A sewing machine is simply a machine used to sew fabrics and other materials with sewing thread. Sewing machines have been invented during the early Industrial Revolution to reduce the amount of manual sewing work done in garment industries. It has come a long way since those days, when a seamstress at a tailor's shop sewed a pair of pants by hand. These sewing machines are now found in almost every home around the world.
Sewing machines are divided into three categories according to the sewing function they perform. There are mechanical, electronic and hydraulic sewing machines. All of these machines have different features, advantages and disadvantages. Mechanical sewing machines are the best suited for work that requires straight stitches. They are also the best suited for embroidery stitches as they can obtain a firm grip on the fabric.
Electronic sewing machines run on electricity and have a variety of features including automatic button hook-ups, multiple position stitching and zigzag and pattern locking. They are commonly used for light-weight embroidery work like do-it-yourself quilting. Hydraulic sewing machines are powered through water or oil and they are best suited for heavier garments such as sweaters and shirts. They offer a much more professional-looking finish than the mechanical types. They are more expensive than the electrical ones.
Computerized sewing machines are also known as digital or semi-automatic sewing machines. The main benefit they possess over electronic ones is that they offer an improved level of quality and accuracy for embroidery stitches and quilting. They perform the same task as a traditional sewing machine but with the added convenience of having a computer display screen where the operator can see the progress of the stitching. Unlike the electronic ones, these types of sewing machines can only perform straight stitches and can not quilt or do any other stitches that involve twisting, turning and other such actions.
Treadle sewing machines are designed to be used for quilting and other heavy-duty sewing jobs. They are widely used by commercial, residential and machine hobbyists. A well-made treadmill can last for decades. Although they are similar to the computerized sewing machines, treadle types have their own advantages. For one, they tend to work better without a heat lamp, making them easier to use even by beginners.
Some people prefer using quilting fabric machines for sewing because unlike the embroidery machines, these are able to create a smoother and better finish. There are three basic types of embroidery machines: the vertical, horizontal and the fabric-over-cloth machines. The most popular of these three types is the vertical, which is mainly because it provides a very sturdy machine with a larger capacity than its counterparts. The downside is that it does not have the same capability when it comes to the other types.
In contrast to the embroidery machines, the built-in stitch by wire system is also a type of computerized sewing machine. These machines have a built-in grid where stitches are pre-bound and stitches are executed automatically. The drawback of this system is that it cannot match the quality of a manual stitch by hand, nor can it match the stitching quality of quilting fabric. However, many hobbyists still prefer using this system because it is less expensive than other types and is easy to clean.
Sewing equipment for home use are usually small but can be more powerful when compared to industrial machines. Domestic sewing machines range from portable home machines to industrial machines. Portable machines are designed for users who are not very serious about clothing production and have small-scale businesses. Industrial sewing machines, on the other hand, are made to work on large-scale production that requires a steady stream of materials.