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Summary Report for:
51-6031.00 - 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Bartacker, Computer Stitcher, Cord Sewer, Line Closer, Overcaster, Peak Maker, Sample Maker, Seamstress, Sewer, Sewing Machine Operator

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings

Tasks

  • Monitor machine operation to detect problems such as defective stitching, breaks in thread, or machine malfunctions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Position items under needles, using marks on machines, clamps, templates, or cloth as guides. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Place spools of thread, cord, or other materials on spindles, insert bobbins, and thread ends through machine guides and components. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Match cloth pieces in correct sequences prior to sewing them, and verify that dye lots and patterns match. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Guide garments or garment parts under machine needles and presser feet to sew parts together. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Start and operate or tend machines, such as single or double needle serging and flat-bed felling machines, to automatically join, reinforce, or decorate material or articles. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Record quantities of materials processed. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inspect garments, and examine repair tags and markings on garments to locate defects or damage, and mark errors as necessary. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Select supplies such as fasteners and thread, according to job requirements. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Mount attachments, such as needles, cutting blades, or pattern plates, and adjust machine guides according to specifications. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Cut excess material or thread from finished products. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Fold or stretch edges or lengths of items while sewing to facilitate forming specified sections. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform equipment maintenance tasks such as replacing needles, sanding rough areas of needles, or cleaning and oiling sewing machines. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Examine and measure finished articles to verify conformance to standards, using rulers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Turn knobs, screws, and dials to adjust settings of machines, according to garment styles and equipment performance. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Repair or alter items by adding replacement parts or missing stitches. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Cut materials according to specifications, using blades, scissors, or electric knives. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Remove holding devices and finished items from machines. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Position and mark patterns on materials to prepare for sewing. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Position material or articles in clamps, templates, or hoop frames prior to automatic operation of machines. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Attach tape, trim, appliques, or elastic to specified garments or garment parts, according to item specifications. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Perform specialized or automatic sewing machine functions, such as buttonhole making or tacking. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Attach buttons, hooks, zippers, fasteners, or other accessories to fabric, using feeding hoppers or clamp holders. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Baste edges of material to align and temporarily secure parts for final assembly. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Tape or twist together thread or cord to repair breaks. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Draw markings or pin appliques on fabric to obtain variations in design. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Awls — Sewing awls See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bobbins or bobbin holders — Bobbins; Spindles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bodkin — Ball point bodkins See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Buttonhole machines — Buttonhole makers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Domestic clothing irons — Clothes pressing irons See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Embroidery hoops — Hoop frames See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hand clamps — Sewing clamps See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hand sander — Hand sanding blocks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Needle threader — Drawstring threaders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pattern cutting mats or boards — Cutting pads See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rotary paper or fabric cutter — Portable electric fabric cutters; Rotary fabric cutters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rulers — Quilting rulers; Transparent rulers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Seam ripper — Seam rippers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Serrated pattern tracing wheel — Serrated pattern tracing wheels See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sewing machine needles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sewing machines — Double needle sewing machines; Sergers; Single needle sewing machines; Tackers (see all 8 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sewing patterns — Pattern plates; Seam rolls See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Shears — Scissors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Stitch bonding machines — Stitch bonders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Straight pins See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tape measures — Measuring tapes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Utility knives See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Electronic mail software — Email software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

No knowledge met the minimum score.

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Skills

  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles). See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Remove products or workpieces from production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Select production input materials. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Align parts or workpieces to ensure proper assembly. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Trim excess material from workpieces. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate sewing equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Record operational or production data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Cut fabrics. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Load materials into production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Adjust fabrics or other materials during garment production. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Clean production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Feed materials or products into or through equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Replace worn equipment components. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Position patterns on equipment, materials, or workpieces. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Attach decorative or functional accessories to products. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Repair textiles or apparel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maneuver workpieces in equipment during production. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Compare physical characteristics of materials or products to specifications or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspect garments for defects, damage, or stains. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 85% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 54% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 48% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 76% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 54% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 57% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 38% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 36% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 38% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 38% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 28% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 33% responded “Limited freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 50% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 31% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed
Education Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Related Experience Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.
Job Zone Examples These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter and rental clerks, nonfarm animal caretakers, continuous mining machine operators, and waiters/waitresses.
SVP Range (Below 4.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
74   Less than high school diploma
12   High school diploma or equivalent Help
9   Some college, no degree

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: RC

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $10.54 hourly, $21,920 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 161,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 7,700
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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