In our day to day lives, we constantly rely on products that have been expertly stitched with the aid of heavy duty and industrial sewing machines. Often, we don’t give much thought to the craftsmanship and materials that are behind the products and garments that we use and wear everyday.
Here’s a look at the different sewing techniques and fabrics used across a range of applications.
Clothing textiles can vary hugely, from delicate silks and chiffon, to cotton, denim, wool and linen. There are also various synthetic fabrics such as polyester that can be used singly or blended with other fabrics.
Garments that are mass-produced with sewing machines require a variety of stitching techniques, depending on the type of fabric and the area of the garment that is being worked on, such as seams, hems, edges, gathering, or decoration.
The most common type of machine stitches include the lockstitch, the chain stitch, the zigzag stitch, the running stitch, the back stitch, the satin stitch, and the overlock stitch.
The automotive industry uses fabrics for vehicle interiors that need to be tough and hard-wearing. More high-end vehicles may use leather, wool, wool blends, or suede. Sometimes vinyl or faux-leather is also used, but this can be uncomfortable because it is not a breathable fabric.
The majority of car interiors use textiles for seating covers, roof and floor coverings, and door and package panels, and the most frequently used fabric is tri-laminate polyester. This is very durable and can withstand abrasion, sun exposure, and is resistant to creasing.
These materials require the use of industrial sewing machines that are able to cope with the thickness of the fabric to provide double stitching and topstitching.
Domestic upholstery such as sofas, headboards, armchairs, and footstools also require hard wearing fabrics. These items can use a range of natural or man-made fibres or materials. Man-made materials can be durable and hard wearing, but natural fabrics are sought after for prestige and comfort.
Popular natural materials for home furnishings include leather, suede, velvet, and corduroy. Synthetic fabrics most frequently used include polyester, taffeta, and polypropylene. As with car upholstery, these fabrics require heavy duty needles and double stitching.
Drapery and bedding materials are also available in a variety of natural and synthetic fibres. For bedding, natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are considered ideal, because they are breathable and help to maintain a consistent body temperature.
Curtains, cushions, and bedding not only require seams and hems stitching, but also often involve decorative stitching to create patterns. This can be achieved by using programmable pattern stitch machinery that can reproduce a range of customised designs.
This offers the flexibility to mass produce patterned textiles that would otherwise take many hours to create by hand.