Study on Industrial sewing machines: A Comprehensive Guide to Types and Application in Apparel Manufacturing

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Name of the Experiment:

Study on different types of industrial sewing machines and their application.


It has been around for centuries that sewing has been an integral part of human civilization. From clothing and accessories to home furnishings and industrial textiles, sewing is one of the most important ways to create functional and aesthetic items. The sewing machine has evolved into a complex device that enhances productivity and efficiency over time. The purpose of this study is to explore sewing machines and their uses so that professionals and hobbyists can learn more about the variety of tools available. Providing speed, precision, and versatility, sewing machines have revolutionized the way we sew. Sewing machines come in a variety of forms, from hand-operated models to sophisticated computerized models. Different types of sewing machines have different characteristics and applications, which enables individuals to make educated decisions and maximize their sewing capabilities. There are two types of sewing machines.

  1. Manually operated sewing machine.
  2. Electrically operated sewing machine.
  1. Manually operated sewing machine: These machines operate mainly through physical force. The sewing works are accomplished by moving the machine pulley by hand or by leg, resulting in a very low production rate and high labor requirement. Sewing machines operated manually are mostly found in homes and tailor shops.
  2. Electrically operated sewing machine: This type of sewing machine is primarily powered by electricity. As their production capacity is relatively higher, they are being used on a large scale in the garment manufacturing industry. Industrial sewing machines are sewing machines that are used in garment factories.


  • Identify and classify different types of industrial sewing machines.
  • Investigate their applications in the garment manufacturing industry.
  • Contribute to the existing knowledge about industrial sewing machines and their potential uses.

Types of Industrial Sewing Machine:

There are many types of industrial sewing machines available on the market today, such as,

  1. Lock stitch machine.
  2. Chain stitch machine.
  3. Over lock machine.
  4. Zig-zag stitching machine.
  5. Flat lock machine.
  6. Blind stitch machine.
  7. Button holing machine.
  8. Button attaching machine.
  9. Bar tack machine.

The following is a discussion about the types of sewing machines that are used in garment manufacturing industries to sew garments together.

1. Lock stitch machine:

Generally, lockstitch sewing machines have one needle, but they can also have two needles. They come with a variety of feed mechanisms, and they sew at different speeds depending on the type of lockstitch and the company. The stitches per minute (SPM) is the number of stitches made per minute. Lock stitch machines are generally able to stitch between 1500 and 5500 stitches per minute. The stitch density is the number of stitches in each unit of length, i.e. how many stitches are in a unit of length. It depends on the machine and company how many stitches are made per unit of length. Juki, Model-DDL-5500, can make stitches up to 5mm long. As part of some lockstitch machines, the sewing thread is automatically trimmed and the bobbin is automatically wound automatically. In some lockstitch machines, it is also possible to trim the edges of fabrics before sewing them. Lockstitch machines are most commonly used for garments made from woven fabrics.

Figure: Single needle lock stitch sewing machine


  • Garments, suits, and shirts can be sewn with Lockstitch sewing machines.
  • The collars are stitched precisely and securely by them, maintaining their shape and structure.
  • Sewing the front of garments with lockstitch machines ensures neat and professional results.
  • Lockstitch maintains stitch consistency and durability, making it the preferred choice for these critical areas.

2. Chain stitch sewing machine:

The chain stitch can be made with one thread or more than one thread using various types of sewing machines. This type of machine may have more than one needle and can also have an automatic thread trimmer. It is possible to adjust the chain stitch machine’s feed mechanism, which can range from 1800 to 6000 stitches per minute. The stitch length usually ranges from 1.4 to 4.5 millimeters. Knitted and denim fabrics are most commonly sewed with chain stitch machines.

Figure: Chain stitch sewing machine


  • Temporary stitches are usually made with chain stitching.
  • The machine can be used both on knit and woven fabrics as well as on heavy fabrics like jeans and denim.
  • Shirt side seams and jeans pant inseams use chain stitching.
  • Sewing front plackets is also done with it.

3. Over lock machine:

Generally, over edge machines are referred to as overlock machines. The machine has one or two needles with an automatic edge trimmer at the front of it. Two or five threads are used to make overlock stitches. Overlock machines usually have a speed of 6500 per minute, but there are also some with a speed of 8500 per minute. During fabric feeding, there are also arrangements for stretching (max 1:0.6) and gathering (max 1:4). Knitted fabrics and woven fabrics are both sewn with this type of machine. The stitch length can be increased to 4 mm and can also be changed with a push button. Nevertheless, in the knitted garment factory, there is a high demand for overlock machines.

Figure: Over lock machine


  • Over lock sewing machine is used for stitching over the edges of knitted garments for a clean finish.
  • It also used for stitching of knitted garments side seam.
  • Garment panels, such as trousers, can also be serged with this machine.
  • knitted garments are typically edged with these machines.

4. Zig-zag stitching machine:

A zig-zag stitching machine is one of the special editions of the lockstitch sewing machines. They generally have one needle and stitch with two threads. With zig-zag stitching machines, the needle throw or the width of the hole can range from 5 to 10 millimeters, and the stitch length normally ranges from 2 to 2.5 millimeters. The highest speed of these machines is up to 5500 stitches per minute.

Figure: Zig-zag stitching machine


  • A zigzag sewing machine is commonly used for edge stitching, providing a neat, secure finish to fabric edges.
  • It is also used for decorative top stitching on garments and other fabric projects to add visual interest and embellishment.
  • Zigzag machines are used to attach elastic, tape, and braid to fabrics in addition to edge stitching.
  • Zigzag stitching allows for controlled fabric gathering, which is particularly useful when creating gathers.
  • Zigzag machines can be used for mending and repairing fabrics, offering versatility in mending rips, tears, and loose seams.

5. Flat lock machine:

The flat lock machine uses up to four needles and four to nine threads to stitch. It requires the maximum quantity of threads for sewing. For example, about 32 inches of thread are required for sewing an inch of length in flat lock. It is common for this type of machine to stitch at 6000 stitches per inch, and 8-16 stitches can be made per inch.

Figure: Flat lock sewing machine


  • The main use of flatlock sewing machines is to sew knitted fabrics due to the ability to produce flat, flexible, and stretchable seams.
  • These machines are commonly used in activewear, sportswear, swimwear, and other garments made from stretch fabrics.
  • Decorative seams can be created on garments with these machines, bringing a unique aesthetic appeal to the garment.
  • Though these machines are more commonly associated with knits, flatlock machines can also be used to sew garments made from woven fabrics.
  • Compared to other sewing machines, flatlock machines tend to be more expensive because of their specialized functionality and precision.

6. Blind stitch machine:

It is called a blind stitch machine because the sewing is not visible from the front of the fabric or garment when it is sewn with this type of machine. Generally, curved needles are used in this type of machine, so the needle can partially penetrate into the fabric. As a result, the sewing is not visible from the front because the needle penetrates into the fabric and then returns to the same side. In most of the blind stitch machines, there is also an optional skip stitch device attached, with which the outside layer of fabric is partially penetrated after every one stitch or two stitches alternately. In general, a single thread is required to create a blind stitch, however two threads can also be used to make a blind stitch. This type of machine has a speed of up to 2500 stitches per minute and a stitch length of up to 8mm. A blind stitch with two threads poses no risk of being easily opened.

Figure: Blind stitch machine

Application: In most cases, it is used to sew the edges of facing and attach it to them on a large scale.

7. Button holing machine:

There are a number of machines for making button holes in garments with the help of machines. There are options in button hole machines for making the holes larger or smaller, as well as increasing or decreasing the density of stitches. Generally, button hole machines use lockstitch or chain. Before or after sewing, button holes are made by cutting the fabrics. Both the cutting of the hole and sewing of the button hole have their advantages and disadvantages. If the hole is cut before the sewing of the button hole, then the cutting part is covered by the sewing and it looks beautiful and clean. The disadvantages, however, are that once the sewing cycle begins, there is no longer time to change the locations of button holes, so without it, the cutting end cannot make a fairly accurate stitch as a result of flagging. In the case of cutting a button hole after sewing it, the place of the button hole can be changed later on due to defects, and flagging does not cause any problems during the button hole sewing process. One of the biggest problems is that fabric threads can be seen along the button hole’s sewing, which is unsightly. The button hole is generally cut before the sewing of the button hole in densely woven and coarse fabrics, and the button hole is generally cut after the sewing of the button hole in fine fabrics. Depending on the nature of the garment, there will be a difference in what system is best for that garment.

Figure: Button hole sewing machine

Application: It is operated by a computer panel on the machine to create the button hole on the fabric.

8. Button attaching machine:

The button sewing machine uses a variety of clamps for attaching buttons of different sizes and each machine is equipped with different types of button clamps. Buttons usually have two or four holes. A four-hole button can also be attached either parallelly or crossly. However, buttons can come in a variety of styles, such as having a shank under the button or having a thread shank during sewing. A button can be sewn using lockstitch, chain stitch or hand stitch. If chain stitch is used, sewing is seen clean to look at in the fabric at the back side of the button but the security of the stitch is relatively low, so the button may fall down any time if the stitch is opened. In the case of lockstitch, there is no possibility of the button opening, thus no risk of fall down, but there is a mess at the back of the button when it is stitched. With the help of a hoper and pipe, the buttons are fed into the clamps of the button automatically and button positioning is done in the fully automatic machine. In addition, predetermined numbers of buttons are attached in cyclic order in garments at predetermined places.

Figure: Button attaching machine

Application: A special machine that is used only for stitching buttons onto garments. Several sizes of buttons can be attached with the same machine by changing the settings in order to match the size of the button.

9. Bar tack machine:

 For strong sewing in a very short length, it is a cyclic machine. After tack stitching of a small length (1-2 cm), the machine does a cover stitch in the opposite direction on the tack stitch. The number of tack stitches and cover stitches can be manipulated a little. Belt loops can be made with this type of machine, pockets can be strengthened at the corners, and buttons can be closed at their corners, but it cannot be used for ordinary sewing.

Figure: bar tack sewing machine

Application: This stitch is used to reinforce seams and garment components. It is commonly used in belt loop joining and at the bottom of side pocket openings. 


It is important to understand that sewing machines are essential to the manufacturing, tailoring, and crafting of garments. The purpose of this study was to examine the various types of sewing machines and their applications, focusing on industrial lockstitch machines, over lock machines, zigzag machines, and flat lock machines. This is an experiment that will help us in our future life. We are grateful to our teacher for helping us out.

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