What is the Difference Between a Sewing Machine and an Embroidery Sewing Machine?

These machines both look alike outwardly, but if you are not keen to notice their physical features, you perceive that they perform the same purpose. But as the name suggests, the two machines have a fundamental difference: the sewing machine is designed directly to tailor products of varying complexity. Simultaneously, the embroidery sewing machine is used for artistic embroidery purposes but not designed for sewing purposes. If you want to comprehend in detail about the whole embroidery machine and sewing machine, you need to note their difference in features and the way they function.

Sewing Machine vs. Embroidery Machine

sewing machines for fabrics


Sewing machine typically is for merging two portions of cloth together or the edge of an individual portion of cloth or material by working on the drape of fabric through darting or pleating. The sewing machine’s stitching on an ornament is always aimed to be noticeable, but the main objective of sewing will always be function.

The embroidery sewing machine is generally used in a commercial setting because it can’t handle the same complexity and demand how the embroidery machine does. This is because the embroidery sewing machine is digitized to provide pre-programmed embroidery patterns on a computer while offering more options to add patterns that have been scanned or downloaded. Thus, using the hooping system to grip the fabric in place as the device works on the design.

However, the sewing machine can also be used for embroidery but for simple embroidery work, which will depend almost completely on your skill level when it comes to sewing. Most of the sewing machines have limited stitching styles and are majorly meant to sew in a straight line. Doing embroiling using a sewing machine is a challenging technique, which is referred to as free-motion embroidery. To do embroidery work on a sewing machine successfully, you need to follow the tips below;

• Lower your feed dogs
• Make sure to use the embroidery thread
• Ensure your bobbin is full, and your thread matches in thickness.
• Use an embroidery hoop
• Use a zigzag stitch



Meanwhile, the embroidery machine is meant for decorative purposes by embellishing the intricate designs and monogramming. Embroidery engages 30-40-gauge embroidery threads and a cyclic stitching method to contour patterns and loads them with color. This is done by the device built for embroidery stitching to acquire uniform stitches and save a lot of time. The sewing machine involves single stitching because it is aimed at joining two pieces of fabrics to form an outfit, but some of the modern sewing machines are capable of double stitching for overlock, bobbin and many more.

The Foot Presser

At a glance, the most obvious difference is that a sewing machine has a flat presser foot that glides on the top of the fabric as it moves along maneuvered by the hands of the sewer. In contrast, the embroidery sewing machine has a round presser foot that sits above the fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop and stops it from popping up while the machine stitches. Thus, the motion in the fabric in the embroidery hoop is determined by the design because the hoop is held by the arms that can move in all directions, back and forth, sideways, diagonally, and at any angle.

The Needle

The distinctions between the sewing machine and embroidery sewing machine’s needle are the size of the eye or the hole at the end of the needle and the scarf of the needle. Embroidery needles have a much larger eye to prevent the thread from fraying or breaking because the embroidery thread is thinner and fragile than the regular stitching thread. Thus, it should take it should treat with keenness to ensure it doesn’t break.

Furthermore, the large eye puts less strain on the thread. Hence it will not break and cause any production delays. Additionally, the embroidery sewing machine needles have a specially shaped scarf designed to put less strain on the thread. Contrarily, the sewing needle of the sewing machine is different from the embroidery sewing machine in terms of the scarf and the eye’s size.

The sewing machine has a single needle for sewing production, but sewing machine brands provide digital and industrial versions of their production. Meanwhile, the embroidery sewing machine includes numerous needles that operate as one and can change thread colors and trimming thread mechanically.

If you want to know more about the difference between embroidery machine needles and sewing machine needles, check:

>What is the Difference Between an Embroidery Machine Needle and a Sewing Machine Needle?


Mode of Operation

top rated embroidery machines

The sewing machine is simpler in their methodology; hence it is mostly operated manually and doesn’t require a lot of skill to operate. But modern sewing machines are customized and computerized for efficiency and production, thus making it easier to operate it with a little bit of skills sewing is not complicated. Contrarily, the embroidery sewing machines are more complex in their methodology and application. Digital embroidery involves picking computerized embroidery patterns with software placed inside the embroidery sewing machine’s memory banks. Thus the user has to load the device with appropriate colored threads, which can’t take more than a minute.

Therefore it will take time to understand how to maximize machine efficiency and production. However, after you have gained skills on how to operate, you will be both creative and innovative through the aesthetic construction of a product; hence, it is a cost-effective way to produce art with cutting-edge technology.


The sewing machine thread has a soft texture, long and thin to pass through the fabric rapidly, and are made from different materials, like cotton, silk rayon, polyester, wool, and different applications; darning and sewing. The embroidery thread is special in texture, which usually has a high sheen thread due to the looser twist. Embroidery threads are made from rayon and polyester, which are somehow stronger since they go in and out of the fabric several times without breaking. Besides, the embroidery threads are usually made from soft 2-ply threads, which have a higher sheen and range from 30-60 depending on the fabrics embroiling.


However, some machine sewing machines has been specialized to perform sewing and embroidery purposes by way of a removable embroidery attachment. Hence, there is no need to purchase different machines separately, which might be expensive and tiring to run simultaneously.


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It is good to know the difference between these two machines when you intend to purchase one of them, depending on their purpose. But if you have one, it is better to add one to your tailor shop to take full advantage of both machines’ capability to improve production.