Types of sewing machines

The Twenty Types of Sewing Machines

You may want to replace your current older version of the sewing machine with a better one. This decision may prove as a pitfall if you don’t study your market options well. So, before you get trapped in the sales man’s created fool’s paradise.

We will provide you with a factual guide about the main twenty types of sewing machines. They have a wide range. Some options are suitable for beginners, others give advanced complex features for the professionals.

There are many budget-friendly machines. Some others count heavily on the budget but provide lots of working opportunities in one machine.

While buying the machines you have to look for certain things. They are briefly discussed below so that when you read about their types. So, let’s see what to see for a wonderful sewing experience.

  • Accessories options with the machines
  • Noise levels:
  • Stitch variety:
  • Range of stitching fabrics:
  • Machines expected lifetime:

Consider the above things in mind as we describe different types of sewing machines.

Types of sewing machines

The Types of sewing machines:

We will start below with beginners’ level and gradually add to the machines with more options and professional’s demand. They can be classified according to the type of work they do also. Let’s discuss all possible basis.

Sewing machines working with hands:

Though days of hand-operated machines are more or less over. But yet you may encounter them in remote areas with electricity issues. They are very low priced so it may be an option for those who want to make their living.

They have a simple option of straight stitch. It is operated by rotating a wheel axle in a clockwise direction. Therefore, it has the disadvantage of taking more time and effort than the output.

Nevertheless, it is a vintage collection piece! A must buy for them before it becomes obsolete!

Treadle sewing machine:

These were also used in old golden days. They are characterized by the to-and-fro movement of the foot presser. Since there is no motor so they move by using this pedal system. It was used heavily for the textile industry.

They were engaged in other functions besides just being used in textile sewing and stitching. They were consumed in power looms, spinning wheels reciprocating saws, etc.

Now they have been replaced by modern, motorized and trendy sewing machines. But like the hand-operated machine, you may discover it in the antique collection.

Domestic Sewing machines:

As their name indicates they are meant for working at home. These machines are particularly effective in the variety of stitches they offer. The stitches range from ordinary hemming to stitching the bedding.

The stitch quality is usually not as refined as the heavy commercial machines. It has a small motor for a workout for good 4-6 hours per day. Their price is in the economical range too. They are however not suitable for heavy and very thick fabrics such as quilted comforters etc.

They will also not perform well on leather or denim etc. However, you can use them for your domestic stitching, especially if you are fond of stitching at home.

Mini stitch sewing machines:

This is an absolute and perfect gift for your daughter in her early days of learning and experimenting with sewing machines. They are carried along in long travels too far stitching or hemming purposes.

Since they are lightweight, portable and compact, they make the perfect choice for you when you are traveling. It usually comes with 10-12 built-in stitches, LED-lit working site, speed ranging from 300-500 milliamperes. Some of the models come with double stitch options.

It is best for kids and learners but is not suitable for heavy commercial or industrial purposes. They cannot stitch heavy and thick fabrics. You can enjoy stitching on the move if you have a mini stitch machine.

Chain stitching sewing machines:

They are different from other types not only in their looks but also in working. It is a type of embroidery machine. This is particularly helpful in creating continuous stitches and chain-like. They are operational in denim industries for hemming and giving a rope-like effect.

The tension produced by it on the stitch produces a ripple-like hem. They are in vogue nowadays. They use multiple needles for working. It has an adjustable thread guard. It adds creativity and innovation to your designs.

So, if you want to create your own standards of creativity and art, you must try this type of sewing machine as it will offer you everything you would look for in a sewing machine.

Cover stitching sewing machine:

It is another type of professional commercially used sewing machine. It gives a neat and tidy hem that looks like double rows of stitching on the top and a Serger like a hem at the rear of the fabric. It can operate with two or three needles as per your requirements.

It has the benefit of providing both stretch ability and smoothing away all the ragged edges in one go. It enhances the full stretch of thick heavy fabrics like fleece, lycra, aerobic gears, knitted clothes, etc.

So, for a finished look, stretch strength and heavy fabrics you can rely on this machine to serve it all. You can trust this machine with your expensive clothes and enjoy the ultimately neat finish at the end.

Lock stitching sewing machine:

This is another revolution in the commercial sewing industry. It uses two threads, one in the needle and another in the bobbin below. They are meant for seaming operations. You can operate on them for joining different parts of a single garment together.

For instance, fixing the collar, pockets, sleeves, cuffs, etc. To the shirt. They are also handy in attaching patchworks, laces ribbons, etc. on the clothes. They are very secure stitches with extra resilience is given by using polyester or core-spun threads.

They provide a good stretch and a break in any one of their stitches doesn’t compromise the resilience of neighboring stitches. So, you can rely on them for durability and reliability. Do not miss out on this type of sewing machine when you are going to do complex and heavy stitching patterns.

Blind stitching sewing machine:

These are commercial machines used for joining two pieces in a way that there hemming is invisible or hardly prominent. This hem does not disappear by the magic wand. The stitch is made in a way that it gets buried under the joining folds.

It is thus very vigilant in fixing the pockets on the shirts, putting the facing and not to forget the attachment of the trimmings such as laces, ribbons, linings, etc. It is suitable for all types of fabrics.

A curved needle is used in these machines usually for better penetration in the clothes. It produces a superimposed seam. It uses a single needle and produces a single loop.

One important precaution while operating these machines is to use a belt guard or any similar gear to avoid any contact or physical injury.

Safety stitching sewing machine:

They are another useful addition to the garments industry. They operate with two needles and double loopers. They are primarily important in the fabrics of the woven or knitted base. They work on garments of light to medium weight.

They produce a durable stitch. It offers high speed. It is undoubtedly a dry stain-free finisher in most cases. Some of them come with built-in thread tension controlling capabilities.

They are complex machines and require a bit of skill and experience to operate. But they are very useful devices, which the industries use widely.

Mechanical or tailoring machines:

These machines are best for the starters. Not soup starters but sewing and stitching starters. They assist with the basics. They are operated manually and are user and budget-oriented.

They have built-in accessories of stitches and features though not much in numbers but agreeably less enough to cater to the beginner’s level. They have features of the presser foot, inbuilt stitching lines, bobbin loading at the bottom, variable tension and usually single stitch styles.

They are usually accompanied by the noise frustration and irritation of threading the needle times and again. They cannot stitch heavy fabrics like denim and leather-based clothing.

Flat seam sewing machine:

It is a worth mentioning type. It is a seam that is sewn by holding one end inside the folded edge of the cloth. This is then finished by stitching it down. Thus, the raw edges are not only folded but are also kept flat. This gives a perfect finishing look required in denim jeans.

As the fabric is heavy and wears lots of wear and tear so its stitching has to be extra secured and not too much over-sewn. You must have this type of machine if you need to do the frequent stitching of clothes that need overlocking.

Button sewing machine:

It is an extremely important type nowadays. It is used for automatic button fixation. It not only fixes the different varieties of buttons. But some come with buttonholing options too. You can get separate machines for button holding and button attachment.

They have an additional advantage of having a double chain or zigzag hem. They are secure stitches as others may get disrupted during washing. They are basically in the application in industries where large scale production is needed.

As the industries work on the bulk, they use this type of machine which can handle more button fixing in a limited time.

Bar tack sewing machine:

This comes handy in situations where you want to add extra tensile strength. It will also hide away any wear and tear of the fabric. This is the same quality that you get from whip or zigzag hem.

It finds its application in the garments sector where the pieces undergo extra and repeated tension. The examples include pocket openings, buttonholes, zippers end, belt loops, etc.

So, they are usually used by high-quality brands who claim to retain their stitch and hem quality after years of usage. They use these extra protection machines and earn a high reputation for their quality life.

Electronic sewing machine:

They are more advanced than the mechanical ones. They have advanced mechanics than the traditional domestic ones. They are a bit complex and require technical expertise and knowledge. They are DIY based products.

They provide good quality of hemming, buttonhole stitch, stitch lever, built-in needle thread. They have adjustable foot presser, stitch sizes, needle positioning, etc. They are usually expensive and require skilled labor for repair and maintenance.

So, when you go to buy it, don’t forget it’s the warranty card. As you may need to claim it in the future. Warranty is an added advantage as it ensures any technical fault in the machine and you can claim it from the manufacturer.

Double-needle sewing machine:

As the name suggests they deal in doubles. They have two needles, two bobbins and hence sometimes referred to as twin needle lock stitch. As the name suggests they produce two parallel stitches running through. The inter distance between the stitches can be varied.

They are for professional use only. They are very popular in the designing industry. Since they are expensive and use in the expert hand and mind. Nevertheless, once you learn to operate them, they can be used in designing new creative pieces.

Computerized sewing machines:

This is the invention of time. It is one-touch easy operability. All the options can be opened and worked out with simple instructions. All the big to small operations. It varies from the moving of the motors to keep the motion of the different parts in coherence with others.

Thus, all the tasks are managed automatically. The hassle of training the labor, their working negligence and all other manual problems are easily solved.

They conserve your energy and time. They are the next generation of sewing machines. Everything else will sooner or later merge into a computerized process.

Embroidery sewing machines:

As the name suggests they are used for embroidery purposes. This embroidery range is as diverse as the fabric. Therefore, you can create innumerable patterns and make infinity designs. There is no limit to the sky and hence no limit to the innovation you can create.

Thus, a single pattern is copied without any change of a single stitch. You can experiment with different colors on the same pattern. It is used for commercial purposes in variable fields so as to ensure variety for the potential customers.

Overlock sewing machine:

It is a very important device for folding the rough edges. These edges are secured and no extra threads are out. Hence a finished look for a garment is not met unless it is passed through the overlock machine. It usually has a maximum speed of 6500 SPM.

The stitch can be made by using 2,3,4,5 or 6 threads as per your requirements. It is used in all types of garments, woven, knit, domestic and commercial use. Depending upon the task their size is variable.

Industrial sewing machines:

They are sewing machine giants or monsters. They can operate a large variety of different tasks and that too in the blink of an eye. You may break hundreds of needles at home hemming a leather or denim product whereas it’s a piece of cake for them.

So, they are big in size, weight, and operations. They are a heavy budget. You invest in them to get commercial benefits. They require technical and skilled labor.

They require proper repair and maintenance for longer life and better production. Many different machines with specific features come under them.

Quilting sewing machine:

They are very heavy, occupy large space, operate with a long arm, require physical power and stamina as you have to stand while operating alongside pulling or pushing a 40-50 pounds head. It has easily variable presser feet. You can change them according to your needs.

This machine has the easily adjustable tension of the thread. Sometimes you have to sew backward according to quilt size, and in these cases the provision of an offset free motion foot presser is available.


Since there is a large range of available sewing machines. They have features suitable for beginners, amateurs and professionals. Some machines are specifically for home use, some for tailors and yet there are others whose specifications meet the demands on a large scale.

Whatever you buy just to make sure it is what your level of learning, skills and experience cater. Do not spend on machines with hundreds of stitches, as in reality your 90 to 95 % working is accomplished with regular 8-10 stitches.

So, invest and invest well as it has to be your working partner for a decade or more and enjoy yourself!

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