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Difference Between Sewing Machine and Embroidery Machine

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Two threads threaded sewing machine

If you are just starting your research into a possible embroidery company, then you may be looking into the differences between a sewing machine and an embroidery machine.

The two machines have a great deal of similarities but the fundamental difference is that embroidery machines allow for embroidery stitching, while sewing machines allow for regular stitching - also known as construction stitching. 

Sewing machine

Sewing machines are a practical way to sew two stitches together in order to make a piece of fabric functional, while embroidery machines involve sewing designs on fabric to make a stunning work of art.

What does this mean?

Let’s get back to basics. There are three different types of sewing: straightforward sewing, construction sewing, and a specialized form of stitching known as embroidery. Some machines accommodate all of these forms, while others can only do construction sewing and embroidery. Normally, highly specialized machines offer the ability to create embroidery stitching.

Still following? If you’ve never heard of these sewing terms before, you’re not alone. They are mostly industry jargon, but it is really quite simple. Construction sewing involves either: sewing two pieces or fabric, finishing the edge of one piece of fabric, or manipulating pleats or darts of a fabric. Think of it as constructive.

Embroidery sewing is primarily decorative and thought of more as art — stitched flourishes, such as banners or a detailed scene of a mountain. These stitches are based off of designs. Embroidery normally involves 30- or 40-weight embroidery thread and a repetitive, texture-building stitching technique to outline patterns and fill them with color. Using a machine designed for embroidery stitching allows for uniform stitches — but also saves time and energy. Think of it as aesthetic.

Embroidery machines are generally used in commercial settings because sewing machines do not have the capacity to handle the same complexity and demand. Embroidery machines like the EMT16 are made to handle the demand of a commercial business, including putting performance efficiency at 99.94 percent. 

Looking to start your own embroidery business? Find some useful tips in our Embroidery Startup Guide!

The other major difference between the two machines is that an advanced embroidery machine is digitized in order to provide elaborate pre-programmed embroidery patterns on a computer, while also offering the option to add more patterns that have been downloaded or scanned. A commercial embroidery machine can also be used for monograms.

A person who creates an embroidery design is known as an embroidery digitizer or puncher. A digitizer uses embroidery software to create an object-based embroidery design, which can be easily re-shaped and edited. These files retain important information such as object outlines, thread colors, and original artwork used to punch the designs. 

An industrial or commercial embroidery machine might also be loaded with multiple needles that work together, offering the ability to trim thread and change thread color automatically. 

Embroidery machines

If we compare this to our more basic machine, sewing machines are used when two pieces of fabric need to be stitched together. That is the main functionality.

 One of the things our clients enjoy about embroidery machines is that they allow the ability to be both creative and innovative through the aesthetic construction of a product. 

Because embroidery machines are more complex in their methodology and application, it takes time to understand how to maximize machine efficiency. That is why Melco offers a free in-person training session for all EMT16 embroidery machine purchases. Depending on your goal, an embroidery machine is a cost-effective way to produce art with cutting-edge technology.

Want to know more about embroidery machines?