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: Line Closer, Machine Operator, Prototype Sewer, Sample Maker, Seamer, Seamstress, Sew On Operator, Sewer, Sewing Machine Operator, Zipper Machine Operator
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | 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 | Additional Information
- Monitor machine operation to detect problems such as defective stitching, breaks in thread, or machine malfunctions.
- 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.
- Guide garments or garment parts under machine needles and presser feet to sew parts together.
- Remove holding devices and finished items from machines.
- Match cloth pieces in correct sequences prior to sewing them, and verify that dye lots and patterns match.
- Fold or stretch edges or lengths of items while sewing to facilitate forming specified sections.
- Cut excess material or thread from finished products.
- Select supplies such as fasteners and thread, according to job requirements.
- Examine and measure finished articles to verify conformance to standards, using rulers.
- 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.
- Record quantities of materials processed.
- Turn knobs, screws, and dials to adjust settings of machines, according to garment styles and equipment performance.
- Attach tape, trim, appliques, or elastic to specified garments or garment parts, according to item specifications.
- Repair or alter items by adding replacement parts or missing stitches.
- Perform equipment maintenance tasks such as replacing needles, sanding rough areas of needles, or cleaning and oiling sewing machines.
- Mount attachments, such as needles, cutting blades, or pattern plates, and adjust machine guides according to specifications.
- Cut materials according to specifications, using blades, scissors, or electric knives.
- Inspect garments, and examine repair tags and markings on garments to locate defects or damage, and mark errors as necessary.
- Attach buttons, hooks, zippers, fasteners, or other accessories to fabric, using feeding hoppers or clamp holders.
- Position material or articles in clamps, templates, or hoop frames prior to automatic operation of machines.
- Draw markings or pin appliques on fabric to obtain variations in design.
- Tape or twist together thread or cord to repair breaks.
- Baste edges of material to align and temporarily secure parts for final assembly.
- Position and mark patterns on materials to prepare for sewing.
- Perform specialized or automatic sewing machine functions, such as buttonhole making or tacking.
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Awls — Sewing awls
- Bobbins or bobbin holders — Bobbins; Spindles
- Bodkin — Ball point bodkins
- Buttonhole machines — Buttonhole makers
- Domestic clothing irons — Clothes pressing irons
- Embroidery hoops — Hoop frames
- Hand clamps — Sewing clamps
- Hand sander — Hand sanding blocks
- Needle threader — Drawstring threaders
- Pattern cutting mats or boards — Cutting pads
- Rotary paper or fabric cutter — Portable electric fabric cutters; Rotary fabric cutters
- Rulers — Quilting rulers; Transparent rulers
- Seam ripper — Seam rippers
- Serrated pattern tracing wheel — Serrated pattern tracing wheels
- Sewing machine needles
- Sewing machines — Double needle sewing machines; Sergers; Single needle sewing machines; Tackers (see all 8 examples)
- Sewing patterns — Pattern plates; Seam rolls
- Shears — Scissors
- Stitch bonding machines — Stitch bonders
- Straight pins
- Tape measures — Measuring tapes
- Utility knives
No knowledge met the minimum score.
- 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.
- 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.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Detailed Work Activities
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Cut fabrics.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Feed materials or products into or through equipment.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Maneuver workpieces in equipment during production.
- Adjust fabrics or other materials during garment production.
- Compare physical characteristics of materials or products to specifications or standards.
- Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment.
- Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
- Select production input materials.
- Trim excess material from workpieces.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Operate sewing equipment.
- Inspect garments for defects, damage, or stains.
- Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
- Attach decorative or functional accessories to products.
- Record operational or production data.
- Repair textiles or apparel.
- Clean production equipment.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
- Align parts or workpieces to ensure proper assembly.
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Position patterns on equipment, materials, or workpieces.
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 84% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 71% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 38% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 50% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 36% responded “Important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “40 hours.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 34% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 31% responded “Some freedom.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 26% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 42% responded “Limited freedom.”
|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 food preparation workers, dishwashers, sewing machine operators, landscaping and groundskeeping workers, logging equipment operators, and baristas.|
|SVP Range||(Below 4.0)|
Interest code: RC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- 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.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
- 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$13.57 hourly, $28,230 annual|
|Employment (2019)||146,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||12,700|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2019-2029 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.