7 Types Of Sewing Machines Used For Apparel Products

Md Mahedi Hasan

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Types Of Sewing Machines Used For Apparel Products Like Shirts, T-Shirts, Trousers, And Jeans – By Tushar Soliwal
Department of Textiles (Fashion Technology) DKTE’S Textile and Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, India
Email: tusharsoliwal01@gmail.com

There are several sewing machines and other equipment used in apparel industries, which are used to manufacture various varieties of apparel goods.

In this article, we will understand the various sewing machines used to manufacture products like shirts, t-shirts, trousers, and jeans. We also go through the operation breakdowns of these products to know about the process of product development.

7 Types of Sewing Machine used for various apparel products
Sewing machines used for various apparel

Industries use sewing machines and equipment depending on the type of products, types of product applications, style, and design of products asked by the buyer. So, when it comes to consideration of the machine section at the time of production of goods, the highest numbers of machines are used in the sewing department [1]. The sewing department is the main production department in the apparel industry. There were more or less sets of different machines used at the time of pre-production and post-production activities.

Sewing machine types and technical adjustments

1. Single needle lock stitch machine (SNLS)

SNLS is a type of lockstitch machine, which is the most widely used type of sewing machine in the appeal industries. It is the most popular sewing machine that provides a wide range of sewing applications. This type of sewing machine is designed to stitch the raw materials with consistent results in the production room [2].

It provides precise and highly secured stitches in straight lines. The stitch present in the fabric layers is visible on the top side and at the bottom side of the fabric. The sewing needle penetrates throughout the material (fabrics) and stitches the material by the interlocking of needle thread and the bobbin thread.

Figure 1: SNLS industrial sewing machine

This machine creates a strong, straight stitch using one needle and one thread which further creates basic garment construction. As we have seen earlier SNLS is the most widely used industrial machine.

This machine is adopted to stitch and produce almost all categories of appeal goods. It is used to stitch all varieties of fabrics like knits, woven, non-woven, leather fabrics, and many more. The single-needle lockstitch machine is specifically designed and commonly used for decorative stitching and adding visual appeal to garments. Following are major technical adjustments that are possible on the SNLS machine.

Technical adjustments possible on the SNLS machine

  1.   Stitch length
  2.   Thread tension
  3.   Needle position Installation of needle
  4.   Hook Set Timing
  5.   Feed Dog Eccentric Cam Adjustment
  6.   Feed Dog adjustment and alignment
  7.   Pressure foot adjustment
  8.   Needle bar Height adjustment

2. Double needle lock stitch machine (DNLS)

The DNLS machine is a machine that provides a wide range of stitching applications. It provides the same application as similar to the SNLS machine, but it also provides a high lockstitch mechanism that creates a tight and secure stitch as compared to SNLS.

There are two needles means two needle threads and two bobbin threads present which provides high strength to stitch. The straight stitches follow a straight line as per the product application. Both stitches are exactly parallel to each other.

Figure 2: DNLS industrial sewing machine

Figure 2 shows the DNLS machine and the technical adjustments of the DNLS machine as listed below. DNLS machine is applicable for some categories of products like, leather goods, woven, home textiles manufacturing, geotextiles, and others.

In apparel industries, DNLS is typically used for stitching hems, flat seams, and decorative elements on garments like shirts, T-shirts, jeans, and trousers. It also depends upon the buyer’s requirements and the style of the products. So, The double-needle lockstitch machine is specifically designed to create parallel rows of stitches using two needles and two threads. It is commonly used for decorative stitching and adding visual appeal to final products.

Technical adjustments of the DNLS machine

  1.   Basic Machine Practice (Loop Exercise)
  2.   Installation of needle
  3.   Hook Set Timing
  4.   Needle bar Height adjustment
  5.   Sprocket belt adjustment and change
  6.   Feed Dog alignment
  7.   Feed Dog adjustment and
  8.   Feed timing Cam adjustment
  9.   Thread adjustment

3. Overlock machine / Overedge cutting machine

 It is a high-speed industrial sewing machine that provides a wide range of sewing applications in apparel industries. It performs the sewing tasks at the quickest performing speed with over-edge stitches. This type of sewing machine is available in the market in the following specific types, they are classified as per the number of threads available in the sewing machine.

  1. Two thread overlock machine
  2. Three thread overlock machine
  3. Four thread overlock machine
  4. Five  thread overlock machine
  5. Six thread overlock machine

An overlock edge cutting machine is used to stitch the edges of the fabrics and to cut the excess edge of the fabric if required. The cutter presents on the backside of needles cut the uneven edges and make them regular and even.

Figure 3: Overlock industrial sewing machine

Following figure 3 shows a picture of an industrial overlock machine. This type of machine is applicable for knitted, woven, and non-woven fabrics. Widely used in apparel industries to stitch the garments like shirts, t-shirts, jeans, and trousers, and for suiting applications, undergarments manufacturing, and others.

They are designed to sew, trim, and finish fabric edges simultaneously, preventing fraying and providing stretchability to the seams. So, due to its wide range of applications in sewing sectors almost all clothing industries use overlock stitching machines and their types.

Technical adjustments of the OVERLOCK machine

  1.   Basic Machine Practice
  2.   Installation of needle
  3.   Thread Adjustment
  4.   Upper Knife Adjustment
  5.   Lower Knife adjustment
  6.   Needle bar Height adjustment
  7.   Needle to lower looper timing
  8.   Upper Looper Timing
  9.   Chain looper timing (Safety Stitch)
  10. Feed Dog Height adjustment

4. Flat-lock/Chain stitch sewing machine

A flat-lock stitch machine is also known as a chain stitch machine. Is a special type of high-speed sewing machine. Their types of sewing machines are majorly two types namely single-needle flat lock machines and multi-needle flat lock machines. These types of sewing machines have two or more needles that penetrate through fabric layers. The needle thread and lopper thread interlock each other and form loops over the fabric layer.

Flat-lock Chain-stitch-sewing-machine
Figure 4: Flatlock industrial sewing machine

These types of machines are widely applicable to sewing knitted goods to form the comfortable seams desired. The flatlock stitching machine is widely used in the production of activewear, sportswear, and almost all types of T-shirts. It is specifically designed to create flat and flexible seams that are comfortable against the skin.

The flatlock stitch allows the seam to lie flat, reducing bulk and increasing the overall comfort of the garment. Let us discuss the technical adjustments of the Flatlock machine. The following figure 4 shows the image of a flatlock stitching machine.

Technical adjustments of the Flatlock machine

  1.   Basic Machine Practice
  2.   Installation of needle
  3.   Feed Dog Height adjustment
  4.   Cam Timing (Thread)
  5.   Needle and looper guard adjustment
  6.   Needle bar Height adjustment
  7.   Main looper timing
  8.   Spreader Looper Adjustment
  9.   Stitch Length Adjustment

5. Button hole machine

Buttonhole machines are used to create perfectly sized and positioned buttonholes in shirts, T-shirts, jeans, trousers, and other garments that require buttons. They automate the process and can produce consistent and durable buttonholes. This type of machine provides high efficacy consistency and accuracy in sewing operations. As per the demand of the customers manufacturers use button-hole machines.

Figure 5: Button hole industrial machine

After the creation of the hole for the button in the product, a button-attaching machine is used to attach the button to the garment. After completion of these operations, it creates a better astatic look into the final product and makes the product more durable. It has a special mechanism that cuts and sews the buttonhole in one step.

Technical adjustments for this machine include the following points. Following figure 5 shows the image of a button-hole machine used in apparel industries.

Technical adjustments of the Button Hole Machine

  1.   Basic Machine Practice
  2.   Technical Specification
  3.   Hook Set Timing clearance
  4.   Thread trimming or scissors timing adjustment
  5.   Knife Adjustment and change

6. Button attach machine

This is a high-speed button-attaching machine, which is used after the sewing buttonholes operation. After completion of the buttonhole operation, this was carried out. To attach the button to the garments like shirts T-shirts, jeans, and casual trousers that machine is widely used.

Figure 6: Button attach industrial machine

The following shows 6 shows the image of the Button attached machine used in apparel industries. Now let’s discuss some technical adjustments to the Button Attach machine.

Technical adjustments of the Button Attach machine

  1. Basic Machine Practice
  2. Technical Specification
  3. Work Clamp adjustment
  4. Installation of needle
  5. Needle Bar height adjustment
  6. Button center adjustment
  7. Thread trimming adjustment

7. Bartack machine

This machine is widely used for giving secure bartack stitches in garments where high stress is applied. Bartack is a high-speed specialized machine that creates a zigzag type of stitch on the garment at required places. The operator places the garment on the bartack machine under the needle and guides the garment.

Needles penetrate through the garment and form zigzag stitches in the garment area following the desired path, operator must control the speed of the machine and the stitch length. Let us go through the image (figure 7)

Figure 7: Bartack industrial machine

This machine is used for verities of products where high stress is present like waistbands, and crotch areas. Also, while manufacturing jeans for operations like back pocket attachment, zip attachment, waistband attachment, and coin pocket attachment bartack machine is essential to perform these operations. Technical adjustments which are to be taught while dealing with Bartack machines are given below.

Technical adjustments of Bartack machine

  1.   Basic Machine Practice
  2.   Installation of needle
  3.   Needle Bar height adjustment
  4.   Stitch length adjustment
  5.   Thread trimming Adjustment

Here we discussed major types of sewing machines used in apparel industries and we also went through various technical adjustments of the same. Please go through the given link to better understand the advanced sewing machine used in garment factories.

Sewing machines used in garment factories

Operation breakdown

Operation breakdown is a systematic process which mostly used by industrial engineers in the garment industry.  So, the operation breakdown is a sheet that contains the name of the operation, the type of machine, and total machines required to perform that operation, the standard allowed minute, and the total time. This sheet helps for costing purposes. Now, we have to understand the operation breakdown of some common products like Shirts T-shirts, trousers, and jeans. As we understand the machine type and their adjustments and now let us deals with the operation breakdown of the above products and the type of machine used. This gives a clear idea about, how the product is manufactured and also, which machine is used to perform the required operation.

Operation Breakdown: Following tables show the OB of respective products

1) Polo T-Shirt

Sr. No.Name of the OperationType of Machine Used
1Placket MarkTABLE
2Placket Role & Body MatchOVERLOCK
3Attached PlacketSNLS
4Placket Fold TuckSNLS
5Front Back MachineTABLE
6Shoulder Join & CutTABLE
7Care Label AttachSNLS
8Collar MakingTABLE
9Collar JoinOVERLOCK
10Sleeve MatchOVERLOCK
11Sleeve Join with BodySNLS
12Sleeve JoinTABLE
13Collar BindingSNLS
14Binding Cut & Over TurnTABLE
15Collar Top StitchSNLS
16Placket Close (R)SNLS
17Placket Close (L)SNLS
18Make Placket BoxSNLS
19Arm Hole JoinFLATLOCK
21Button HoleBOTTON HOLE M/C
22Button AttachBOTTON ATTACH M/C
Table 1: Operation Breakdown of Polo T-Shirt [3]

2) Polo Shirt

Sr. No.Name of the OperationType of Machine Used
1Fuse PlacketFUSING M/C
2Hem Front PlacketSNLS
4Size Label to Main LabelSNLS
5Main Label to YokeSNLS
6Attach Placket to the FrontSNLS
7Cut PlacketMANUAL
8Front Placket Edge StichSNLS
9Sew Box at PlacketSNLS
10Yoke Attach to BackDNLS
11Shoulder Overlock5TO/L
12Top Stitch ShoulderSNLS
13Attach Piping to Collar EndSNLS
14Turn Placket Ends & Finish PipingSNLS
15Cuff Overlock5TO/L
16Cuff Top StichSNLS
17Sleeve Attach5TO/L
18Sleeve Top StichSNLS
19Slits MarkingSNLS
20Side Seam Overlock & Bottom Overlock4T O/L
21Tack At Sleeve EndSNLS
22Button HoleBUTTON HOLE
23Button AttachBUTTON ATTACH
Table 2: Operation Breakdown of Polo Shirt [4]

3) Jeans

Sr. No.Name of the OperationType of Machine Used
1Pocket HemmingHEMMING M/C
2Pocket Overlock3T O/L
3Pocket CreasingTABLE
4Pocket AttachingSNLS
5Pocket TuckSNLS
6Second Stitch (Back Pocket)SNLS
7Back Yoke AttachFEED OF ARM
8Back Rise JoinFEED OF ARM
9Size Label AttachSNLS
10Coin Pocket HemmingHEMMING M/C
11Coin Pocket AttachSNLS
12Pocket Bag Attach5T O/L
13Pocket Bag Overlocking3T O/L
14Pocket Bag Top StitchSNLS
15Zipper Fly Overlocking4T O/L
16Front Panel Overlock3T O/L
17Zipper AttachDNLS
18Left Fly Attach to Front PanelSNLS
19J StitchSNLS
20Front Pocket Mouth HemmingHEMMING M/C
21Pocket Bag Stitch to Front PanelSNLS
22Right Flt Attach with Zipper & CrotchSNLS
23Loop Preparation3T O/L
24Label AttachSNLS
25Inseam Top StitchFEED OF ARM
26Side Seam Join5T O/L
27Side Seam Top StitchSNLS
29Waist Band Finish SNLS
31Bottom HemmingBOTTOM HEMMING M/C
Table 3: Operation Breakdown of Jeans [5]

4) Trouser

Sr. No.Name of the OperationType of Machine Used
1Front Rise Take with Stripe MatchSNLS
2Front Rise Join5TO/L
3Back Rise Join5TO/L
4Front Rise Ts & Fly Shape stitchingSNLS
5Care label AttachSNLS
6Front & Back Sticker MatchMULTI NEEDLE LOCKSTITCH
7Side Seam Join (Long)5TO/L
8Inseam Join (Long)5TO/L
9Elastic Open & Live StreamMULTI NEEDLE LOCKSTITCH
11Elastic Ring Make & TkSNLS
12Elastic Mark for AttachMULTI NEEDLE LOCKSTICH
13Make Hole Position & SewBUTTON HOLE
14Waist Belt Join4TO/L
15Elastic Fold & TkSNLS
16Waist Belt TsKANSAI
17Drawstring Measuring & CutMULTI NEEDLE LOCKSTITCH
18Insert Drawstring & MiddlingMULTI NEEDLE LOCKSTICH
19Drawstring BTKBARTACK
20Drawstring Mid BTK & Cross BTKBARTACK
21Bottom HemDNLS
Table 4: Operation Breakdown of Trouser [6]

Type of machines used and as per the product category

The following table 5 shows the major types of machines used for given products. As mentioned, the selection of the machine is depending upon the requirements of the buyer, the type of fabric used, the end application of the product, and the style of the product mentioned in the tech pack.

Sr No.Name of Sewing MachineProduct
1Single needle Lock stitch machine
2Single needle edge cutter machine 
3Double-needle Lock Stitch machine   
4Overlock machines 
5Chain Stitch machine  
6Flat lock machine 
7Multi-needle chain stitch machine  
8Feed-of -Arm    
9Zigzag sewing machine   
10Button attaching machine 
11Button holing machine  
12Bartack machine  
Table 5: Type of sewing machines


In conclusion, we understand the importance of major sewing machines from the basic single-needle lockstitch machine to specialized machines like overlockers and buttonhole machines, each type of sewing machine serves a specific purpose.

The use of sewing machines while garment manufacturing servers effective stitching performance. as well as the highest quality standards. By choosing the right sewing machine for each task, manufacturers can achieve better productivity, efficiency, durability, and aesthetic appearance in their apparel products.

The choice of a sewing machine depends on several factors, including the type of fabric, the design of the garment, and, standards asked by the customer, the end application of the product, and the desired finish. Thus, sewing machines play a crucial role in the production of various apparel products. They help to stitch different types of garments efficiently and accurately.


1. List of Machines and Equipment Used in Garment Manufacturing. (n.d.). Garment Export House. Retrieved June 16, 2023, from https://www.garmentexporthouse.com/2021/10/list-of-machines-and-equipment-used-in.html

2. Retrieved June 16, 2023, from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://textilescommittee.nic.in/sites/default/files/course-content/TC_GMT_11.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjU25rL-8b_AhU0a2wGHUuRCJ0QFnoECA4QAQ&usg=AOvVaw1_TRf40qdt8X05lEF0-Yw2

3. Hosen, Md. (2020). Reduction of Garments Bottleneck Processing Time on the Sewing Line of the Garments Industries. International Journal of Textile and Fashion Technology. 5. 1-10. 10.33552/JTSFT.2020.05.000611.

4. Operation Bulletin of a Polo Shirt. (2016, December 22). Online Clothing Study. https://www.onlineclothingstudy.com/2016/12/operation-bulletin-of-polo-shirt.html

5. Operation Breakdown, SMV, and Machine Summary of Basic 5 Pocket Jeans. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2023, from https://www.onlineapparelstudy.com/2022/02/operation-breakdown-smv-and-machine.html

6. Shaikat, N. M. (2018, October 5). Operation Breakdown and SMV of Trouser. ORDNUR. https://ordnur.com/apparel/operation-breakdown-and-smv-of-trouser/

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