Different Types of Industrial Sewing Machines and Their Use

Industrial sewing machines are normally used in mass garment production. An industrial sewing machine is power-driven and runs at a very high speed. There are different types of industrial sewing machines. There are some special sewing machines developed for making specific seam and stitch classes.

To have in-depth knowledge of sewing machines, different types of sewing machines are listed in this post. The application of these machines is also mentioned with an example. This would help beginners to visualize the machine’s application in making the common products.

1. Single Needle Lock Stitch Machine

This machine makes lock stitches (stitch class 301). Lock stitches are formed with one needle thread and one bobbin thread. This is a widely used sewing machine and used for sewing stitch class 301. Basic to computer-controlled version is available in this machine category.

Purpose: Single needle lock stitch machines are used for joining two or multiple fabric plies together. The machine is used to sew lightweight, medium weight, and heavy materials.

Single needle lock stitch machine
Lock stitch machine

2. Overlock Sewing Machine

Overlock machines are available in 3 threads, 4 threads and 5 threads over edge sewing. An overlock machine can form various types of stitches like stitch class 503, stitch class 504 and stitch class 512.

Purpose: This machine is used for serging garment panels (for example: trouser panels serging) and for overedge stitch. These types of machine are mostly used in knitted garment sewing for overedge stitch. Like side seam stitch of a t-shirt is done using an overlock machine.
Over edge machine
Overlock sewing machine

Overlock stitch
Read more about an overlock sewing machine.

3. Flatlock sewing machine

This machine is called a cover-stitch sewing machine. Flatlock sewing machines normally come with 2-3 needles. For the bottom cover stitch machine 2 needle threads pass through the material and inter loop with 1 looper thread with the stitch set on the underside of the seam. Flatlock sewing machine form stitches like Stitch class 406.

Flatlock machines are available in two types - A flatbed and Cylinder bed.

Usage of these machines: Flatlock machines are used for hemming sleeve and bottom of the knits products. A cover-stitch machine can be used in any part of the garment for decorative purpose. 

Flat lock stitch machine
Flat lock machine / Cover edge stitching machine (Flat bed type) 

4. Feed off the Arm 

This machine is used in making flat and felt seams. Two-needle threads form the chain stitch.

For example, this machine is used for sewing shirt side seams and underarms, and for sewing jeans inseam.
Feed off the arm
Feed off the Arm machine

Image of Shirt side seam/jean inseam

5. Button Attaching Machine

A special machine used only for stitching button in a garment. different sizes of button can be attached in same the machine by changing the settings.

Button sewing machine
Purpose: Attach button. Machine stitches button and trim thread automatically.

6. Button Hole Machine

This machine is used for making buttonholes on garments. Buttonholes can be made with different stitch densities. Like in Shirts, Trousers, and Polo Shirts etc.

Button sewing machine

7. Bartack machine

Bartack stitch is made to reinforce the seam and garment component. Like in belt loop joining and at the bottom of side pocket opening bartaking is done. 
Bartack stitch machine

8. Zigzag sewing machine:

This machine is used for zigzag stitching. Used in bra manufacturing, jacket manufacturing.
Zig-zag sewing machine

9. Multi-needle chain stitch machine

This machine used for smocking operations and pin-tuck operations.
Kansai special
Multi-needle sewing machine

10. Double needle lock stitch machine 

A double-needle lock stitch machine is used to sew two stitch lines at a time on the garment part. This reduces stitching time where a double stitch line is needed to sew.

Other than these machines there are few more types of machines. Check this list.

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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