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How Does A Mechanical Sewing Machine Work?

How Does A Mechanical Sewing Machine WorkYou can mainly divide sewing machines into two different categories in the sewing industry, such as as- computerized sewing machines and mechanical sewing machines.

And, as you can see, this article is about a mechanical sewing machine.

Computerized sewing machines are high in demand these days, but mechanical sewing machines are their predecessors.

Although their operation might seem a little handful for all of its parts about computerized ones, they can be skillful from their positions too.

You will find it intriguing when you take a look inside a mechanical sewing machine. However, we will try eluding technical details and explaining a mechanical sewing machine’s working mechanism from the general perspective as much as we can. Let’s have an inner look at a mechanical sewing machine.

Working Mechanism Of Mechanical Sewing Machines

You already mentioned above, and a mechanical sewing machine has many parts that are not put together instead connected. In contrast to that, a computerized sewing machine has its parts put together. Now, you will look into the essential parts involved in the operation of a mechanical sewing machine.


Without a motor, you cannot run a mechanical sewing machine, making it the prerequisite of all other operational activities. The motor provides force and speed. The needle moved up and down with force. Also, bobbin shuttle, feed-dogs contribute to the sewing process with the force and speed they receive from the motor.

Foot Pedal

This is another essential part that helps you to control the speed of the motor. As there is no automatic speed controlling setup or a push-button, the harder you press the pedal, the faster the needle goes and completes forming exquisite stitches.

Brother, Janome, Singer- these are some leading sewing machine manufacturers. Mechanical sewing machines from them can churn out the highest 1100 stitches per minute. And, you can control the speed and stitch production according to your need with the foot pedal.

Upper And Lower Threading

Whether it’s a mechanical one or a computerized one, you will have to perform upper and lower threading. This is the same for all the sewing machines out there. A successful stitching process contains threads that come from two sources. As s result, you need to do upper and lower threading. Let’s see how these two stages of threading work.

Upper Threading

Here, you place a spool of thread on the spool. And then you take the thread through multiple thread guides and channels. Then you finally pass the thread through the needle eye.

Lower Threading

Lowering threading basically means you thread the bobbin and install it in the shuttle. Essentially, you will have to thread a bobbin from a spool that stays on the body of a machine.

After threading the bobbin, you put it in the bobbin case and then into the shuttle. You can see the house of the bobbin if you remove the thread plate. An improperly winded bobbin will result in various stitching issues. The same goes for the upper threading too. Hence, completing both stages of threading is critical for a sewing process.

Stitch Creation

After both threadings are correctly done, the needle takes up the lower thread from the bobbin when you run the motor. The needle keeps on making lops as you crank the machine. The lops are, in other words, the stitches a sewing machine makes.


After placing a fabric under the needle, the needle starts penetrating the fabric when you start the motor. Then you will notice the fabric being dragged forward during the stitching process. That’s the work of feed-dogs under the throat plate.

The feed-dogs are truly prominent in a sewing machine. You will see them right under the needle with their spiky heads upward and notched between the heads. With the heads, they pull a fabric or materials to stitch it accurately. Feed-dogs can be dropped downward for free-motion sewing. Free-motion sewing is done for creative and complex projects like- embroidering, quilting, monogramming, etc.

Stitch Adjustment

These other essential stages of sewing. Also, this is needed to be done in both computerized and mechanical machines. The only difference is in a computerized machine, you do it with some enhanced features, and in a mechanical machine, you need to do it manually.

Note that few mechanical sewing machines don’t offer this feature or stage, but it is crucial. Different projects will necessitate different stitch lengths and widths. You adjust the length and width of stitches, and then you start stitching.

Reverse Stitching

You need to stitch on the back of a piece of fabric, which is called reverse stitching. After you stitch through a fabric in one line, you need to move the fabric in 360 degrees and stitch it again. In a computerized machine, it’s easier because you don’t need to move a fabric. Other than that, it’s the same for both sorts of machines and essential to how they work or complete a sewing process.

Free-Arm Capability

You might ask why that is a part of the mechanism. Well, it rather falls under the sewing process, which takes us to how a mechanical sewing machine works for small items and garments with a narrow opening.

Besides, you can’t complete stitching small items or garments with narrow openings by merely placing them on the throat plate. You will need a free arm to complete those tasks. From motor to stitch adjustments, you will need to set the free-arm in a mechanical sewing machine.

Also, all the mechanical sewing machines don’t come with free-arm capability. This makes it an additional part of the mechanism. Hence, this stage does not apply to all the mechanical sewing machines, yet it’s a necessary stage for some particular garments.

Body Construction

The overall body formation is also a part of how the machine works. Mechanical sewing machines are made from metal. For the motor function, these machines are made from metal. Otherwise, they will jump around. Hence, the sturdy formation is an integral part of the mechanism. The metal construction also contributes to stitching quality too. When the machine sits stable, it can form flawless stitches.

To Warp-up

Mechanical and computerized sewing machines are the same to a great extent if we look at their mechanism stages. The only difference is mechanical machines are run by a motor and computerized are run by some advanced automation.

Other than that, stages and features are the same. The time is wholly shifted towards computerized machines. For home uses, you will see people opt for computerized machines these days.

But there are still many garments industries that utilize mechanical sewing machines. Also, considering the practicality, these machines are suitable for industrial use. Hopefully, you have built a thorough understanding of how mechanical machine works.

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