Different Types of Embroidery Machines: Their Functions and Advantages

Types of Embroidery Machines: Functions and Advantages

Yash Ajit Patil
IE Supervisor
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. Bangalore.
Email: patilyash280@gmail.com


Embroidery is the art of ornamenting fabric or other material by the help of applying thread or yarn. Embroidery may also integrate other materials like pearls, beads, quills and sequins. In contemporary fashion the embroidery would be seen on caps, hats, coats, overlays, blankets, dress shirts, denim, dresses, stockings, scarfs, and golf shorts. There is wide range of thread and colour that are being used in embroidery. For gift and clothing materials it is also being used.

To create a pattern on textile material i.e., embroidery process a help of sewing machine or embroidery machine will be taken this process is called as machine embroidery. It is used basically for product branding (logo), corporate advertising and uniform ornamentation. To ornament a garment, it is also being used in fashion industry. To nourish the gift, clothing and home decor machine embroidery is being used by fancier and crafters. For example, design over quilts, wall hanging, etc. There are different types of embroidery machine, that and all we will see in same article. There are modern embroidery machines are also there. That is computerized machine embroidery, which is controlled by computer.

Development of Machine Embroidery:
The concept of mass production and development of machine this idea came in stage during industrial evolution. Josue Heilmann was invented the 1sthand embroidery machine in 1832 I’m France. The next advancement was the schiffli embroidery machine; latter borrowed from sewing machine and jacquard loom to make it fully automatic. Day by day the advancements has been taken place and different types of embroidery machines has been developed.

Different Types of Embroidery Machines:
Embroidery machines come in various types, each designed for specific purposes and with different features. Here are some common types of embroidery machines:

1. Mechanical Embroidery Machine:
There are different types of embroidery machines amongst that this is the first, as per as domestic sewing machine is concern same embroidery machine works. Here actual fabric, needle and treads are not attached with but machine use needle to penetrate fabric material. To form embroidery design over the fabric this machine pulls the extended thread through the hole. As well as this machine also works as regular sewing machine.

Mechanical embroidery machine
Fig: Mechanical embroidery machine

As per as types of embroidery machines are concern, each machine will be having their own features like:

  • Unique design compared to domestic and industrial sewing machine.
  • For baby lock embroidery, one metal plate (flat) is located on top of bobbin case which grabs the thread, and it didn’t have needle plate.
  • The holes may situate either with equal gap or situated haphazardly based on hoop of the machine.

2. Free-motion Machine Embroidery:
In this type, traditional zigzag sewing machine is used to make stitched designs in free motion machine embroidery. Mostly this is being used for tailoring purpose so that this is having less advancement / automations. Feed dog of the machine has been covered and manually the fabric was moved by human being to make a design. By using running stitch embroidery will be created. For patterns border thicker lines are required for that zigzag stitch on the machine can be used. Whatever the design made on this is unique one and cannot be reproduced same as it is. It is also called as free hand sewing machine. Here to draw the design consider the needle as a pencil and move the fabric as per your wish and get your design on fabric.

Free-motion machine embroidery
Fig: Free-motion machine embroidery

3. Cornely Hand-guided Embroidery:
Hand guided embroidery needs one human being as an operator to handle the machine and regulate the speed and precision of the machine with artistry of skilled embroiderer. This machine creates special chain stitch, satin stitch, long and short stitch, cording, applique. This hand guided embroidery is famous with interior designer. The price of the embroidery work will be depending upon size, complexity, size and design times. After development of this machine people came to know that there is need for development of more different types of embroidery machine and then computer controlled embroidery machine came in picture.

Cornely Hand-guided Embroidery
Fig: Cornely Hand-guided Embroidery

4. Computer-Controlled Embroidery Machines:
Whatever modern embroidery machines are there that is computer controlled only. What we saw in previous machine those machines are sewing machines and also working like embroidery machine. But this are designed only for embroidery purposes. I’m these types of machine the design is already given to machine by the program format, after that the fabric is fixed into the hoop and finally hoop is fixed onto the machine and machine automatically starts doing embroidery as per as program is concern. This computer-controlled embroidery machine needs various kinds of inputs.

You may also like: Computerized Embroidery: Types, Machine Process and Benefits

This machine’s will be having a simple and separate touch screen interface, which will allow to set the different parameters like design, stitch type, stitch length, and rest all required parameters. There is no any need to hire any skilled labour for this work, because machine itself is giving accurate design as per input instructions. Here simply design has to be created in software and need to feed into the machine interface and need to start, automatically it will embroider on fabric, if any thread breakage happens machine will stop automatically.

4.1 Single head embroidery machine:
As name suggest this machine is having single embroidery head. In this machine embroidery head is constant and arms of the machine moves as per the given instructions. This machine will be having 7-15 needle. Having speed of approximately 300-1000 stitch per minute (Number of needles and stitch per minute may vary depending upon make of the machine).

Single head embroidery machine
Fig: Single head embroidery machine

4.2 Multi-head embroidery machine:
One who is producing in bulk they can opt for this type of machine. As name suggests it is having multiple heads so it can produce same design on multiple fabrics at a time without any single change. This will give good quality with quantity. Maximum 2 to 12 heads will be there with 15 needles on each head. Maximum RPM is 1100. Again, based on make of the machine this RPM may vary. In a single shot it can produce same design with different threads on different fabric at a same time.

Multi-head embroidery machine
Fig: Multi-head embroidery machine

4.3 Schiffli embroidery machine:
These machines are employed in production of Schiffli items. The fabric on which embroidery is needed, that fabric is being inserted vertically into the Schiffli machines, which is distinguishing feature purely via device. Stitching will be done by horizontal needle entry. All needles are aligned in line and simultaneously penetrate the fabric at the same height. Here fabric is clamped and it moves horizontal and vertically ultimately it will create design on fabric. All together 2 fabrics can be processed. Colour shift is possible because each needle is separately handled. At a single shot 2200 needles can be penetrated into fabric based on machine type.

Schiffli embroidery machine
Fig: Schiffli embroidery machine

Advantages of Embroidery Machine:

1. Uniform Design on Each Garment:
As embroidery done by the machine, whatever design done by the machine that will be uniform/same. Compared to the hand embroidery it is more uniform because in hand embroidery it is not possible to produce same design as it is.

2. Error-Free Designs:
As per as hand embroidery is concern there are more chances for error, but when it comes to automatic/computer-controlled embroidery it will be accurate and error free.

3. Less Time Consuming:
Machine speed is 1100 RPM (based on machine) so more production can be done within same period of time with multiple heads.

4. Pocket Friendly:
When it comes to hand embroidery, skilled person may demand for higher amount, but as the design done by machine it can be cheaper than that if the hand embroidery.

5. Higher Rate of Productivity and Accuracy:
As there is usage of machine there is no any complexity for embroidery. The embroidery digitizer is an expert who can recognize type of fabric and which design will be suitable for same fabric. So it will deliver more productivity with accuracy and best quality.

Creating a design by using stitches is a part of machine embroidery. This is also said to be computer embroidery. Design can be produced on software and feed to the machine interface, this acts as a input for the machine. Machine is itself having softy it will process the given inputs and embroider over the fabric. There are different machines available based on end use it can be handled. Single head embroidery can be used for few pieces but for bulk we need a multi head embroidery machine.


  1. Best Sewing Machines For Free Motion Embroidery, 18 February, https://www.johilltextiles.co.uk/blog/best-sewing-machines-for-free-motion-embroidery
  2. Hand guided machine embroidery, https://handembroidery.com/services/hand-guided-machine/
  3. Computer Embroidery Machine: Everything You Need To Know, By Superlabelstore, March 5,2023 https://superlabelstore.com/blog/computer-embroidery-machine/
  4. Top 10 benefits of Machine Embroidery Over Hand Embroidery, By Debashish Ghosh, March 17, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-10-benefits-machine-embroidery-over-hand-debashish-ghosh
  5. Different Types of Embroidery Machines and their Functions,  https://www.textileindustry.net/embroidery-machines-and-their-functions


1. What is the best embroidery machine available?

  • Actually,good embroidery machine is that machine which will serves good for your business not what distributor actually wants to sell you! But it will arise one more question that how will you come to know which one is right?
  • In UK market there are 7 main brands of embroidery machines like SWF Korea, Barudan Japan, Happy, Tajima, Melco, RICOMA & ZSK.

2. What’s the difference between SWF Korea Industrial Embroidery Machines and Tajima Embroidery Machines?

  • Both of this machine offers 1,2,4,6,8& 12 heads but all are having different specifications.
  • For SWF there is large stitching area as standard of 450*400, also this machine is larger in size and taking extra space and heavier upto 25%.
  • Both Tajima and SWFare provided with Auto Tensioning and digitally controlled presser feet for thicker fabric control. Whereas SWF also stitches at 1200 SPM on their multi head machines which is faster (This is on 12 July 2023)
  • Biggest difference is SWF Korea is only manufacturer who provides world’s only patented SWF, dual Function hybrid embroidery machine!

3. Do the Embroidery machines you supply come with USB ports?
– Yes, SWF Korea and RICOMA these both incorporate USB ports to load your design, also colour touch screen is provided, with wired or Wi-Fi connection.

4. How do you oil a SWF or RICOMA Embroidery Machine?

  • There is one lever provided with machine attached to machine itself and pulling the lever will automatically lubricate your whole machine which will saves your money and time also.
  • In case of RICOMA Embroidery Machine, it is having series of holes like other brands that needs oiling at least once per week based on manufacturers recommendations.

5. How many needles does the machine have?
– For SWF Korea Embroidery machine totally 15 needles and for RICOMA they offer 20 Needles machines.

6. Why is my embroidery making a popping noise when it stitches?
– Whenever you are using “wrong” Needles it will make noise. For example of you are moving from low GSM fabric to high GSM fabric the needle should be changes, otherwise it will make noise.

You may also like:

  1. Different Types of Embroidery: Features and Uses
  2. Different Types of Embroidery Threads with Advantages and Disadvantages
  3. Aari and Zardozi Embroidery: An Overview

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