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All About Sewing Machine Operators

Sewing Machine Operator Definition Operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.

Life As a Sewing Machine Operator: What Do They Do?

  • Cut materials according to specifications, using blades, scissors, or electric knives.
  • Examine and measure finished articles to verify conformance to standards, using rulers.
  • Perform equipment maintenance tasks such as replacing needles, sanding rough areas of needles, or cleaning and oiling sewing machines.
  • Draw markings or pin appliques on fabric to obtain variations in design.
  • Remove holding devices and finished items from machines.
  • Monitor machine operation to detect problems such as defective stitching, breaks in thread, or machine malfunctions.

Sewing Machine Operator Needed Skills

Sewing Machine Operators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Sewing Machine Operator

  • Window Shade Ring Sewer
  • Sweat Band Sewer
  • Tacking Machine Operator
  • Fastener Sewing Machine Operator
  • Lockstitch Front Edge Tape Sewer

Is There Going to be Demand for Sewing Machine Operators?

In the United States, there were 153,900 jobs for Sewing Machine Operator in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Sewing Machine Operator. The BLS estimates 12,300 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Sewing Machine Operator are Nevada, Alaska, and Wyoming. Watch out if you plan on working in New York, Pennsylvania, or Ohio. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Sewing Machine Operator

The typical yearly salary for Sewing Machine Operators is somewhere between $19,040 and $37,880.


Sewing Machine Operators who work in Alaska, District of Columbia, or Connecticut, make the highest salaries.

How much do Sewing Machine Operators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $23,960
Alaska $38,270
Arizona $29,940
Arkansas $24,270
California $26,670
Colorado $28,820
Connecticut $35,120
Delaware $28,530
District of Columbia $35,830
Florida $27,060
Georgia $24,760
Hawaii $27,450
Idaho $25,360
Illinois $29,010
Indiana $28,180
Iowa $28,320
Kansas $28,530
Kentucky $23,530
Louisiana $24,540
Maine $29,910
Maryland $27,910
Massachusetts $30,980
Michigan $27,860
Minnesota $29,610
Mississippi $27,910
Missouri $24,390
Montana $27,750
Nebraska $25,570
Nevada $29,340
New Hampshire $31,700
New Jersey $24,370
New Mexico $23,600
New York $30,020
North Carolina $27,990
North Dakota $26,960
Ohio $26,190
Oklahoma $23,120
Oregon $28,290
Pennsylvania $26,670
Rhode Island $30,870
South Carolina $24,570
South Dakota $27,130
Tennessee $24,470
Texas $23,850
Utah $27,500
Vermont $27,500
Virginia $25,640
Washington $33,320
West Virginia $25,390
Wisconsin $28,750
Wyoming $28,910

What Tools & Technology do Sewing Machine Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Sewing Machine Operators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Email software

How do I Become a Sewing Machine Operator?

Learn what Sewing Machine Operator education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Sewing Machine Operator?


Where Sewing Machine Operators Work


Below are examples of industries where Sewing Machine Operators work:



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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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