What Do Sewing Machine Operators Do

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Sewing Machine Operators

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

Salary
$29420
Becoming One
Very Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

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

  • Monitor machine operation to detect problems such as defective stitching, breaks in thread, or machine malfunctions.
  • Cut materials according to specifications, using blades, scissors, or electric knives.
  • Place spools of thread, cord, or other materials on spindles, insert bobbins, and thread ends through machine guides and components.
  • Position items under needles, using marks on machines, clamps, templates, or cloth as guides.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Sewing Machine Operators record quantities of materials processed. They guide garments or garment parts under machine needles and presser feet to sew parts together.

A typical day for a Sewing Machine Operator will also include:

  • Remove holding devices and finished items from machines.
  • Cut excess material or thread from finished products.
  • Repair or alter items by adding replacement parts or missing stitches.
  • Turn knobs, screws, and dials to adjust settings of machines, according to garment styles and equipment performance.
  • Perform equipment maintenance tasks such as replacing needles, sanding rough areas of needles, or cleaning and oiling sewing machines.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Sewing Machine Operators also perform equipment maintenance tasks such as replacing needles, sanding rough areas of needles, or cleaning and oiling sewing machines. They may also draw markings or pin appliques on fabric to obtain variations in design.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Sewing Machine Operators attach tape, trim, appliques, or elastic to specified garments or garment parts, according to item specifications. They might also mount attachments, such as needles, cutting blades, or pattern plates, and adjust machine guides according to specifications.

In addition, they baste edges of material to align and temporarily secure parts for final assembly.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them repair or alter items by adding replacement parts or missing stitches.

To some Sewing Machine Operators, it is also their responsibility to tape or twist together thread or cord to repair breaks.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Low

63% said they were satisfied with their job and 43% said they found their job meaningful.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is very easy to get into this career. Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

Demand for this career is declining.

How much do they make

Average salary

$29420 per year

Average hourly wage

$14 per hour

Entry-level Sewing Machine Operators with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $20,270 to $24,190 per year or $10 to $12 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $39,790 $19
Senior (Top 25%) $33,080 $16
Median $28,230 $14
Junior (Bottom 25%) $24,190 $12
No experience (Bottom 10%) $20,270 $10

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Sewing Machine Operators based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Local Government $47560 $22.86
Federal Executive Branch $44060 $21.19
State Government $43620 $20.97
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $39040 $18.77
Traveler Accommodation $35920 $17.27
Motor Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Parts and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $35510 $17.07
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing $34830 $16.75
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $33690 $16.20
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing $33560 $16.13
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing $33500 $16.11

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Sewing Machine Operators work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Sewing Machine Operators including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing 28480 $27890 $13.41
Other Textile Product Mills 17970 $29270 $14.07
Textile Furnishings Mills 7730 $29370 $14.12
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing 6610 $33500 $16.11
Printing and Related Support Activities 5470 $29100 $13.99
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing 3800 $33560 $16.13
Apparel Accessories and Other Apparel Manufacturing 3690 $28350 $13.63
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing 3690 $29150 $14.01
Apparel, Piece Goods, and Notions Merchant Wholesalers 3300 $32830 $15.78
Other Furniture Related Product Manufacturing 3060 $30080 $14.46

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
12%

40 hours
64%

More than 40 hours
25%

Working schedule

65%

33%

2%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
3%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
8%

Every day
8%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
22%

Every day
36%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
66%

Once a year
10%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
10%

Every day
5%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
23%

Slightly competitive
23%

Moderately competitive
28%

Highly competitive
25%

Extremely competitive
2%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
32%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
62%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
68%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
26%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Easy
You need little to no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category don’t require a degree. However, you may need a few days to a few months of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Waiters, Logging Machine Operators, and Cashiers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
53%

High School Diploma or equivalent
41%

Post-Secondary Certificate
1%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
5%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

No majors found

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
22%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
23%

6 months to 1 year
9%

1 to 2 years
22%

2 to 4 years
13%

4 to 6 years
5%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
1%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
2%

1 month
23%

1 to 3 months
18%

3 to 6 months
31%

6 months to 1 year
20%

1 to 2 years
4%

2 to 4 years
1%

4 to 10 years
1%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
95%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
19%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
24%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
14%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
24%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
57%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
29%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
31%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
24%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
38%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
62%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
33%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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