What Types Of Sewing Machines Are Used In The Garment Industry? | New York spaces (2023)

The global apparel industry employs millions of people and generates billions in annual sales. The industry is adapting in this way to meet the ever-evolving needs and desires of consumers and the latest style trends.

You may be wondering what types of sewing machines are used in the clothing industry if you are thinking of working there or if you are intrigued by the sheer volume of clothing that can be made. This is where industrial sewing machines come into play.

Most industrial sewing machines are powered by electricity and work quickly. These are the commercial sewing machines used in manufacturing facilities worldwide. Garment design and production, including the garment manufacturing sector, are most relevant.

There are several types of heavy duty sewing machines. Many types of suturing and stitching techniques require special sewing equipment.

If you work in the clothing industry, you should be familiar with the many models of industrial sewing machines. Below we describe the many types and the roles they play.

Sewing machines for the clothing industry

Because ofthe rise of the fashion industry, Machines with massive production capacity are in high demand. For the manufacture of ready-to-wear clothing, the two most common types of sewing machines are:

Manually operated

This sewing machine relies on manual effort to complete a stitch. Sewing machines that require a human operator are mainly used for home and industrial sewing. These sewing machines are cheap and basic, but for mass production they could be better.

Electrically operated

Electric sewing machines are operated by being plugged into an electrical outlet. Due to the increase in garment production, these types of equipment are commonly used in the garment industry. Some have a computer chip embedded in them, making them fully synthetic and pre-programmed to perform their tasks indefinitely in response to commands.

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Types of sewing machines

Garment production shifted from homes to large, purpose-built factories with sophisticated, high-speed sewing equipment. Getting the job done is never a problem for a heavy duty industrial sewing machine.

Your needs and the type of clothing you want to sew will determine your choice of industrial sewing machine. Of course, the type of motor and the degree of automation are also important factors to consider. These are some examples of industrial sewing machines used in the garment industry:


This commercial machine was designed for sewing blind hems on garments including dresses, skirts and pant legs. Instead of moving the needle up and down like a standard sewing machine, the blind hemmer moves it from side to side. Blind hem finishes are difficult to achieve and require a specific technique, but they are flawless and unnoticeable when done well.


A coverstitch machine is used for a polished look on athletic projects and knitted fabrics. This type of stitch is commonly used to make t-shirts, leggings and elastics because it is secure and flexible.

If you frequently work with stretchy materials and have trouble with your standard sewing machine stitches popping out at the hem, this one is for you. Coverstitch machines that produce elastic stitches are the answer to this predicament.

Many factors should be considered before purchasing a coverstitch machine including budget, brand, quality, type and intended application. Although coverstitch machines are becoming increasingly popular among home sewers, purchasing one is a significant financial commitment and there are many factors to consider before making the purchase.

What Types Of Sewing Machines Are Used In The Garment Industry? | New York spaces (1)

flatbed machine

The flatbed (or flatlock) sewing machine is the most common industrial sewing machine that produces a straight stitch. Ergonomics when sewing with lay-flat fabrics is improved with a flatbed sewing machine comparable to a standard sewing machine. The matching presser foot can also be used for sewing on knits, non-grain fabrics and woven fabrics.

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There are several industrial hemming machines including the previously mentioned blind hemmer. The rolled hemming machine is another common variant.

Industrial buttonhole machines

There is a wide range of sewing machines. Some, like factory buttonhole machines, offer very specific functions. Simple automatic machines perform a set function in a repetitive pattern.

A buttonhole attachment (or the buttonhole mode on an all-purpose machine) is good for making a few buttonholes while sewing a shirt. Still, a dedicated industrial buttonhole machine is significantly more efficient and effective when working on a large scale in a textile factory. But you have to be precise when identifying the positions of the buttonholes; Once sewn and cut, there is no turning back.

3, 4 oder 5 Thread Sergers

Depending on the model, industrial overlock machines have three, four or five threads. Depending on their construction, some are made for both woven and knitted textiles, while others are made for knitwear only. Sergers can be used to achieve a variety of finishes, including the popular "merrow" edge.

waistband sewing machine

The waistband sewing machine illustrates the specialized nature of many industrial sewing machines. These machines can be used to sew waistbands from medium to heavy fabrics, such as those found on jeans and work pants.

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walking pedal

Another common type of industrial sewing machine is the walking foot machine. This device is quite similar to the flatbed, except that it only comes with a one-foot type (the walking foot) and that foot is permanently attached to the chassis.

Servo motor vs. clutch motor

In the sewing machine sector, either servo or clutch motors are often used. Both are widely used for their amazing properties that deliver excellent results.

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Car brakes, robotic arms, and missile guidance systems are examples of electric machines that use servomotors. These high-tech motors are found in industrial sewing machines and only use electricity when it is needed.

In addition, the servo motor enables a sophisticated control circuit that enables high-precision work even under full load. Because of this, newer production equipment can automatically perform actions such as thread cutting and topstitching.

On the other hand, servo motors can be difficult to manipulate. They are prone to overheating if not directed in the right direction.

clutch motor

Maintaining a quality clutch motor in your sewing machine is vital. When operating a sewing machine, the clutch motor assists the needle in moving it in and out of the fabric.

Older machines usually have an electric motor that is always running and consuming energy. Sewing machines with clutch motors require less energy to run. Similar to a car's gas pedal, the clutch pedal supplies engine power to the device.

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Which is better: an automatic or a manual industrial sewing machine?

In this context, it is evident that a machine equipped with a servo motor is the only viable option to access the more automated functions. So what are the benefits of each?

Manual versus automatic

The operation of most household sewing machines can be compared to manual industrial machines. Needlework is required for all sewing including bobbin filling, needle threading, and thread trimming.

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Certain household machines can perform the last two functions. However, they tend to be more expensive. A used industrial machine with a clutch motor might be the best option for a straight stitch machine due to the lower price.

On the other hand, a servo or automatic machine can do things like automatically load a new spool of thread, trim the thread, and sew a predetermined number of stitches as you sew.

Again, some home sewing machines can do these jobs, but depending on your needs, the power and reliability of an industrial machine might be preferable.

Alternating current versus direct current

When deciding between a clutch motor and a servo motor, energy consumption is another factor to consider.

AC means "alternating current" and can go from positive to negative or from negative to positive. DC, on the other hand, means direct current, and the voltage is always constant.

Why is that important? This is because the currents used by servo and clutch motors are different. Coupling motors, which are induction motors, can run directly from mains power without the need for a rectifier, but servo motors require an onboard rectifier to convert the AC power.

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Choosing an industrial sewing machine

What you use the sewing machine for is the deciding factor in the purchase. Those in the apparel industry who invest in industrial sewing machines do so because they need a machine that can handle more work at a faster pace.

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It can be difficult to get things started when using a home sewing machine with certain fabrics. This is a good choice when you need to sew multiple layers of fabric together but want to save on needles and frustration. Most of the best-selling industrial sewing machines have been used in the garment industry for many years.

Note that different types of industrial fabrics require different types of industrial sewing machines. Some are better suited to heavier textiles such as canvas or leather, while others work well with lighter fabrics such as fine silk or cotton for tailoring.


The apparel industry relies on electric sewing machines to keep up with the needs of fashion-conscious consumers. If you want good results, you need good sewing machines. Because of this, the garment industry is full of sophisticated industrial sewing machines.


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