What Kinds of Machines are Required for Starting Garment Business? (for Beginners)

It is good news that you are also interested in setting up your garment business, like many other entrepreneurs. I want to let you know that this is a common question everyone asks about machines and necessary equipment requirement for starting garment business. I have written reply to this question many times. One such question: "I want to start garment manufacturing in small scale. What all machines I need to purchase for my factory?"

Today I am writing an extensive post on this question. I am not just answering your question directly by giving a fix list of sewing machines but I will be discussing it with examples – things based on which machine types are planned for a new set-up.

Are you looking for types of machine requirement for stitching section only? Only knowing stitching machines are not enough for running a garment manufacturing business. You will be needed cutting machines, garment pressing machines, washing machine and more.

Look at the processes that you need to follow. A common flow of garment unit is likely (where machine or equipment is required):

Fabric checking -- measuring fabric weight -- fabric testing – fabric layering –fabric cutting –garment sewing –garment pressing –garment washing –garment checking and more

1. Sewing machines requirement:

You have to select sewing machines according the stitching operations (seam construction) to be used in the garment design. You might have multiple options for selecting stitching machine for stitching one seam. But for mass production you have to look at production speed and stitching quality as well. Based on these two factors you have to select sewing machines that suits best for the operations.

If you want to start with minimum number of machines for making basic products like shirt and trouser, you must have one lock stitch machine and one serger (overlock machine). Visit a tailoring shop near your house you will get to see these two types of sewing machines. They use hand scissors for cutting garment parts and use hand press (iron) to press the garment.

Traditional tailoring shops are mostly use black head lock stitch sewing machines. For mass production it is recommended to use industrial sewing machines.

  • To make T-shirts in bulk you need machines like single needle lock stitch, Overlock, flat lock machines. 
  • To make leggings you need machines like Overlock, and flat lock. 
  • To make a shirt you need machines like single needle lock stitch, overlock button hole and button attach. These are the minimum requirement.
You can extend this list by adding operation specific machines. Remember machine requirement is completely depend on styling in the products.
Lock stitch machine
Like for the same product you might need different types of sewing machines due to product design variation. Like for making styling T-shirt you may need machine like, double needle chain stitch machine, or Multi needle chain stitch machine. Overlock machine with back latch, Button holing machine, snap button attaching machine, or zig-zag sewing machine. In overlock machine series there are 3 thread over lock, 4 thread overlock and 5 thread overlock machines. You may need all these 3 types of overlock machines for making a t-shirt.

The best way to decide machine requirement is collect your product sample and check product construction detail (seam construction) and according to that prepare machine requirement. Secondly, you might have selected multiple products for your project (garment business). In that case you can share same machine for stitching different products.

I know you are new to this business; just having garment sample one can’t make the list of machine requirement. You can contact us for understanding machine requirement for your project. While you are contacting me be specific about the product name that you will be making in the set-up and product design in the given product categories. I hope you are understood why I am telling you to be specific about product categories and product design.


I have already written few articles on product wise machines requirement. You might find these articles helpful. Click on the following links to read more.

#1: Sewing Machines needed for making t-shirt
#2. Sewing machines needed for making shirt
#3. Sewing machines needed for making Leggings
#4. sewing machines needed for making polo
#5. Sewing machines needed for making Jeans
#6. Sewing machines needed for making Bra
#7. Sewing machines needed for making panties

Now-a-days, many automatic and semi automatic sewing machines are used in stitching section. Like jeans back pocket making (folding pocket edges and hemming) and pocket attaching machine, auto pocket welting machine for trousers and jackets.

Also read: Industrial sewing machinery used in mass garment production 

2. Cutting machines and equipment

For cutting garment components from fabric sheet, you have many options to cut the fabric. Like Hand scissors, Round knife cutting machine, Straight knife cutting machine, Band knife cutting machine and computerized cutting machine. Based on production daily capacity/requirement you have to choose one or motile tools for cutting fabric. For example, if you want to make 50 shirts daily, you have to cut at least daily. For that many pieces a round knife cutting machine is enough. But yes you alternatively can use straight knife cutting machine or hand scissors.

Also read: Cutting Room Overview

3. Finishing machines and equipment:

You need garment pressing machine to iron garments for removing all creases in the garment and to give a nice look to the garments. You can use hand press (steam press) or you can install pressing workstation having vacuum table and inbuilt steam boiler. See the below image for pressing workstation.

Other equipment like spotting machine, thread trimmer, washing machines are required for garment finishing.

Also read: Functions of Garment Finishing Department

Once you are ready with you business plan or at the stage of preparing draft of your business plan you can contact sewing machine suppliers. They will give you list of sewing machines required for your product(s).

In my book Garment Manufacturing: Processes, Practices and Technology, I have explained type of machines and equipment are used by garment factories in different processes. If you are planning for starting mass garment production, you will find this book helpful.

Also see: Frequently asked questions on garment business start-up



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Online Clothing Study: What Kinds of Machines are Required for Starting Garment Business? (for Beginners)
What Kinds of Machines are Required for Starting Garment Business? (for Beginners)
sewing machine requirement for garment business start-up.
Online Clothing Study
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