What Types of Sewing Machines Are Used in the Garment Industry?


The global garment industry employs millions of people, generating billions in annual revenue. The industry adapts in this way to meet consumers’ ever-evolving needs and wants and the latest style trends.

You could be wondering what kinds of sewing machines are used in the garment industry if you’re thinking of working there or if you’re fascinated by the sheer volume of clothing that can be produced. Here’s where industrial sewing machines come in handy.

Most industrial sewing machines are powered by electricity and operate rapidly. These are the commercial sewing machines used in production facilities worldwide. Clothing design and production, including the garment manufacturing sector, is the most pertinent.

Several varieties of heavy-duty sewing machines exist. Many types of seam and stitch techniques require specialized sewing equipment.

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

Sewing Machines Used in the Garment Industry

Due to the rise of the fashion industry, massive production capacity machinery is in high demand. For making ready-to-wear clothing, the two most frequent types of sewing machines are:

Manually Operated

This sewing machine relies on manual effort to complete a stitch. Sewing machines requiring a human operator are mostly used for home and industrial sewing. These sewing machines are inexpensive and simple, but they could be better for mass production.

Electrically Operated

Electrical sewing machines are run by plugging them into an electrical outlet. Due to increased apparel production, these types of equipment are commonly utilized in the garment industry. Some have a computer chip embedded in them, making them completely synthetic and preprogrammed to carry out their duties indefinitely in response to orders.


Types of Sewing Machines

Clothing 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 types of clothing you plan to stitch will dictate the industrial sewing machine you choose. Of course, the type of motor and degree of automation are also important factors to consider. These are some examples of industrial sewing machines used in the clothing industry:

Blind Hem

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


A coverstitch machine is used for a polished look for athletic projects and knit textiles. This stitch type is commonly used to make t-shirts, leggings, and elastic bindings because it is secure and flexible.

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

Many factors should be considered before purchasing a coverstitch machine, including the budget, brand, quality, kind, and intended application. Although coverstitch machines are growing in popularity among amateur seamstresses, purchasing one is a significant financial commitment, and there are many factors to consider before making such a purchase.


Flatbed Machine

The flatbed (or flat lock) machine is the most common industrial sewing machine, producing a straight stitch. The ergonomics of sewing with flat-laying fabrics are improved using a flatbed sewing machine comparable to a standard sewing machine. The appropriate presser foot may also be used to stitch on knits, non-grain fabrics, and wovens.


Several industrial hemming machines exist, including the previously mentioned blind hem machine. The rolled hem machine is yet another common variety.

Industrial Buttonhole Machines

There is an expansive variety of sewing machines available. Some, like buttonhole machines in factories, provide very specific functions. Simple automatic machines perform a set function in a repeating pattern.

A buttonhole attachment (or the buttonhole mode of a general-purpose machine) is good for making a few buttonholes when sewing a shirt. Still, a dedicated industrial buttonhole machine is considerably more efficient and effective when working on a large scale in a textile mill. But, you must be precise when identifying the locations of the buttonholes; once they’ve been sewed and snipped, there’s no turning back.

3, 4, or 5 Thread Sergers

Depending on the model, industrial sergers (overlockers) can have three, four, or five threads. Depending on their construction, some are made for use with both woven and knit textiles, while others are made just for knits. Sergers can be used to achieve various finishes, including the popular ‘merrow’ edge.

Waistband Sewing Machine

The waistband sewing machine exemplifies the specialized nature of many industrial sewing machines. Waistbands of medium-heavy to heavy fabrics, such as those seen in jeans and work pants, can be sewn using these machines.


Walking Foot Machine

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

Servo Motor vs. Clutch Motor

The sewing machine sector often uses either servo or clutch motors. Both are frequently employed because of their amazing attributes, which produce excellent outcomes.

Servo Motor

Car brakes, robot arms, and missile guidance systems are examples of electrical machinery employing servo motors. These high-tech motors are found in industrial sewing machines and only consume electricity when needed.

Furthermore, the servo motor permits sophisticated control circuitry, which enables highly precise operations even when fully loaded. This is why newer manufacturing equipment can automatically do actions like cutting thread and backstitching.

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

Clutch Motor

Maintaining a high-quality clutch motor in your sewing machine is crucial. When operating a sewing machine, the Clutch motor assists the needle in entering and exiting the fabric.

Older machines typically have an electric motor that is always running, using energy. Sewing machines with clutch motors require less energy to run. Similarly to a car’s accelerator, the clutch pedal delivers motor power to the device.


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 practical option for accessing the more automated functions. So, what advantages does each have?

Manual versus Automatic

Most domestic sewing machines can be compared to manual industrial machines in terms of their operation. Manual labor is required for all sewing tasks, including bobbin filling, needle threading, and thread cutting.

Certain domestic machines can perform the last two functions. However, they tend to be more expensive. A second-hand clutch-motor industrial machine may be the best option for a straight stitch machine because of the lower price.

On the other hand, a servo or automatic machine can do things like automatically load a new bobbin with thread, cut the thread, and back tack a predetermined number of stitches while you sew.

Again, some domestic sewing machines can do these jobs, but depending on your needs, an industrial machine’s power and dependability may be preferable.

AC versus DC

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

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

Why does this matter? This is because the currents used by servo and clutch motors differ. Clutch motors, being induction motors, may function directly off the AC wall power without requiring a rectifier, but servo motors require an onboard rectifier to convert the AC.

Choosing An Industrial Sewing Machine


Choosing An Industrial Sewing Machine

What you’ll be using the sewing machine for is the deciding factor in which one to purchase. Those in the garment industry who invest in industrial sewing machines do so because they require a machine that can handle more work at a faster pace.

It can be challenging to get things going when using a domestic sewing machine with certain fabrics. This is a good choice if you need to sew numerous layers of fabric together but want to save needles and avoid getting frustrated. 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 for heavier textiles like canvas or leather, while others perform well with lighter fabrics like fine silk or cotton for dressmaking.


The garment industry relies on electrically powered sewing machines to keep up with the needs of fashion-forward consumers. If you want good outcomes, you need good sewing machines. This is why the garment industry is full of sophisticated industrial sewing machines.

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