How do Sewing Machines Work?

A sewing machine is a device that is used to stitch a variety of different fabrics and materials such as cotton, nylon, leather or vinyl and much more. The fabric is fed under the presser foot where the needle pistons in and out of the material, stitching the fabric neatly. Material is fed into the machine rather than the machine moving around the fabric. At the beginning of each stitch, the needle pulls a loop of thread through the fabric.

The looper mechanism moves in synch with the needle and grabs the loop of thread before the needle pulls up an out of the fabric. Then the needle pushes back into the material, the new loop of thread passes directly through the middle of the earlier loop where the looper grabs the thread again and loops it around the next thread loop.

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Every loop of thread holds the next loop tightly in place. You could do this type stitch by hand but having a sewing machine will save you time and effort while delivering professional results. Computerized or electric sewing machines have more stitch options than manual machines and you can easily select one of the many functions just by pressing a button.

What are the Different Types of Sewing Machines?

You will be amazed at how many different types of sewing machines are on the market today. All of these machines fall under two main categories: Industrial and Home Sewing Machines.
Industrial sewing machines are intended for heavy duty mass production factory work and are usually designed to perform a specific application. Some can make shirt cuffs or put the waistband in jeans. These machines are built to perform long term and professional tasks and are made from high quality metals like cast iron or Aluminium.

Domestic or household machines are designed with housewives in minds and are the most basic type of sewing machines available. These machines work at a slower pace than their industrial counterparts. Domestic machines are made from plastic housing and nylon gears which means that they can easily over heat when used for too long. Manual sewing machines are not as popular as industrial or domestic sewing machines because they do not run on electricity or batteries and do not have any computer components.

They are however well known for their durability and some manual machines have been around for centuries. An electronic sewing machine has a single motor which gives power to the needle and has an electronic foot pedal. The speed of the machine can be controlled by the amount of pressure you place on the foot pedal.

What are the Parts of a Sewing Machine?

  • The spool pin which holds the spool of thread
  • The Bobbin binder spindle which is where the bobbin is placed during winding
  • The Bobbin winder stopper which stops the bobbin from winding when it is full
  • The Stitch width dial controls the stitches
  • The Pattern selector dial is used to select the desired pattern stitch
  • The hand wheel is used to raise and lower the needle and is on the right side of the machine
  • The stitch length dial controls the length of the stitch
  • The reverse stitch lever allows the machine to sew in reverse
  • The power switch turns the machine on or off
  • The bobbin winder thread guide which is used during bobbin winding

What amp Motor Should a Leather Sewing Machine Have?

Amp Motor for Leather Sewing MachineTypical house hold sewing machines use motors rated in tenths of an amp with a shaft speed of 3000rpm. Too much work on the motor and the amps will go above the rating and the machine will burn up. Larger, industrial size machines will need a larger size motor to deal with the amount of bulk stitching that needs to be done.

The higher the amps, the stronger the motor. Household sewing machines will use motors rated at 1.0 amp to 1.5 amps. Manual machines do not make use of a motor to power them because they are turned by hand. Computerized sewing machines tend to sew faster and therefore will have a bigger motor to prevent burnout and damage to the internal computer parts.


Leather is one of the trickiest materials to work with but it can be am enjoyable and rewarding experience in the end. Knowing what kind of leather projects you will be sewing will help you to decide what kind of sewing machine and accessories you will need. There is no room for mistakes when working with leather so plan ahead and make sure all of your measurements are correct.

Always stitch on a scrap piece of material before moving to the actual project to ensure that you stitch length is long enough and that your needle is not dull or bent. Using a thicker thread will allow your leather application to hold its shape better. Thin cotton thread will cut into the leather and cause it to pucker untidily.