A sewing machine is a machine used to stitch fabric and other materials together with thread. Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies. Since the invention of the first working sewing machine, generally considered to have been the work of Englishman Thomas Saint in 1790, the sewing machine has greatly improved the efficiency and productivity of the clothing industry.
Home sewing machines are designed for one person to sew individual items while using a single stitch type. In a modern sewing machine the fabric easily glides in and out of the machine without the inconvenience of needles and thimbles and other such tools used in hand sewing, automating the process of stitching and saving time.
Industrial sewing machines, by contrast, are larger, faster, more complex, and more varied in their size, cost, appearance, and task.
The fabric shifting mechanism may be a workguide or may be pattern-controlled (e.g., jacquard type). Some machines can create embroidery-type stitches. Some have a work holder frame. Some have a workfeeder that can move along a curved path, while others have a workfeeder with a work clamp. Needle guards, safety devices to prevent accidental needle-stick injuries, are often found on modern sewing machines.