Types of Sewing Machines

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
Reviewed By
Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 28, 2023
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As you consider all of the tools, instruments, and machines that are out in the market for garment makers, have you stopped to reflect on the various options that you have when it comes to sewing machines. If you have, you have definitely noticed that there is a wide variety of sewing machines, and many of them have unique characteristics. Based on your needs as a garment maker, you will have to determine what specific needs you have and how a specific sewing machine can help you in the process.

When thinking about sewing machines, the fact that this available technology is so prevalent today is truly a blessing. According to Wikipedia, the first mechanical sewing device was patented back in 1755. Many of you are very skilled in the arts club of making clothes, so you are also capable of making garments by using your hands on them only. However, if you recognize the importance that using a saw machine, please in the grand scheme of making garments as it provides a more expedited and simplified experience.

Different varieties of sewing machines

As was mentioned previously, there is an extensive number of options in this extensive sewing machine space. We will look at each option in more depth for you to determine how each particular device can impact your needs as you seek to become more efficient and quicker in making your garments. There are various advantages and limitations to using certain types of sewing machines, and those will be discussed in further depth throughout the rest of the article.

Domestic machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThe first sewing machine you should look into is that of the domestic machine. This machine is a smaller machine that is made from less sturdy material than that of its commercial counterparts. Since it is a smaller machine, it does take up less space, but it does tend to be slower than other sewing machines.

One of the main issues when working with a domestic sewing machine is that you are limited in the amount of time you can use it consecutively. If you plan on using it for more than 5 to 6 hours straight, the machine will most likely overheat on you. On the other hand, industrial machines that are built to serve businesses can work for 10+ hours.

These domestic sewing machines are critical in the overall garment-making market at large. These machines offer beginners and expert Garment makers to create clothing. As all of these garment makers start to perfect their craft, they will then move on to consider some of the more advanced domestic machines or even some of the industrial solutions if they are seeking to go into business in the space. Keep in mind that these machines are a great starting point and provide what you need to make various clothing. If you are seeking a more expedited experience or even machines that offer more complex designs, this machine will not fit your needs. However, you can work your way up to exploring those machines in due time.

Industrial sewing machines

Types of Sewing MachinesWhen identifying a machine that is capable of being more precise and that can handle certain materials, that is when you must consider the use of an industrial machine. These machines are a lot faster and align themselves to the more modern fashion trends. With all of this said, these types of machines are a lot pricier than the home models.

A specific area of the machine that allows for more of a complex sewing operation to occur is the sewing machine bed. Keep in mind the price that you will invest in this machine. You will expect it to perform at a high level.

According to most reviews, the sturdiest model must be the Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine with 110 Stitch Applications by Singer, which, thanks to its reinforced construction, is the most reliable option out there.

These industrial sewing machines are crucial to the market at large as the supply product for numerous corporations and companies. Companies that use these machines in their business provide a large box of product that supports other businesses in that space. Relying on such a machine allows designers to ensure that their complex desires are going to be created as specified. If you are looking to get your work into a boutique and mass produce it in the process, you will most likely work with an industrial sewing machine or a company that provides the service.

Hand operated sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThe first domestic sewing machine you probably first saw when your grandmother was sewing is the manual hand-operated sewing machine. They are best known for their hand wheel squeal, which has to continuously turn for it to operate. Since this is the case, it tends to move somewhat slowly, and it takes longer to make your clothing. On a positive note, since there is no motor, you will not have to worry about your jam in on you.

The hand operator sewing machine is the machine that started it all for garment makers hundreds of years ago. The machine itself allowed people who had not had the luxury of today’s modern technology to still create garments for their families or various other loved ones. The great thing about the machine is what it has taught garment makers until this day. Many of the techniques and designs that we rely on to make clothing today were built upon the knowledge that the hand-operated sewing machine offered to many people prior to technology arriving in the space.

Treadle sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesWhen working with a mechanical sewing machine, you have to keep in mind that it can be a treadle or a hand-operated machine. The reason that is the case is that these machines were made prior to electrical power being available. These machines are more durable than the modern versions of sewing machines. The challenge with these machines is that they are not as fast as their mechanical counterparts.

Mechanical sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThe next type of domestic sewing machine is the one that you are probably more familiar with is the mechanical sewing machine. This is a more modern version of the vintage machines discussed earlier. This machine comes with advantages for a beginning sewer. Some of these pluses are the fact it is cost-friendly and does allow for various settings to be put into place by setting the dials in advance. It functions with a pedal and also comes with an on and off switch. There are a few limitations to this machine, though. When seeking to create complex garments, this is not the machine that will be able to accomplish that.

Electronic sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThe next type of machine to consider is the electronic sewing machine. This machine also comes with a foot pedal but now can run on electricity. This machine is great for users that are interested in having a wide variety of options when using dials and buttons, which allows for the opportunity to create a wide variety of designs and fit for garments.

When electricity made its way into the modern world, it had a direct impact on sewing machines throughout the world. By using electricity, now allowed garment makers to work in various settings and add various times throughout the day and regardless of light from the sun. Once upon a time, garment makers would work on their manual sewing machines during the daytime only or by candlelight at night. This intern was not safe and led to numerous accidents where the fire was involved due to candle-related issues. As a modern-day garment maker, you need to stop to reflect on how fortunate we all truly are being able to do something we love, like making clothing, and be able to do it in a safe environment whenever the desire hits.

Computerized sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesIf looking for a sewing machine that is extremely precise, then the computerized sewing machine. The advancement of technology has now removed the manual and dials from the equation and created a system that uses LCD screens to make the selection more exact. If those advancements were not powerful enough, now you are able to implement the use of Wi-Fi technology to upload various features that were not previously available.

As most of you have identified, when relying on technology, completing tasks and projects becomes more efficient and expedient. That is also the case here when using a computerized sewing machine. If you happen to run your own garment business, you recognize the importance of having a computer assist you with your clothing-making needs. As the computerized sewing machine is creating your design and executing it on the fabric, you as the business owner have the ability to handle more of the operational side of your business in the meantime. The great thing about using a computer I saw a machine is that the completed project will look exactly as the design it was based on.

Mini sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesWhen looking for a sewing machine that offers portability, a mini sewing machine is a great option. This type of sewing machine is best used for smaller projects. Unfortunately, these machines cannot handle a large workload, so they will not be able to complete large projects. Another issue is that they are not sturdy enough to hold up over time.

You do recognize the luxury of making a last-minute fix when you happen to have a portable sewing machine in your possession. The reality is that you will impress any client or potential client with your attention to detail and willingness to work on the run. As was mentioned above, it can’t handle the most complex jobs, but he can definitely provide a quick fix to some thread tearing or a quick, simple adjustment.

Lockstitch machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThe one machine that is most well known to have a mechanical fastening is the lockstitch. These machines usually come with 2 to 3 needles. The lockstitch comprises two strings that must be locked together to allow it to go through the gap made within the texture. This stitch works great for the majority of fabrics, and it is widely used both in the home and in the fashion industry. Besides, this stitch is incredible for most textures and is used both domestically and within the garment-making industry. One of the things you have to account for is that we may seek to use an alternative machine to sew flexible clothing. According to most reviews, the sturdiest model must be the 1-Needle Lockstitch by Juki, which, thanks to its reinforced construction, is the most reliable option out there.

Chain stitch machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThese days, we most frequently attempt to utilize the lockstitch since it is sturdier than the chain fastening machine. We tend to avoid using the chain stitch machine as when it becomes unraveled, we have to pull on the chain, and this would cause the clothes that we are making to tear. Even though that is the case, many garment makers continue to use the chain stitch machine. It is best to use these machines for curtains and for bed lines. It still has value when used, but you have to ensure that any excess fabric is cut away exactly.

Blind stitch machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThis machine is unique in the sense that its intention is for the hem to be hidden. That is where the challenge lies; you cannot accomplish this by using a standard sewing machine. So, we turn to the blind stitch machine, which specializes in this sort of sewing. They come with a helpful dial that we will turn to either left or right, which arranges the needle to seize more or less texture. If the needle grabs more fabric, then there is a higher likelihood that the stitch will be seen.

Cover stitch machine

Types of Sewing MachinesIf you are considering creating garments that will end up in a popular boutique, you most likely need a machine to hem them appropriately. That is where the cover stitch machine comes in. The cover stitch machine does an excellent job of hemming clothing. This machine does an excellent job of making it look professional. The unique approach with this machine is that it uses two needles. It is a highly relied upon machine as it is known to provide an excellent stitch.


Types of Sewing MachinesThe reality is that you can look at a garment that is from a high-end boutique, and it most likely can be identified based on how the edges were created. More accurately, it will depend on whether or not we have used an overlocker machine.

These machines were not meant to be used as such, but they do permit us to make mistake-free edges and professional-looking creases and trims. This machine comes with specialized cutters so it can cut away the excess fabric exactly.

Safety stitch machine

Types of Sewing MachinesA safety stitch machine is as though if you combined a two-thread chain stitch and a three-thread overlock stitch. This machine is highly relied upon to perform edge neatening, and the seam was stitching all at one time. At times, this is also supported by having an overlock sewing machine, but you can also choose to get it individually as just a safety stitch machine.

Flat seam machine

Types of Sewing MachinesWhen thinking of a flat seam machine, you must recall that there are two different types. One comes with a flatbed, and the other is a cylindrical bed. This machine is used to cut edges and sew any flat seams on certain knitted fabrics.

Bar tack sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThe bar tack sewing machine is used to do little stitches on belt loops and the top edge of pockets. This is an extremely important function as it reinforces certain areas that need to hold up over time. I am sure you can relate to a time where a belt failed you because of the lack of reinforcement when it was made. It is not a fun experience, and the bar-tack sewing machine is in place to keep this from happening more than it should.

Button sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesThis next machine is the button sewing machine. This machine is extremely important as it will take care of all your button needs. It will sew buttons using a lockstitch and buttonhole machine for various buttonhole supports.

Although many consumers don’t always pay attention to the buttons, they definitely realize their importance when a button fails them. With a button sewing machine, you can create buttons that will work reliably for customers throughout the world. The reality of it all is that if the customer or client does not know about your buttons, then that means that your buttons are holding up over time. If you start getting inquiries about your buttons, then that means they are continuously falling off, and that is a problem. It will not be good for business in the long run, so make sure you do all you can to keep them there securely.

Longarm quilting sewing machine

Types of Sewing MachinesIf your sewing passion revolves around quilting, then the long arm quilting sewing machine is your go-to device. It is a rather large machine, but it will suit your quilting needs for years to come. The advantage to using this machine is that some are computerized and will create quilting designs for you on a pressing level. It is pretty impressive to see in action!

Another thing to account for about this specific machine is that although it only focuses on quilts, it provides such a complex design of quilts that it will impress any person that sees the completed project. If you have not had the luxury of being given a beautiful quilt, then you should go out and create one to give to a loved one. You will not be surprised to see that they will be overjoyed by what you have created for them.

Embroidery machine

Types of Sewing MachinesIf considering the purchase of an embroidery machine, you must stop to ask yourself if you are planning on taking part in many embroideries. This is a powerful machine that has numerous built-in designs and can’t store these designs for future use. Many of these machines provide a USB port so other designs could be uploaded and used to embroider. Embroidery machines are very expensive and serve a great purpose for embroidery businesses throughout the world. If this is the line of work or business you are pursuing, you will definitely need one to be successful in your business venture.

One thing to keep in mind when considering an embroidery machine is that the embroidery business has exploded in the last ten years. Many companies have started creating apparel for businesses to sell via the e-commerce space. The reality is that you collect the clothing and charge the client a cost for the embroidery to take place, and some even provide the actual material goods to the client as well. Part of the reason that has become so popular is that it is quite a lucrative business if you provide good service, good product, and an excellent marketing strategy. If you feel like creating and putting something out into the world, the embroidery machine will help you create that.

Final Thoughts

As you have seen throughout the article, the number of sewing machines Trusted Source A stitch in time – new era for home sewing | Retail industry | The Guardian Television programmes and YouTube tutorials are inspiring millions of people to make their own clothe www.theguardian.com on the market that can support your garment-making skills is extensive. With that said, each of these machines provides a unique area of expertise for fabric and counters that you will have at one point or another. The reality is that you will find various sewing machines that you are most comfortable with and use them to create garments. However, there will be times where you will need to go out and find support or something that your current sewing machine cannot produce.

As we continue along with this technological age, it is imperative to stop to reflect how far the sewing world has come. There are limitless options to what you can create and when you can offer this world. Now you just need to identify your tools, instruments, and designs to make this garment environment a more fruitful and colorful place.


A stitch in time – new era for home sewing | Retail industry | The Guardian
Television programmes and YouTube tutorials are inspiring millions of people to make their own clothe
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