The Sewing Machine Classroom



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Besides a sewing machine in good condition, well selected sewing equipment and pressing equipment are essential for making garments of good quality and appearance. Sewing box / kit: First and foremost, one should have a box or basket with compartments for keeping the things needed for sewing.


Hand Sewing Needles: They are found in sizes from the very fine 9 to the heavy 18. The best quality needles are made of hand ground steel. For hand sewing medium length needles with a short oval eye is selected. Crewel needles designed for embroidery work have a long oval eye.

Sewing Machine Needles:They are found in sizes from the fine 9 to the heavy 18. The needles are made to fit the specific make and model of each sewing machine. The needle size should conform to the weight, thickness, and kind of fabric.

Sewing thread: With the wide and ever increasing range of fabrics available in the market, it is important to know the right sewing thread for the various types of fabrics. The right kind of thread is important in sewing as both the thread and the garment should share the same characteristics, as they have to be laundered and ironed together, they should shrink and stretch together.

Pins: These come in different sizes for use in different fabrics. The right choice of pins is most essential for good workmanship, speed, and convenience in sewing. Use silk or stainless steel pins. The ball point pins are useful for fine knits. The other types of pins are dressmaker pin (a pin of medium diameter but quite suitable for most sewing needs), and silk (a very slender pin with a needle point to be used on delicate fabrics).

Thimbles: These are necessary for efficient and accurate hand sewing. A metal thimble should fit snugly on the middle finger of the needle holding hand. There are two types of thimbles: an open-ended thimble, preferred by tailors, and the more common closed-ended thimble, called the dressmakers thimble (Fig.2a).


Embroidery Frame: This is used for keeping the fabric stretched while the work is being carried out.

Embroidery Threads: These are available in a variety of colours in six stranded skeins. One can use two or three strands at a time.

Stiletto: This is a sharp pointed instrument for punching holes in material. It is used for forming holes in material. It is used for forming eyelets in belts and for embroidery work.

Bodkin: This is a flat needle with a blunt end and a large eye for threading elastic and tape


The following types of shears and scissors are made for both right-handed and left- handed cutting. All cutting tools must be kept sharp, clean, and grease-free for accurate cuts.

Bent-Handle Shears: They are 8 to 10 inches long (Fig. 2b). They are used for cutting all types of fabrics. Shears differ from scissors in that they have one small ring handle for the thumb and a large ring handle for the second, third and fourth fingers.


Scissors: They are 5 to 6 inches long. They are used for light cutting, trimming, clipping corners, and cutting curves. These have round handles for both the blades. They are designed for snipping threads and trimming seams. They should be held so that the wider blade is above the narrower blade.


Pinking Shears: They are 9 to 10 inches long (Fig. 2d). They produce a notched cutting line (zig zag) which gives a neat appearance to the inside of garments.


Button Hole Scissors: These can be adjusted so as to cut button holes in any size required (Fig. 2e). They are useful if one needs to make many button holes


Electric Scissors These are used in most sample rooms. They are ideal for cutting silk, nylon, and soft, hard-to-cut fabric (Fig. 2f).



Measuring Tape: It has a smooth surface that is clearly marked with increments of inches and centimeters on both sides. It is usually about ½ inch to ¼ inch wide and 60 inches long, and has 1/8 divisions (Fig. 2g). At one end of the tape is attached a brass strip about 3 inches long and at the other end, a small brass covering.


Rulers: They are used in sample room which are either clear plastic or metal. It is useful to have 2 rulers: one is 1 inch wide and 6 inches long, and the second is 2 inches wide and 18 inches long.

Yardstick or meter scale: It is available in 36 inches or 45 inches in length in wood or metal. They are useful for checking grain lines when fixing pattern pieces on material and for drawing long seam lines on fabric or paper.

L Square: It is an L-shaped metal ruler; the long arm measures 24 inches, the short arm 14 inches. This has a perfect right angle corner and is used to draw lines at right angles at the time of drafting. It is helpful during the process of “straightening fabric” to check whether the corners of the fabric have got the right-angled structure


Skirt Marker:
They mark hem length accurately. Markers are adjustable and are available for use with chalk powder or pins. A six-inch gauge can be made of cardboard or bought from a shop (Fig. 2i). It is useful as a measuring guide for marking width of hems, pleats, seam allowances etc. accurately. Notches are provided at regular intervals along the gauge. One edge of the notch is at right angles to the straight. While measuring or marking, use the straight edge of the notch as a guide.



Tracing Wheel: It is used to transfer the pattern markings-including seams, darts and pocket placements to the wrong side of the fabric with the aid of tracing paper. The small serrated edge tracing wheel is appropriate for most fabrics (Fig.2j). A smooth edge tracing wheel is used on fine or knit fabrics to avoid snagging the yarns.


Tracing Paper: It is a wax-coated paper used with the tracing wheel to transfer pattern markings to the wrong side of the fabric

Tailors Chalk: It is made of wax or stone chalk that is used to transfer markings to fabric when white carbon is not visible. Stone chalk is also available in pencil form. This is available in assorted colours and in rectangular or triangular shapes.


Iron: This keep an automatic iron handy for pressing fabric before cutting, during construction and after the garment is completed.

Steam Iron: It has an adjustable temperature control, and is equipped with a thumb press for automatic steam. Distilled water is heated, and the resulting steam can be released with the thumb press while pressing.

Ironing Board:  It is used for hand pressing which is padded and of convenient height. One may use an ordinary table covered with sheet and blanket for this purpose.

Sleeve Board: This is a well-padded miniature of a full-sized ironing board and is used to press sleeves and hard-to-reach small details (Fig. 2k). It has a tapered end on one side and a round end on the other side.


Press cloth: Fabric used for press cloth should be colourfast and should be washed or boiled to remove all sizing.


Awl: It is a small, sharp-pointed tool used to punch small, round holes for marking on paper or leathers.


Seam Ripper: It is used to remove basting stitches and to rip out unnecessary machine stitches (Fig. 2m).


Loop Turner: Is a long wire with a latch hook, used for turning bias strips to make spaghetti straps and narrow belts.

Dress Form: This is a padded form of body and may be made of wood, cardboard, plaster of paris, reinforced plastic. This is a necessity in all sample rooms for designing and fittings.

Paper: It is for pattern making purposes and fabric cutting. This soft paper comes in rolls of plain paper or paper with blue dots or other markings at set intervals.

Three-Way Mirror: It is used for model fittings.

Orange-stick: This is a long tool whose point can be inserted into the corners of collars, seams, etc., so as to give a neat pointed appearance.

Cutting board or table: This is a table of convenient height and size is a definite aid in cutting and constructing garments. 5’ x 3’ is a desirable size with 2″ x 6″ height.

A variety of tools and equipment are used for performing various functions such as sewing, cutting, measuring, pressing, etc. A knowledge about these tools will help us to choose the right tool to complete a particular task in the process of garment construction.


Deutsch: Nähmaschinenmechanismus. English: An ...
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Sewing is a creative and interesting skill. The knowledge of sewing give a confident feeling when it is applied to the construction of garments. The earlier method of sewing by hand is not applicable for all stages of garment making. Therefore, considerable emphasis is given to machine sewing. There are several machines in the market today, each with its own desirable features and advantages. Sewing machines range from most basic having only simple lock stitch to the electronic machines that use advanced computer technology having various functions for example piping, binding, ruffling, pleating, darning, hemming and even making buttonholes and attaching fasteners. A good sewing machine is required to obtain quality products. One has to be familiar with the characteristics of different types of machines for selecting appropriate machine, depending upon the ability and requirements of the person.


Sewing machines are now available in various models such as domestic model, tailor model, industrial model, portable and cabinet models. They may be operated by hand, treadle or electric motor.

Hand – Operated Sewing Machine:

This is the simplest form of sewing machine which is operated by hand. A detachable handle provided to the flywheel is used to operate the machine. This machine is generally suitable for domestic purpose because it does not help in speeding up the work.

Treadle Sewing Machine:

This machine is exactly like the hand sewing machine but it is operated by foot using an additional stand. In this type the balance wheel is operated by a belt with the help of lower stand, which is driven by feet. This machine operates faster than that of the hand-operated machine. This machine is suitable where there is no power supply. When handling
this machine both the hands are free to handle the fabric, speeding up the work. Even some of the heavy-duty machines are operated by this method.

Electric Sewing Machine:

This is the fastest sewing machine. One needs practice to handle it. In an electric machine the balance wheel comes to motion by a belt, which is attached to an electric motor.


The basic structure of sewing machine is the same whether it is hand-operated sewing, treadle sewing machine or electric sewing machine. The basic parts of a sewing are listed below and seen in Fig.1


1. Spool pin: It is fitted on top of the arm to hold the reel.

2. Thread guide: It holds the thread in position from the spool to the needle.

3. Tension disc: The two concave discs put together with the convex sides facing each other. The thread passes between the two. The tension of the thread is adjusted by a spring and nut which increases or decreases pressure

4. Take up lever: It is a lever fitted to the body of the arm. Its up and down motion feeds the thread to the needle and tightens the loop formed by the shuttle.

5. Needle bar: This is a steel rod to hold the needle at one end with the help of a clamp. Its main function is to give motion to the needle.

6. Bobbin case: This moves into position to catch the top thread and form the stitch as the needle is lowered into the bobbin chamber.

7. Presser foot: It is fixed to the presser bar to hold the cloth firmly in position when lowered.

8. Presser foot lifter: A lever attached to the presser bar for raising and lowering the presser foot.

9. Stitch regulator: This controls the length of the stitch.

10. Bobbin winder: A simple mechanism used for winding thread on the bobbin.

11. Fly Wheel: When this is made to revolve, it works the mechanism of the motion

12. Clutch or Thumb Screw: This is in the center of the fly wheel and it engages and disengages the stitching mechanism.

13. Slide Plate: A rectangular plate, which facilitates the removal of the bobbin case without lifting the machine.

14. Needle Plate or Throat Plate: A semi-circular disc with a hole to allow the needle to pass through it.

15. Feed dog: This consists of a set of teeth fitted below the needle plate. It helps to move the cloth forward while sewing.

16. Face plate: A cover which on removal gives access to the oiling points on the needle bar, presser bar and take-up lever.

17. Spool pin for bobbin winding: Spool of thread is placed on this at the time of bobbin winding.


Before starting actual machining, you should check that the needle of the machine is of correct size, is sharp and correctly set. The bobbin should be evenly set. Briefly, the various steps of prepreparation are:

• Winding the bobbin
• Upper Threading
• Drawing the bobbin thread
• Tension adjustments
• Pressure and feed adjustments
• Selection of thread and needle

A perfect stitch can be obtained only when the thread selected is suitable to the material to be stitched and the needle is of the correct size. For stitching on delicate thin fabrics, use fine thread and fine needle. For heavy fabrics, needles and thread size should be larger. The following Table 1 will be a guide to help selection of appropriate needle and thread sizes.


Types of Threads

The natural fibre threads available in the market are cotton and silk. Synthetic threads are usually made from polyester and terylene. Threads whether natural or synthetic are produced in various thickness: higher the number, finer is the thread and smaller the number, coarser is the thread. It is important to remember that the same thread should be used for the bobbin and top spool.

Selection of needles

Machine needles are selected according to the weight and other characteristics of the fabric, as well as the thread type being used for construction. Generally, a needle should be fine enough to penetrate the fabric without damaging it and yet have an eye, which is big enough so that the thread does not fray or break. Needles come in various sizes, from very fine (size 9) for light weight fabrics to thick (size 18) for very heavy weight and dense fabrics.


The sewing like any other machine, gives troubles of stitching like thread breaking, uneven stitching, puckering, bending and breaking of needle, looping of threads, skipping of stitches, etc. Little problems with the sewing machine can be very irritating and time consuming. They can happen to even the most experienced seamstress. A person operating the machine should be able to rectify these and solve the problems. Some of the common machine problems are listed below:

• breaking needles
• looping of stitches
• skipping stitches
• variation in stitch length
• puckered seams
• upper thread breaking
• lower thread breaking
• machine not feeding properly
• machine working heavily
• layers feed unevenly
• fabric does not feed in straight line
• cause damage to fabric
• Puckering on both layers of fabric
• Puckering on under layer only
• Shows feed marks on the under side
• Fabric is damaged or holes around the stitches


A sewing machine needs care for its smooth running. It should be cleaned and oiled regularly to ensure satisfactory sewing and long life. When not in use, your machine should be covered to prevent dust accumulation on it. Use a small dry brush or old toothbrush and soft cloth to remove dust and lint. You should always remove lint deposits, dust and thread bits before oiling any part of the machine. Use a pointed instrument like a needle to pick out the bits of thread and lint that cannot be brushed out.

It is necessary to oil and lubricate the machine periodically. If the machine is used everyday, oil it once a week. After oiling, wipe off the surplus oil and place a piece of folded fabric under the presser foot to absorb any excess oil. To oil thoroughly, remove the upper thread, needle plate, slide plate, face plate, bobbin case, needle and presser foot. Oil the holes on the underside first, after cleaning and then proceed to the upper side. Use only few drops of oil in each hole. Never use coconut oil. Machine oil of different brands may be used for different models of sewing machine, but should be used as recommended in the instruction book.

If the machine becomes gummed with oil, put a drop of kerosene or petrol in each oil hole and joints and run it rapidly for several minutes. Wipe off and re-oil it with machine oil. The motor of electric sewing machine should be greased periodically.

The knowledge of sewing give a confident feeling when it is applied to the construction of garments. The various parts of a sewing machine and their functions helps one  to understand the working of a sewing machine. A brief up on the common machine problems help us to understand and rectify the problems. Above all the care of sewing
machine is rather important for a long service of the machine.

Garments Manufacturing Sequence

Garments manufacturing follows a flowchart where in each steps definite works are completed to carried out a complete garments. Here I will show you all of the garments manufacturing steps that you must follow to make a garment.

1. Design/ Sketch:

For the production of knit garments, or woven garments a sketch of a particular garment including its design features is essential to produce on paper so that after manufacturing of that garment could be verified or checked whether could be done manually or with the help of computer.

2. Pattern Design:

Hard paper copy of each component of the garment of exact dimension of each component is called pattern. The patterns also include seam allowance, trimming allowance, dirts, and pleats, ease allowance, any special design etc affairs. Pattern design could also be done manually or with the help of computer.

3. Sample Making:
The patterns are used to cut the fabric. Then the garment components in fabric form are used to sew/assemble the garment. Sample garment manufacturing is to be done by a very efficient and technically sound person.


4. Production Pattern:
The patterns of the approved sample garment are used for making production pattern. During production pattern making, sometimes it may be necessary to modify patterns design if buyer or appropriate authority suggests any minor modification.

5. Grading:
Normally for large scale garments production of any style needs different sizes to produce from a set of particular size of patterns, the patterns of different sizes are produced by using grade rule which is called grading.

6. Marker Making:

All the pattern pieces for all the required sizes are arranged n the paper in such a way so that maximum number of garments could be produced with minimum fabric wastag4e. Markers are made for 6, 12, 18, 24 etc. pieces. Marker is also useful to estimate fabric consumption calculations.

7. Spreading:
It is the process of arranging fabrics on the spreading table as per length and width of the marker in stack form. Normally height of the lay/fabric is limited upto maximum six inches high. But 4 inch to 5 inch height of the lay is safe.

8. Fabric Cutting:

On the fabric lay/spread the marker paper is placed carefully and accurately, and pinned with the fabric to avoid unwanted movement or displacement of the marker paper. Normally straight knife cutting machine is used to cut out the garment component as per exact dimension of each patterns in stack form, care must be taken to avoid cutting defects.

9. Sorting/ Bundling:
After cutting the entire fabric lay, all the garments components in stack form is shorted out as per size and color. To avoid mistake in sorting, it is better to use code number on each pattern.

10. Sewing or Assembling:

It is the most important department/ section of a garment manufacturing industry. Sewing machines of different types are arranged as a vertical line to assemble the garments. Sequence of types of sewing machine arrangement depends on sequence of assembling operations. Number of sewing machine per line varies from 20 nos to 60 nos depending on the style of the ga4rmnet to be produce. Production pr line pr hour also varies from 100 to 150 pieces depending on specific circumstances. Number of sewing machine arrangement per line may be upto 60 depending on design and out put quantity of garment.

11. Inspection:
Each and every garment after sewing passes through the inspection table/ point, where the garments are thoroughly and carefully checked to detect/find any defect if present in the garment. The defects may be for example variation of measurement, sewing defect, fabric defects, spots etc. if the defect is possible to overcome, then the garment is sent to the respective person for correction. If the defect is not correctionable, then the garment is separated as wastage.

12. Pressing/ Finishing:

After passing through the inspection table, each garment is normally ironed/ pressed to remove unwanted crease and to improve the smoothness, so that the garments looks nice to the customer. Folding of the garment is also done here for poly packing of the garments as per required dimension.

13. Final Inspection:

It is the last stage of inspection f the manufactured garments on behalf of the garment manufacturing organization, to detect any defective garments before packing.

14. Packing:
After final inspection, the garments are poly-packed, dozen-wise, color wise, size ratio wise, bundled and packed in the cartoon. The cartoon is marked with important information in printed form which is seen from outside the cartoon easily.

15. Despatch: The cartoons of the manufactured garments are delivered or placed in the despatch department or finished product godown, from where the garments lot is delivered for shipment.


Needle punching is the oldest method of producing nonwoven products. The first needle punching loom in U.S. was made by James Hunter machine co. in 1948. Then in 1957, James Hunter produced the first high speed needle loom, the Hunter model 8 which is still used today.

The needle punching system is used to bond dry laid and spun laid webs. The needle punched fabrics are produced when barbed needles are pushed through a fibrous web forcing some fibres through the web, where they remain when the needles are withdrawn. If sufficient fibers are suitably displaced the web is converted into a fabric by the consolidating effect of these fibres plugs or tufts. This action occurs in needle punching occurs around 2000 times a minute.

Needle punched fabrics finds its applications as blankets, shoe linings, paper makers felts, coverings, heat and sound insulation, medical fabrics, filters and geotextiles.

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