Sewing Machine Operator Career

Job Description: Operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.


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Sewing Machine Operator Career

What Sewing Machine Operators do:

  • Place spools of thread, cord, or other materials on spindles, insert bobbins, and thread ends through machine guides and components.
  • Monitor machine operation to detect problems such as defective stitching, breaks in thread, or machine malfunctions.
  • Select supplies such as fasteners and thread, according to job requirements.
  • Fold or stretch edges or lengths of items while sewing to facilitate forming specified sections.
  • Guide garments or garment parts under machine needles and presser feet to sew parts together.
  • Perform equipment maintenance tasks such as replacing needles, sanding rough areas of needles, or cleaning and oiling sewing machines.
  • Turn knobs, screws, and dials to adjust settings of machines, according to garment styles and equipment performance.
  • Position items under needles, using marks on machines, clamps, templates, or cloth as guides.
  • Cut excess material or thread from finished products.
  • Repair or alter items by adding replacement parts or missing stitches.
  • Remove holding devices and finished items from machines.
  • Examine and measure finished articles to verify conformance to standards, using rulers.
  • Attach tape, trim, appliques, or elastic to specified garments or garment parts, according to item specifications.
  • Match cloth pieces in correct sequences prior to sewing them, and verify that dye lots and patterns match.
  • Start and operate or tend machines, such as single or double needle serging and flat-bed felling machines, to automatically join, reinforce, or decorate material or articles.
  • Record quantities of materials processed.
  • Mount attachments, such as needles, cutting blades, or pattern plates, and adjust machine guides according to specifications.
  • Tape or twist together thread or cord to repair breaks.
  • Cut materials according to specifications, using blades, scissors, or electric knives.
  • Inspect garments, and examine repair tags and markings on garments to locate defects or damage, and mark errors as necessary.
  • Attach buttons, hooks, zippers, fasteners, or other accessories to fabric, using feeding hoppers or clamp holders.
  • Baste edges of material to align and temporarily secure parts for final assembly.
  • Draw markings or pin appliques on fabric to obtain variations in design.
  • Position and mark patterns on materials to prepare for sewing.
  • Perform specialized or automatic sewing machine functions, such as buttonhole making or tacking.
  • Position material or articles in clamps, templates, or hoop frames prior to automatic operation of machines.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Holland Code Chart for a Sewing Machine Operator