Sewing Machine Operators: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

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.
Read more about what does a Sewing Machine Operator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$26990 per year

Average hourly wage
$13 per hour

Sewing Machine Operators with little to no experience tend to make between $19040 and $21970 while the more experienced ones can earn over $30590 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
AK $18 $38,270
DC $17 $35,830
CT $17 $35,120
WA $16 $33,320
NH $15 $31,700

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Sewing Machine Operator is to move to a higher paying state like AK. Right now, the highest paying states for Sewing Machine Operators are AK, DC, CT, WA and NH.

However, a higher pay at AK doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at AK might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Sewing Machine Operator is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
High School Diploma (or GED)

We asked other Sewing Machine Operators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had less than a High School Diploma followed by a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Read more about how to become a Sewing Machine Operator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Sewing Machine Operator.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants 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.
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
One of the lowest paying jobs
Demand for this career is declining

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

63% of Sewing Machine Operators said they were satisfied with their job and 43% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends 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.

Learn more about Sewing Machine Operators

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