Industrial sewing machine attachments

industrial_sewing_binder_attachment_folder1[edited 12/5/14] Industrial sewing machine attachments are doo-hickeys you attach to an industrial sewing machine in order to render professional seam effects and finishes. By way of explanation, here’s an example from a previous entry on F-I:

…Carol’s been asking for pictures of a folder that’d be used on an industrial machine to form this seam. Atlanta Attachment Company is the place to go for that sort of thing. New York Sewing Machines is the other major supplier (their catalog is very quaint and vintage, quite lovely). Oh, and I should mention that while “folder” and “binder” are not necessarily the same thing, we often use the terms interchangeably (even suppliers do). For example, these attachments are known as binders rather than folders but ATT’s file name for the photo I snagged is folder-199-E. I don’t know why we worry so much about you not knowing the names of things if we can’t figure it out ourselves. [At right] are two photos (courtesy of Atlanta Attachment). The first is a schematic of the seam and the second is the binder.

I meant to follow up on this because the ATT site has process charts for given products. By that I mean that they’ve taken a product, listed each seam in a table, and cross referenced the given attachment (binder or folder) that forms that seam. If you have my book, see pages 125-132 (Production Sewing 101, Sewing Organization and Sewing Theory). The charts look something like the forms I provided on pgs 138-9 but their’s lists the given folders used for that seam process. Here’s an excerpt that I modified from the site:


One caveat; they didn’t list the seams according to sewing order (!). I think they need to re-do that. I don’t know who designed these forms but I doubt it was a production person. I think a production person would have instinctively listed the seams according to sewing order.

They have charts for all different kinds of products. I recommend starting from this page to select the product type most similar to yours. Once you get the attachment number, there are three things you can do (I recommend you do the third). First you can see if it’s listed on the Automatic Workstations page. This means you need an expensive piece of equipment -a whole workstation- rather than something you screw onto the needle bar or throat plate. If it’s not on that page (hopefully not), you can try looking it up on the Attachments page. Another place to look is the manual attachments page (aka “folders”).

Recently the site was overhauled and each attachment on each page is a hyperlink to get more information including pictures and pictographs. They have not yet hyperlinked all of the attachments and folders from the process pages (illustrated with the shirt above). As far as apparel sites go, this one is not bad at all. Oh, and speaking of attachment web sites, New York Sewing Machine now has their catalog online (pdf, 272 pgs) but you can also get one on CD by calling 800-225-2852 or 212-532-2163.

On a related note, if you’re diffident about industrial sewing machines, you might want to start with Industrial sewing machines followed by part two, the latter was written by Gigi Louis. Gigi learned about industrials the hard way; she started out as a home sewer so she really understands equipment from the perspective of a newcomer.

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  1. Mike C says:

    We bought some attachments/equipment from AAC when we first got started. The results were mixed.

    The binder/folder that we bought to allow us to apply binding works fabulously. That device is without doubt the single biggest labor saver we’ve ever had.

    Their hemming attachment was a disappointment. Our stitchers found it easier to get good results without the attachment than with. That was especially surprising because they had samples of our fabric and knew what machine we were using before crafting the attachment.

    We also had them put together a semi-automated waistband elastic attachment device for us which was even worse than worthless. You couldn’t physically place it on our machine (which was one of several machines they recommended to us) given the dimensions of the device and the machine. Even when sort-of-kind-of jury-rigged, it didn’t work with our materials. They claim it was custom made for us so they wouldn’t take it back.

    To this day, its still sitting in a box in a corner of our warehouse.

    Outside of basic attachments, I wouldn’t buy anything from them in the future unless I could actually see it operational in their facility using the same gear and materials we’d be using.

  2. Esther says:

    Mike, what kind of hemming are you attempting? Perhaps someone here could make a recommendation… I haved used various hemmers – they are labor saving . Not to mention they reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.

  3. Judith says:

    Oh, Gigi I need you as my new best friend!!! I know almost nothing about sewing machines. What I did know, I learned over 26yrs ago and have forgotten. I would like to know about industrial sewing machines. I have a chance to buy a consew 199R model new for $1,100.00. I dont know if this is a good machine or if it is a good deal or not. If anyone has any advice please let me know. I have read Kathleens book.

  4. Jill says:

    Wow great post. I recently bought my first industrial machine, a used one but it runs fabulously! I will never go back to a home sewing machine again. I bought a Juki 555 straight stitch machine for around $400, it’s probably from the 80’s but has a new motor and sews like a dream. It doesn’t take long to get used to controlling the speed at all if anyone is worried about that.
    I also just purchased some new attachments from Japan Sewing Machine Supply Co. in Toronto. I’ll admit I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I went to his office….I had no idea they made so many different types of attachments! It was a real learning experience, I ended up getting a hemmer foot, a zipper foot and this magnetic device that helps you keep your seams straight (I don’t know if I needed that one but it seemed cool at the time)
    I’m not that informed on the different attachment companies out there but I will say that the man I bought these items from was very helpful and took the time to inform me of the different attachments I could get for my machine.
    He is a great businessman because he usually fills large orders for big companies, but also will take the time to meet with individuals like me who only want to purchase a couple of items.

  5. Mike C says:

    The things I would do differently:

    * Try less expensive attachment options. There are premade attachments for most of the common industrial machine types. Our local shop carries them and many can also be found on ebay. They can be had for less than $50 and often will do the trick. I wouldn’t have a custom made AAC device until I was sure a generic wouldn’t do the trick.

    * On more sophisticated projects than just an attachment, I would only buy a complete unit. With the waistband attacher, we bought that unit from them and a machine they recommended from another source. AAC will sell you everything and that’s the only way I’d buy in the future.

    * For anything remotely expensive, I’d put either myself or Amy on a place and go see the set up work first hand, with our materials, doing exactly our operations.

    * I’d try to convince my local industrial sewing machine shop to turnkey the solution for me. (Unfortunately, the store we use in Houston no longer offers that – they’ll help as much as they can, but they won’t take responsibility for solutions beyond basic sewing machine setups. Other shops in other cities may be different.)

    * If you see yourself doing any manufacturing inhouse, go to the upcoming SPESA show next May. As far as I know, this is the only major show left in the US where sewn products equipment manufacturers get together in expo format to show off their goods and services. Unfortunately, this show is only held once every THREE years now. If you are going to do any manufacturing, you simply MUST go to this show.

  6. Mike C says:

    Mike, what kind of hemming are you attempting? Perhaps someone here could make a recommendation… I haved used various hemmers – they are labor saving . Not to mention they reduce the strain on your hands and wrists.

    The problem we have is that the fabric is just really cantankerous. Its 4 way stretch nylon/lycra with a fairly high lycra content and won’t hold anything resembling a crease. You can sort of make the hemmer work, but it doesn’t deskill the operation like we wanted – it just transfers the skill requirement from one thing to another. Its very easy to mess up and add twist or miss the raw edge all together.

    The best we could come up with for de-skilling was to serge the raw edge and use a magnetic seam guide to mark one inch. Pre-serging adds an operation, but it drastically simplifies the hemming itself. So, we replace one error-prone operation with two reliable ones.

    We also spoke with Henderson Sewing Co about crafting a machine + attachment solution to simplify and speed up our hemming operations. The best they could come up with was a machine+attachment setup that would cost $8k and wouldn’t really de-skill the operation.

    If it would have deskilled and sped-up, we probably could have easily made a financial case over a 3 year time horizon but since it wasn’t going to be a dramatic improvement over what we had, we couldn’t.

    This is one of those cases where not having a local resource who just knows the answers kills us. I imagine that there is a solution to our problem that doesn’t cost thousands, but we don’t know the person who can just look at our setup and give us the answer.

  7. laurra says:

    Hi Mike,
    Hemmers barely work for wovens much less 4 way stretch.
    I will some times hem my knits using strips of water soluble interfacing. this stuff has some kool properties. I stitch the stip to the right side and then turn under the amount. You will have some thing to hold on to and the soluble will stababize the knit some what.

  8. Esther says:

    Mike – I could see how that would be difficult. Are you attempting a rolled hem on a single needle machine? Perhaps we should move this discussion to the forum….

  9. Richard says:

    First allow me to introduce myself to you and your company. I am Richard Batson & I am employed with Forward Industries Limited In Trinidad.
    We are interested in the Folder – 199-E which will be used in JUKI LU – 563 and I am requesting additional information.
    Please do not hesitate to contact me by email OR telephone, My contact # (868) 679 – 1452 / (868)679 – 1454.
    Thank you for your assistance.


  10. Don says:

    I’m the V.P. of Advertising at Atlanta Attachment Company. I located this blog on a google search. Thanks for the input on our website and our products. The suggestions on improvements to our site are noted and I will try to add your suggestions as mentioned in the original post.

    Please note that our website has been updated and the links you mentioned are no longer valid. Also we have a new section to the site that is dedicated to “Folders & Manual Attachments”

    This section is indexed by category.:

    Belt Loop
    Bibbing & Banding
    Book Facing /
    Collar Setting / Taping
    Cuff Setting
    Label Setting Foot
    Lap Seam
    Material Guides
    Row Cap
    Strap & Handle
    Two Tone Tucking

    When you click on the category, you will see a list of all attachments associated with that task. For example, “Belt Loop” list:

    406-3 Blindstitch Belt Loop
    406-3L Blindstitch Belt Loop
    413 Center stitch belt folder, overlap
    414 Belt and belt loop folder, butt seam
    414-1 Belt loop folder
    414-A Blindstitch belt loop folder with lining
    414-G Belt loop folder for galkin cutters

    … the # being a link to the page for that item.

    At that point, you should contact a representative to make sure this is the product for you.

    Please give us feedback as we want to make this site as easy as possible for you to find the product you need.

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