recommend size #18 or #20 needle.

2. Try Sewing Several Layers of Denim

Take a pair of old jeans and fold them up so you are sewing through about four to five layers of the material and see how your machine fairs. If you can easily sew through four layers of denim, then you can also sew heavy canvas, like Sunbrella.

If you find that your sewing machine balks at four layers of denim, you probably don’t want to try canvaswork on that machine. You could damage your sewing machine beyond repair if you force a thicker fabric assembly than the machine can handle. If you’re ready to take the plunge and upgrade your machine, the Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Sewing Machine can sew through 10 layers of heavy canvas.

Our related blog, "Using a Home Sewing Machine for Sail and Canvas Work" (300154XHT), will also help you with tips and tricks on how to adjust your machine settings to handle thick canvas material. Do any of you sew heavy canvas on a home sewing machine? What tips and tricks have you learned along the way? Share your advice and experiences in the comments!