Have you recently got into sewing, or maybe you’re interested in getting started? It’s a great idea, as sewing can be a relaxing, enjoyable hobby. It could also be one that saves you a lot of money and helps you make the alterations and changes you need.
If you’re just starting with sewing, you might want to know how that piece of equipment actually works. Sewing machines have been around for a long time. They might seem simple, but there’s actually been a lot of engineering thought and technology inside that piece of kit. If you want to know how a sewing machine works, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to find out.
How does a sewing machine work?
Firstly, we need to talk about two different types of sewing machines and how they’re both powered. Traditionally, older sewing machine models use to be powered by foot. In other words, they had a peddle on the floor that the user needed to keep pumping in order to make the sewing machine work. This was before electricity was prevalent or readily available. These sewing machines did an ok job, but obviously, they could become tiring. Not only that, but it was sometimes hard to stay stable and sew properly when you’ve got to constantly move your foot.
Thankfully, as with a lot of other things, electricity has really helped. Nowadays, and actually for many decades—practically all sewing machines are powered by an electric motor. Some of these can be battery operated, but most are plugged into mains power in the wall.
The electric motor sits in the center of the sewing machine unit, but it isn’t actually the most advanced piece of engineering in the sewing machine itself. While most sewing machines are reasonably similar in design, you can pay a lot more for a much better quality one. Recently, some sewing machines even hook up to computers and will work automatically. However, you’re probably looking for a standard sewing machine, so how do they work?
Even if the motor provides the power, the main part of a sewing machine, and what makes them a bit more complicated than you might think, is the loop system. Machines find it hard to pull off the same effect as simple hand stitching. They do this by only passing the needle partly through the fabric and then fastened to a needle bar. This is driven up and down by a motor. There will be a series of gears and cams helping to do this, so you can go faster or slower when sewing.
Then the needle goes through the fabric, it pulls some thread across from the other side. Then something underneath the fabric gets hold of the end of this loop in order to wrap it round another loop or piece of thread.
While all machines run on the same loop stitch principle, there are actually a few different types of stitch. The chain stitch is the simplest of them all. With this, the machine continues to loop a single piece of thread back.
The fabric itself is held in place by a presser foot, or metal plate. As each stitch is made, the needle pulls a loop through the fabric. Then the looper moves in time with the needlepoint and takes hold of the thread before the needle comes up. Once the point has come out of the fabric, the fabric is pulled forward by what’s known as a feed dog.
Chain stitching is good because it works very quickly. But these sorts of stitching machines aren’t the most sturdy and the thread can be undone quite easily.
If you want a stronger stitch, you should consider a lock stitch which many modern machines use.
Lock stitches include a shuttle and bobbin. The bobbin sites underneath the fabric in the middle of the shuttle. this is rotated by the motor in time with the needle itself.
The needle is pulled through similarly to chain stitching, but the machine joins loops to another length of thread instead of joining different loops together. This makes a stronger stitch.
Your sewing machine is built with a lot of tech to make sure all these parts move together at the right speeds and in synch. You might think a sewing machine is simple, but they really aren’t. That’s why fixing one yourself isn’t as easy as you might think. You might have to visit a specialist repair shop if your sewing machine is broken.
Different sewing machines can apply different stitches. There might be some models that can actually do multip0le stitch types, but it’s a good idea to decide on the sort of sewing you’re going to want to do and then sticking with a machine that suits your needs.
How to find the best sewing machine for you
Like with most things, you can get a sewing machine online. That’s where some of the best deals are often found. However, you’ll need to make sure it’s a model you’re happy with. Check the size and feel of the unit. A trial sew might be a good idea as well. You can’t really do that online, so a visit to a hardware store, home store or haberdashery might be in order. Remember, you won’t really get the best results when you first use a sewing machine because you won’t be used to it—some of them have a bit of a learning curve. However, you will get a good idea for what you like and what you don’t, as well as what you can afford.
Did you know that sewing machines have won a number of design awards over the years? They’re actually a great piece of technology. There’s a reason they’ve been popular for decades. They really do the job well. If you want to start making your own alterations and saving money, maybe you should learn to sew on your own sewing machine.