Sewing is a form of technology that has been around for a very long time and throughout history has grown and changed to become more and more advanced. The advancement of computer technology in general has led to more advanced computerized machines in sewing, another form of sewing called embroidery, and a type of sewing that specifically involves making blankets called quilting. Embroidery is a form of sewing in which stitching of thread is grouped together to create a shape or picture. This is different from sewing because it focuses on the use of thread to create a picture as opposed to the use of thread to hold fabric together to create a unique garment or object made up from fabric. Another similar hobby to sewing is quilting which is really a lot like sewing but as opposed to stitching together different pieces of fabric, it is stitching shapes and special designs made up of lines of thread into layers of fabric that will most likely become a blanket. Quilting is also made up of pieces of fabric that are sewn together. Sewing machines have all remained mostly the same throughout history but have become easier to use and oftentimes quicker. “Although no significant/fundamental change has happened in sewing-machine kinematics during the last five decades, electronics and computerisation have driven the technological advancements in sewing machines” (Sayed). Embroidery, sewing, and quilting were originally done by hand and were extremely difficult and time consuming and when the invention of the computer came to be it played a large role in making this process much easier. Embroidery, sewing, and quilting machines have become more advanced and overall easier to operate thanks to the technological advances of the computer.
Embroidery is a very intricate combination of lines and colored thread that make up a picture. Embroidery machines come in many different shapes and sizes. Some machines look like sewing machines and can even do both sewing and embroidery but the better embroidery machines are large and can hold many different colors of thread. Because the process is so intricate that means it requires a lot of very complex computer technology to be able to create some designs with smaller sections of color or a specific shape. The technology used to create the designs is typically referred to in the sewing community as digitizing although there are many other names and programs for making embroidery designs. Digitizing takes a lot of time for someone who is not familiar with technology to learn because it is different for every type of embroidery machine. “Computers have made quick and accurate measuring possible, as well as storing quite a number of measured data into the computer memory banks, together with the subsequent mathematical processing and analysis of the data obtained” (Rogale). Computers make the proportional alignment of designs much easier to do than if done by hand and these designs are much better looking and proportionally accurate. Different machines can be much more advanced than others with some machines needing specific file types to be uploaded to the machine that are less common to find free design files for online. Thread color and stitching direction are the most common struggles of learning how to digitize because choosing different colors and different stitching lengths can make the final design look significantly different by just making a small change. Some machines have much more advanced computers built into them that allow you to take a picture or draw right on the machine and it will do all the hard work for you including choosing the right colors and stitching directions and lengths. These computerized machines have become more common in the world of embroidery and although they are much more expensive, they end up saving people hundreds of hours of designing and frustration and are less likely to have pieces break on the machine.
Computerized machines have not only become more advanced and more popular in the world of embroidery but have also taken on the world of sewing as well. Sewing has become a process heavily relied on computer technology that is implemented into the newer machine models. Machines for sewing have advanced greatly and can become even easier the more computing technology that is implemented into the machines. There are a lot of different ways that computers can make sewing easier by adding more features. “Electronic control has introduced a new form of machine versatility that allows a general-purpose machine to become semiautomatic with specific programmable processes like counting of stitches, detecting bobbin run-out and trimming thread” (Stylios). The main way that computer technology impacts a sewing machine is the stitch length and width because different types of fabric require different stitch lengths to be put together in the most durable way for that specific textile. Some computerized machines can even recognize the type of fabric you are sewing and adjust the settings according to the thickness of the fabric. The width of the machine stitches has to do with zig zag type patterns and can be used to create more advanced stitches. These stitches can create patterns that can look like certain shapes such as diamonds and octagons, or more advanced designs such as flowers or leaves. Being able to create all these unique patterns can affect the overall look of a design you sew to make it look much more professionally made and overall more durable. The use of computers in sewing has provided the world with the ability to not only quickly stitch these unique stitching patterns onto fabric but also make it perfectly even which would not typically be possible without having a digital computerized sewing machine.
Quilting has a lot in common with sewing in the aspects of machine technology and what the machine is capable of. A quilting machine looks a lot like a sewing machine but oftentimes is larger and has more space between the main body of the machine and the spot where you stitch fabric together. Quilting takes the small stitching from sewing and puts it on a much larger scale. Quilting machines often offer a lot more types of stitching designs than a regular sewing machine. This is possible because of the stronger and more powerful computers used in the machines. Quilting is often called an art form because while quilting itself is stitching on the outside, the blocks that make up a quilt are made through the process of sewing and combined to make something truly unique and fully customizable. The more technology in the machine the more it typically does so the more advanced machines are able to do both sewing and quilting on the same machine. Longarm machines are the most technologically advanced quilting machines currently available and have become an essential for all serius quilters. The technology in these machines allow you to pick a pattern to quilt and the machine will do everything for you as opposed to you needing to trace over the quilt design yourself. Because these machines are so advanced they are considered one of the most expensive types of sewing or quilting machines that are currently available. Quilting is an overall extremely difficult and time consuming process that computer technology makes much easier and less time consuming.
Overall embroidery, sewing, and quilting are all processes that people often think of as old school or vintage but have come a long way since the arts originated. Although all of these processes can still be done by hand, the technology involving computerized machines has made the world of textiles much easier to operate and create. It has opened new doors for things to be made that were not thought to be possible prior. Compared to the way things used to be where everything was made strictly by hand, it is obvious to see the growth and development in todays day and age involving the same generalized ideas. Projects that used to take weeks or months to complete can now be done in a matter of a few hours or a few days. Computer technology in sewing has not only made the process itself much easier but much less time consuming leaving time for many other projects. Computer technology also makes for a more accurate and better put together final project due to the accuracy and math involved in carefully calculating lengths and widths of different kinds of stitching techniques. Computer technology continues to advance and grow every day and as computers advance the machines involving them will advance to make sewing, embroidery, and quilting less time consuming and overall easier hobbies or jobs to have.
Rogale, D. (1995). Garment sewing processing parameters: Determination using numerical methods and computers. proquest. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.proquest.com/docview/228195449
Sayed, A. (n.d.). Uses Of Computer In Textile And Apparel Industry. Textile Apex. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://textileapex.blogspot.com/2014/07/computers-use-in-textile-apparel.html
Stylios, G. K. (2013). Intelligent sewing systems for garment automation and robotics. ScienceDirect . Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/sewing-machines