The Different Types of Sewing Machines
Whether you are a novice sewer or an expert, it’s always handy to know all the types of sewing machines. We cover all of them from the different types of industrial sewing machines to the different types of domestic sewing machines and also advise on the prices of each.
Industrial sewing machine
The industrial sewing machine is a type of sewing machine that is used for professional tasks. They are typically used in an industrial environment such as production warehouses or tailors.
The main difference between industrial sewing machines and domestic sewing machines is the durability. Where domestic sewing machines are typically built with plastic or nylon gears and other parts, industrial sewing machine parts (Connecting Rods, body, housings and machine gears) are normally made from highly durable metals such as aluminium or cast iron.
The different types of industrial sewing machines
When it comes to industrial sewing machines, there are different types. Industrial sewing machines typically vary in the design of the arm and needle post. This allows them to complete specific tasks at a professional level. The four different types of industrial sewing machine and their functions are as follows:
- Flatbed: These are probably the most well-known as they highly resemble the domestic sewing machine. Flatlock sewing machines are used in professional environments to sew flat pieces of fabric together and take on much simpler projects than the other industrial sewing machine types. Prices for this type of sewing machines are typically around $400-$2000 second hand depending on the make and model.
- Cylinder-bed: As the name suggests, instead of a flat base (flatbed) the cylinder bed sewing machine has a cylinder base. The height of this base can vary substantially, from around 46mm – 450mm. The main use of the Cylinder-bed industrial sewing machine is for cuffs. They can also be used for items such as bags and shoes depending on the base diameter you have. The prices of this type of sewing machine typically range from $1000 and above.
- Post-bed: The post bed machine has a flat base with a column that rises vertically ranging from 100mm-450mm. The typical features of this type of sewing machine are feed dogs, bobbins and loopers. The post-bed industrial sewing machine is typically used for items that are trickier to sew such as gloves, boot making and emblem attaching. The price range for the post-bed sewing machine is $350 upwards.
- Off-the-arm: This type of sewing machine is perfect for shoulder seams and sleeves. The off-the-arm sewing machine requires you to feed the material through the machine along the axis of the horizontal column. This limits the length of the seam sewn to the length of the column, this is highly specialized so it is a bit rarer to find. The price range of this sewing machine can vary significantly from $500-$5000+.
Domestic sewing machines
There are different types of domestic sewing machines. Each type of domestic sewing machine has its own unique features to perform certain tasks, for example, and embroidery machine can be used for creating logos onto items of clothing such as uniforms. These types of sewing machine cost less in comparison to industrial sewing machines but are designed for the average sewer who doesn’t need a professional finish.
There are the six types of domestic sewing machines as follows:
- Embroidery: These types of sewing machines are for creating patterns on top of fabric such as logos. Specialized embroidery sewing machines are more useful than standard sewing machine for this task due to the built in patterns on the sewing machine making creating patterns much easier. The typical price range for an embroidery sewing machine is $200 upwards, although you can get cheaper if you are going second hand.
- Quilting: This type of machine is specially designed for making quilts, they are normally heavy duty and handle multiple fabrics at once to allow you to make quilts. Most standard sewing machine struggle making quilts so if you are a quilter then this is the type of sewing machine you need.
- Serger: The Serger sewing machine has roughly 4 or 5 different threads and is used to join the edges of fabric together and trimming off the edge to prevent the fabric from fraying in the future. Professionals tend to use this kind of sewing machine to give the fabrics a professional finish. Serger sewing machine are priced around $100 upwards depending on the features you are looking for.
- Mechanical: These are the days that are gone, mechanical sewing machines were the first sewing machines ever invented. They normally operated with a foot pedal to move the needle up and down. They are the predecessors to the electrical sewing machine and are quite outdated but still good for collectors! Due to the condition of some mechanical sewing machines they can come quite cheap second hand, as low as $50! Typically, the excellent condition ones can read $2000+
- Computerized: Computerized sewing machines are becoming quite popular due to their features. With a computerized sewing machine, you can adjust the speed of the needle and change which stitches you want all at the click of a button. Its excellent for people who love accuracy as they can remember their settings and use it again next time. Prices typically range from $200 upwards.
- Electronic: This type of sewing machine is the most common, you plug them in and change the speed of the sewing needle with the foot pedal. The foot pedal is normally portable meaning you can move it around unlike the mechanical sewing machines, and do not require pedalling as such like the mechanical sewing machines. The foot pedal on these machines are like a car accelerator, the more you push it in the faster the needle goes up and down. Price ranges from $100 for the budget sewing machines to $2000 upwards for the professional sewing machines such as the Bernia brand.
The benefits of Industrial sewing machines
When deciding if you need an industrial sewing machine its important to understand the benefits of having one in depth, due to their price range you want to make sure you can use them to their full potential. The benefits are as follows.
- Durable: Industrial sewing machines are extremely durable due to the high-quality metal parts that they have. They have been designed this way to be used in mass production environments where some places used them 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Not only is this beneficial for small businesses who cannot afford to keep replacing expensive sewing machines, but large companies become extremely efficient when they are not having to deal with parts breaking all the time.
- Customizable: Industrial sewing machines have been designed to be extremely customizable, this is so different businesses can meet their own specific needs. It allows their workers to create high quality products without having to sacrifice speed. This differs from domestic sewing machines because those types of sewing machines are designed to do multiple tasks but with less quality.
- Safe: As health and safety in the workplace has been becoming a much bigger concern lately. Industrial sewing machines have been equipped with lots of safety features. These safety features ensure that people are always protected to massively reduce the risk of injury. No company wants a sewing machine that is dangerous.
The benefits of domestic sewing machines
- Quiet: Domestic sewing machines have been designed with the average home owner in mind. Nobody wants a loud sewing machine at home, and companies have been very good at designing quiet domestic sewing machines. Industrial sewing machines are extremely loud due to their metal parts built for durability.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of domestic sewing machines last much longer than industrial sewing machines, this is due to their reduced use. Some industrial sewing machines are running 24 hours a day 7 days a week and therefor have a shorter lifespan.
- Value for money: It’s no secret that domestic sewing machines are designed for multiple tasks. Even though it reduces the quality slightly it still means you can perform multiple tasks without having to buy multiple sewing machines. Keeping that in mind, domestic sewing machines are definitely value for money if you’re not running a business that provides extremely professional results.
- Portable: This is my favourite. Due to the size of these types of sewing machines being much smaller than the industrial sewing machines, they become very portable depending on the ones you buy. This is important if you want to sew in different places such as on holiday.