List of Sewing Machines Used for Making Shirts

Different types of sewing machines are available for sewing shirts. A single list of sewing does not fit for all. You have to select only those machines that you can utilize in your set-up whether it is a very small set-up or a large factory. In this post, you will learn the name of the machines used for shirt manufacturing in two different scenarios.

    i) Machines used by Tailoring Shops (Make Through System)
    ii) Machines used by garment factories where production is done for a large volume.

Tailoring Shop: In tailoring shop, basic shirts are made using one Single Needle Lock Stitch machine only. Attaching button and making button holes in front placket and cuffs are done manually. Now-a-days tailoring shops install over lock machine to give clean finish and stopping fraying of yarns in underarm and side seam. In most of the tailoring shops custom made shirt are stitched. They normally use umbrella machine.
Secondly, button holing and button attaching operations are outsourced for giving better finish and give a factory made look.

Therefore, in case you have a plan of starting a tailoring shop or a boutique with couple of sewing machines an over lock machine (also known as interlock) and single needle lock stitch machine would be enough.

Image credit: Laguna Clothing

In Garment Factory: In the small and medium shirt making factories, industrial sewing machines with latest technology is used to make shirts in large volume (mass production). Industrial sewing machines are used for getting production per day per person, to get consistency in quality and workmanship. In another post I have mentioned detailed list of sewing machines and non-sewing machine used for making shirt in a factory. Also I have mentioned list of operations to be made by different types of sewing machine. Read it here.

Just for your quick reference a list of sewing machines are shown below. Automatic and semi-automatic machines are excluded from the list.

  • Single Needle Lock Stitch (three different types of SNLS machines are used depending on operation. Normal lock stitch machine, with under bed trimmer and equipped with edge cutter)
  • Feed off the Arm
  • Multi-needle chain stitch machine (e.g. Kansai Special)
  • Double needle lock stitch machine
  • Button holing machine
  • Button Sewing machine
It is not necessary that you have to use all above-listed machines to make quality shirts. Selection of machines depends on the construction of the shirt and its styling. There are few operations in shirt those can be stitched in various ways.

For example, Operation side seam of a shirt can be made in 3 ways

- Five thread over lock machine (Safety stitch)
- Flat and fell seam by using single needle lock stitch machine.
- Feed off the Arm

See Also: Operation Breakdown of a Full Sleeve Shirt

Some factories use semi automatic machines for sewing garment parts, like attaching chest pocket, making front plackets etc.

Post your comments if you need further details on machine requirement for shirt unit.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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