The invention of the sewing machine dates back to 1830. It was first invented by tailor Barthelemy Thimonnier, who was granted a patent for inventing a chain stitch sewing loom. In 1864, the American inventor Elias Howe perfected the original model by using a small shuttle connected with the needle.

All modern sewing machines are based on this model which, in its simplest form, contains a vertical needle with the eye at the point from where the thread passes as it unrolls from a spool fitted on top of the sewing machine.


The needle descends, pierces the fabric and ascends slowly. This way, the thread creates a small loop on the fabric. This process is repeated throughout the seam by moving the fabric.

​This creates a series of successive stitches, which replicate sewing by hand. These movements are very fast and, in some sewing machines, they may reach several thousand stitches per minute.

Most modern sewing machines are electrically powered.

​However, older models are still in use and some of them are hand operated.

Special mechanisms added to sewing machines allow for various special functions, such as embroidery, sewing buttonholes etc.

Sewing machines may be used in many ways. Specialized models for each operation are used in industries processing leather, mattresses etc.