The global market size of sewing machines will reach $6.1 billion by 2022. The industry continues to grow despite the slowdown in world economic growth. As innovations come up, some parts of a sewing machine are changing in shape but not function.
It's essential to familiarize yourself with the parts of a sewing machine. As you shop around for one, you'll know what to expect, and you can differentiate the various models. Read on to understand all the parts of a sewing machine!
What's a Sewing Machine?
Before getting into the parts of a sewing machine, the most essential part is to get your definitions right. A sewing machine is a piece of equipment used to sew fabrics and other materials together. Its history dates back to the first Industrial Revolution.
They were developedwith the aim of reducing the amount of work performed manually in clothing companies. Since its invention, the sewing machine has greatly enhanced productivity and efficiency in the clothing industry.
Types of Sewing Machines
Sewing machines are categorized into five main categories depending on their functionality. The types are also based on special features the machines can provide, like quilting, sewing, or embroidery. The five significant types of sewing machines are
The machines are further divided into domestic and industrial machines. Household sewing machines are designed for use by a single person while using a single stitch type. Modern sewing machines allow the fabric to glide in and out of the device easily. The needles, thimble, and other tools used in hand sewing aren't necessary, hence automating the sewing process.
Industrial sewing machines are much larger, perform faster, and come in a variety of sizes. Their appearance, cost, and tasks are also more defined.
Mechanical Sewing Machines
Most domestic sewing machines are mechanical. They're also known as manual, tailoring, or treadle sewing machines. The sewing settings have to be determined manually by the user. They're ideal for beginners.
Electronic Sewing Machines
This type has more features than their mechanical counterparts. They're a combination of mechanical and computerized sewing machines. They come in handy for Do-It-Yourself sewing tasks.
Electronic machines are designed for professionals in sewing. They have a free arm and are motorized and lightweight. Some have an LCD screen that lets you choose the appropriate patterns to use.
These are designed with a high-technological approach to allow them to be connected to a computer, internet, or design loaded cards. They're best suited for industrial use.
These machines are meant for making various designs on fabric. Most electric machines come with this function today and are useful for beginners who need to learn basic zigzag embroidery stitching. These machines are available for both domestic and industrial purposes. They're more expensive than mechanical machines, but their maintenance is less costly.
Overlocker Sewing Machine
Also known as Sergers, these are used to seam or overlock fabric. In simple terms, they're used for joining or sewing fabric edges together. Professional tailors use these machines to give an excellent finish to their garments.
At the industrial level, garment industries use the overlocker machine to edge fabrics like napkins. They are also used in the elastic seaming of lingerie designs. The device comes with an inbuilt cutter that trims the uneven edges of the material.
Each category of sewing machine comes with various models, so it's important to check the specific details of each before you buy.
The Anatomy of a Sewing Machine
Here, you'll read about the different parts of a sewing machine. Take note that not all machines come with these parts, but it's good to be aware of them.
This is a small metal, plastic, or wooden wheel that holds the thread. The thread is wrapped around a small cylinder-like reel attached to thin wheels on either end. The machine makes a stitch by catching the thread from the bobbin, which is one of the threads required in sewing.
This is the casing that holds the bobbin inside the sewing machine
Bobbin Winder Tension Disk
The tension disk is a small piece of metal that keeps the thread taut as the bobbin moves around.
The bobbin winder spins the bobbin as you wind thread onto your bobbin.
The hand wheel raises or lowers the needle and is situated on the right side of the machine.
Pattern Selector Dial
This is used to choose the symbol of the stitch pattern you want to make.
This is the part that allows you to choose the specific stitch you want for each project. It provides the option of selecting from one of the decorative stitches built into your machine.
Stitch Length and Width Dial
These are two separate parts that control the length and width of a stitch, respectively.
Reverse Stitch Lever
When you pull this lever, the machine stitches in reverse. This makes the backstitch more stable.
The power switch is the on-off switch of your sewing machine. It's usually located on the right side of the machine. You can also check for it near the power cord, probably attached to the pedal.
Thread Tension Dial
As you sew, the tension dial controls the tension of the top thread.
This is the part of the machine that automatically determines the size of a buttonhole based on the button in use. You'll appreciate having the buttonhole foot if you sometimes find it challenging getting the buttonhole size right.
This shows you where the thread should go in the sewing machine. It also holds the thread in place as you sew. The guides keep the thread in good shape by preventing tangling inside the machine.
This is a tool that quickly and efficiently cuts your thread, eliminating the need for a pair of scissors.
Also known as a spool holder, this is a spindle found on top of the sewing machine. It holds a spool of thread.
The slide plate gives you access to the bobbin.
This serves to control the amount of pressure exerted by the presser foot as it holds the fabric down.
Presser Foot Lever
The foot lever is the part that lowers and raises the presser foot.
This is the part found below the needle. Its function is to press the fabric down against the feed dogs. This keeps the material from slipping away as you stitch. The presser foot comes in both plastic and metal types and can be interchanged. This means you can switch the general purpose presser for one designed for specific sewing jobs. One project may even require you to use more than one type of presser foot. For example, you'll need a different presser foot for buttonholes than for making decorative stitching.
The needle plate is a flat metal plate located under the needle and covering the bobbin. When making stitches, the needle passes right through the needle plate. It has marks that act as seam guides. These allow you to gauge how far the stitches are from the edge of the fabric.
The needle clamp is the part that holds the needle in a straight position and maintains it steadily in the machine. Some people also refer to this as the needle bar.
Without the needle, you won't be able to pass the thread through the fabric. Needles for sewing machines come in a variety of sizes, and the one you use depends on the fabric you are working with.
Flywheel or Handwheel
This allows you to lower or raise the needle while sewing manually. As you start a project, you'll drop the flywheel to lower the needle into the fabric. Upon completion of the project, you'll raise the wheel to remove the needle.
These are small metal ridges that are located at the middle of the throat place. The feed dogs pull the fabric through the sewing machine on your behalf. The speed of the feed dogs on the material depends on the amount of pressure you exert on the foot pedal.
The harder you press down the pedal, the faster the movement of the fabric will be.
Parts of a Sewing Machine - Final Thoughts
When buying or using a sewing machine, it's wise to understand its anatomy. This will help you know if it's in proper condition and know what you can change in and out.
The parts listed here apply across the board for different types of sewing machines. In the market you'll find mechanical, embroidery, computerized, electronic, and overlocker sewing machines. Some are designed for domestic use, while others are more suited for industrial applications. Yet all have at least some of these parts.
If you're unsure about any part of the sewing machine, get a professional to help you check if everything is right with your machine. Ask them to show you what they're checking and doing: maybe next time you can fix it yourself!