I’ve been working on my first real sewing project and I’ve gotten the sense that sewing machines could be simpler to use. Below, I suggest how sewing machines would be different this they were designed by computer companies particularly those companies that make inkjet printers.
Having to wind thread through the machine and thread the needle is a bit cumbersome. Having to separately fill the bobbin with thread and insert it just seems like an unnecessary complication. Ideally a single color of thread would only need to be inserted into the machine once in a single location. If the computer industry made sewing machines, instead of spools of thread we would have thread cartridges that could be inserted into the machine quickly and easily in a single location.
If you want to use a different color thread on a sewing machine, you need to remove the current thread and place the new thread in the machine using the cumbersome process outlined above. If the computer industry made sewing machines, they would be able to store multiple colors of thread and it would be easy to switch between color without opening the machine.
Of course there would also be some downsides of computer industry made sewing machines…
Currently you can buy thread anywhere and know that it will work with your sewing machine. If the computer industry made sewing machines, each machine would require different incompatible kinds of threads. Furthermore, manufactures would actively try to prevent generic thread from working with their machine through means such as authentication chips and DMCA law suites.
Currently thread essentially lasts forever. If the computer industry made sewing machines, thread would have an expiration date and machines would refuse to work with it past this expiration date. Manufactures would defend this practice by making badly supported claims about the quality of thread decreasing over time even if it’s unopened and argue they were only trying to protect customers.
Currently sewing machines are a tad expensive but thread is cheap. If the computer industry made sewing machines, thread would cost as much or more than low end sewing machines themselves. Low end sewing machines would be sold at a loss but thread would likely cost the equivalent of $30 a spool.
Currently if you run out one color of thread a sewing machine will still let you use other colors of threads. If the computer industry made sewing machines, machines would store multiple colors of thread but would refuse to work if one color was depleted, even if that color wasn’t needed. On low end machines, multiple colors of thread would sold as a single unit or cartridge, once one color was used up, the entire cartridge would need to be replaced — even if there was plenty of thread left in the other colors. On high end machines, it might be possible to replace only a single thread color. However, in both cases, the machine would refuse to sew with any color of thread until the depleted color was replaced.