Slant-needle sewing machines used to be all the rage, and it's easy to see why: being able to see what you're sewing better is great.

But nobody makes them anymore. Instead, most modern machines have a big chunky arm hanging right over your work area, forcing you to bend your neck down to see. Why is that? Were there problems with the slanted design? Which?

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    I never knew about these - very interesting! A few pages on google claim they are not good for heavy fabrics, as the needle may deflect or break due to the slant. Maybe the "general-purpose" machines won out since they could handle heavier material? That's just speculation, though.
    – user812786
    Dec 2, 2016 at 17:22
  • Also the modern Singer 14SH654 serger is listed as having a "slant needle bar". Kinda hard to see in the pictures.
    – user812786
    Dec 2, 2016 at 17:29
  • Meta consensus seems that this is on-topic, so I'm looking forward to seeing answers about it.
    – Erica
    Dec 4, 2016 at 18:51
  • I think the meta is wrong. The only way this can be definitively answered is from someone at the companies that used the make the machines. Otherwise it is just speculation.
    – rebusB
    Dec 5, 2016 at 20:30
  • I disagree. In my experience working at a mega consumer products company, no individual company will admit defeat, i.e., say that their product didn't work well, didn't produce enough profit, didn't meet consumer needs. The best perspectives come from people who can take the long view across an industry, incorporating manufacturers' and consumers' experiences, as well as being able to describe the effects of changing technologies and consumer behavior on a specific industry. That person may have worked for a specific company, but it will not likely be an official corporate spokesperson.
    – user1798
    Oct 2, 2017 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


I wasn't able to find any definitive answer as to why the company stopped making slant shank machines. However, I was able to come up with a logical answer.

Answer: I can only assume its due to production costs. Many sewing machines today come out of the same manufacturing plants. It just makes it easier for all the domestic machines to be on the same low shank, Snap-On presser foot system.

After World War II, the US started accepting mass imports of cheap sewing machines from Japan. This created stiff competition between Japanese producers and American ones like Singer.

Singers' response was to differentiate their expensive sewing machines from the cheaper Japanese imports with the slant shank system, which was patented in 1951. They also made their product unique by using aluminum to lighten the weight of their machines (this also made production costs cheaper).

From there, it was a downward spiral because Singer just could not compete with the cheaper prices of Japanese imports. They too started using Japanese manufacturers and this was the beginning of the end for slant shank.

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    Hi! Thanks so much for your answer. As a note, I've removed your link to the Japanese sewing site for a couple of reasons. First, please avoid using shortened URLs. We don't really have a character limit here and obscuring the site URL can make your post look like spam. Second, we require links to be directly supportive of posts. You're more than welcome to use specific off-site content to support your answer but the link must relate to the answer rather than be a non-specific "here's more general sewing info" link. Thanks again and welcome to the site!
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2018 at 0:54

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