What Does a Sewing Machine Do? Beginner’s Tutorial
A sewing machine uses thread to stitch two or more layers of material together. As simple as that sounds, the process is almost magical to watch. Even the most basic machines can do a straight stitch, zigzag, and some decorative stitches. Somewhat more amazing is that the process is nearly identical for every type of stitch. Many people are amazed that when they ask “What does a sewing machine do differently to make different types of stitches?” The answer is “Very little.”
How a Sewing Machine Makes Stitches
Watching the sewing machine work at the sewing bed just appears like the needle feeds the thread down through the hole and back up. It’s the action going on below the sewing bed that makes a stitch happen. There, a hook rotates and carries the thread from the bobbin inside the thread loop carried down by the needle. The needle carries the thread through the layers of material and the bobbin thread secures it so the layers are held firmly together.
So, what does a sewing machine do differently when you use a zigzag setting? Only the upper portion of the machine changes direction to create the zigzag. The lower section of the machine always remains stationary. The machine shifts the shaft back-and-forth to make the stitches go from side-to-side. Depending on the settings you choose, the distance the needle travels back-and-forth will determine how wide the zigzag stitch is. The stitch length determines how tight the stitch is.
In general, a mechanical sewing machine has a motor that causes the necessary parts of the machine to move to make stitches. You choose the stitch and the width and length by turning a knob. A computerized machine can do a lot more with a lot less effort on your part.
How Does a Computerized Sewing Machine Work?
There are many computerized sewing machines available today capable of doing a broad range of stitches. As far as the actual stitching, the machine works in the same way as one that is mechanical. Computerized machines come with a large number of decorative stitches built-in. All you have to do is make your choices on an LCD screen and the machine adjusts to the stitching of your choice.
Sewing machines that are designed to monogram and/or embroider also come with a certain number of built-in designs. Thanks to technology, you can also find unlimited designs on the internet that can be downloaded to your computer. From there, you can either use a USB port or memory stick to transfer the design from the computer to the sewing machine.
People who enjoy embroidery and quilting, as well as those who have sewing-related businesses, can benefit a great deal from having a good quality computerized sewing machine that does most of the work for them. Imagine the difference in time it takes to hand-embroider or hand-quilt a project in comparison to the speed that a machine can do it on its own. Machine quilting and embroidery is also a much more precise process that looks more professional.
Technology has brought about a lot of options for today’s sewing machines. It’s really a matter of personal choice as to how diverse or professional you want your sewing machine to be. If you came here asking the question “What does a sewing machine do?” the answer is almost anything you can image it to do.