Machines have revolutionized almost every industry in the world and embroidery is definitely among them. Embroidered clothe used to be only for the wealthy since it took long hours and a very skilled worker to produce beautiful designs on fabric. However, when machines came along the work could be done a lot faster and cheaper thereby allowing even the less wealthy access to embroidered clothing. It is a long-standing argument as to which is superior; hand-made embroidery or machine made ones. Supporters of hand embroidery argue each work is a piece of art and unique whereas machines simply imitate and copy the same design on hundreds of cloth pieces.
Let’s take a look at what the other side has to offer. What are the benefits of machine embroidery?
Machines can be trusted to produce exact patterns without errors and can repeatedly do this with high accuracy. Hand embroidery comes with a risk of human error even with a highly skilled craftsman. Once a design is created and fed into the machine then the machine can be trusted to reproduce the identical design for all the copies. This is extremely important for an industry or a commercial venture which has to cater to the maximum number of customers.
Machines can work much faster than humans without fatigue, both physical and mental. It can take hours to embroider a single garment by hand, but a machine can drastically cut down the time. The only time-consuming stage in machine embroidery is the creation of the design which is the only phase that involves creativity or artistry. Once that is done then it’s a swift process compared to embroidering by hand.
Embroidery used to be expensive because of the effort and hours that had to be put into making them. It took a high level of skill and a lot of time to embroider a single garment. This made embroidery very expensive and an unaffordable luxury for the economically lower classes and households where food was a priority. Machines made it much easier to produce embroidered garments in bulk which reduced the cost to the point where a lot more people were able to afford it.
Since machines are accurate, you can produce designs with perfect symmetry, which increases the aesthetic appeal and makes the work look elegant. It is also possible to see how the design is going to turn out before sewing it in. And, with machines eliminating human errors like the slip of the hand and so on, it became possible to churn out clothes that are just as good as a skilled worker much faster and cheaper.
These reasons led machine embroidery to thrive especially since a lot of people don’t want to spend large amounts of money to get their clothes embroidered by hand. Elitists claim bulk production kills the art that goes into making the beautiful patterns. However, machines are what made embroidery available to the common man and not just a luxury only for kings and the elite.