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Sewing Machine Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


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

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Monitors machine operation to detect problems such as defective stitching, breaks in thread, or machine malfunctions.
  • Places spools of thread, cord, or other materials on spindles, inserts bobbins, and threads ends through machine guides and components.
  • Positions items under needles, using marks on machines, clamps, templates, or cloth as guides.
  • Guides garments or garment parts under machine needles and presser feet to sew parts together.
  • Removes holding devices and finished items from machines.
  • Matches cloth pieces in correct sequences prior to sewing them, and verifies that dye lots and patterns match.
  • Folds or stretches edges or lengths of items while sewing to facilitate forming specified sections.
  • Cuts excess material or thread from finished products.
  • Selects supplies such as fasteners and thread, according to job requirements.
  • Examines and measures finished articles to verify conformance to standards, using rulers.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Line Closer --
  • Machine Operator --
  • Prototype Sewer --
  • Sample Maker --
  • Seamer --
  • Seamstress --
  • Sew On Operator --
  • Sewer --
  • Zipper Machine Operator --