Types of Sewing Machines: A Guide for Beginners!

Even a few decades ago, we could see a sewing machine in every other household. They were needed for making clothes, small repairs, and a number of small sewing jobs around the house.

Most women, and some men, knew how to properly use a sewing machine; at least, they knew how to make their own clothes, and their children’s, or repair something when it tore. All around the world, both in the Eastern and Western countries, a sewing machine was an important appliance in the home. 

However, over the last few decades, the need for a sewing machine has seen drastic changes. Sewing machines, these days, are also quite different from the ones we were used to.

Instead of simple, manual machines, we now have automatic or electric ones for our daily use. Sewing machines are more used for simple repairs and DIY projects now than for making clothes. 

What are Sewing Machines used for?

If you have a sewing machine at home, you can use it for these, and more: 

  • Make clothes 
  • Take up small repair jobs around the house 
  • Mend and alter your clothes 
  • Make quilts 
  • Embroider on your clothes 
  • Make customized cushion covers or napkins 
  • Adjust hems 
  • Make baby clothes 
  • Make clothes for dolls 
  • Make school projects 
  • Make Halloween costumes  
  • Add pockets to your clothes 

If you are a little creative, the sky’s the limit with your sewing machine. The more expensive and high-tech your machine is, the more you can do with it. There are thousands of videos available on YouTube for you to learn from. 

What are the Different Types of Sewing Machines?

There isn’t just one type of sewing machine available in the market, but at least 6 different types. 

1. Manual Sewing Machine

A manual sewing machine is the one we used before, one that needs to be run by hand or feet, not by electricity. It is easy to use but perhaps also a little tiring, as you’ll need to continuously use your hand and/or feet to run it.

These machines are strong and can be used on all types of fabrics, even the thickest ones like denim. They were known for their durability; a single machine could go on for decades without any problem, handed down from generation to generation. 

These machines were used for making quilts and clothes, as well as for repair jobs. They are quite helpful but have barely any special features available. 

2. Electric Sewing Machine

An electric sewing machine is an advanced version of the manual machine, one that runs on electricity. It comes with a single motor that makes the needle run, making stitches as it goes along. They also come with a foot pedal that is used to control the power, i.e. on and off. The hand can be completely free to control and move the fabric. 

An important and special feature of an electric sewing machine is that it can do a number of different stitches. There is also a small dial on the side of the body that you can use to choose between speed, stitch type and length, and a LCD monitor to see your choices. 

3. Computerized Sewing Machine

This is a more complicated machine for more extensive or advanced projects. It doesn’t have a dial to choose options, but a LED/LCD monitor, or a touch screen. These machines are used more for embroidery and intricate sewing patterns. They come with a small memory that can remember previous settings. 

More advanced computerized sewing machines can read designs and patterns from an USB drive, and recreate the design on fabric, automatically. You can use some machines to even download designs from the Internet to duplicate on your projects.

These computerized machines are perfect for DIY projects and for hobbies. They cost much more but they can be used in a number of ways, including basic sewing and repairing. 

4. Embroidery Machine

These kinds of machines are used for embroideries only. They are special machines with a rather large workspace perfect for large-scale embroidery. The LCD/LED screen is large too, and a touch screen lets you choose between designs and colors.

These machines are electrical and computerized, and often come with an inbuilt design software and storage system. They cannot be used in sewing, stitching or repairing; just making beautiful embroidery designs

5. Industrial Sewing Machine

Industrial Sewing machines are large, durable and come with a special design to do only one kind of work. They are mainly used in factories, and not in homes, to make a large number of clothes in a very short time. Each machine is designed for a special purpose: some sew jeans waistbands, some add pockets to shirts and some can only make shirt cuffs. 

They are extremely durable and strong, as well as fast. A single machine can make thousands of pieces of clothes without any problem in a very short time. Only a few companies make industrial sewing machines for factories; they are too heavy and too expensive to use at home. 

6. Handheld Sewing Machine

Handheld sewing machines are compact and lightweight; they look like large stapler machines that you can use to sew. These machines are quite handy for making small repairs around the house.

 With a handheld sewing machine, you can sew or repair fabric anywhere you want, even while lying down or standing up. This makes it easier to work on curtains, wall hangings or even bedsheets without taking them off. You can also make repairs on the clothes you are wearing without having to take it off. 

Handheld sewing machines are inexpensive and run on batteries or USB charge. 

Which one is the perfect Sewing Machine for you?


The perfect sewing machine for you depends on your necessity. If you are looking for a machine for just basic sewing and repairing, a simple handheld machine is going to be quite handy for you. No one uses a manual or an industrial sewing machine in their homes. 

An electric sewing machine is better than a manual one, but if you are really interested in DIY projects, embroidery or making your own clothes, the best machine for you is a computerized sewing machine. Although they are more expensive than a manual or even an electric machine, you can use a computerized machine for everything related to sewing.

These machines come with in-built stitches, from 20 to 250 of them; you can use the computerized machines to sew, mend or do embroidery designs on your fabric – quite good for DIY projects or costumes.

Besides, these computerized machines have a number of other useful features that are helpful to experienced users: multiples needles, built-in needle threader, automatic bobbin and thread cutter, adjustable foot paddle, automatic and adjustable needle positioning, adjustable thread width and length, etc. 

Final Words

There are a variety of sewing machines available in the market, in a diverse price range. The more the features, the more you can do with a sewing machine. The more features, the better quality work you can get from a machine, too. With a good sewing machine, there’s not much that you can’t do with all kinds of fabrics. 

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