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Problem Definition Statement:

An adaptive sewing machine for small business fashion designers in Bloemfontein, South Africa

POV Statements:

The User:
Fashion designers who construct their owns garments

Secondary user:
Seamstresses and garment constructors that work for a designer

A sewing machine for a small business that has for multiple applications


Designers must constantly switch between machines for different applications. The machines are uncomfortable to use. When
larger format fabric is used they have to roll it up to fit in the machine. Industrial machines are cumbersome, noisy to use.
Industrial machines are heavy and difficult to set up, especially in a small business setting.


From the interview and discussion with the different designers their needs and requirements for a sewing machine was set out.
The following requirements were listed after the interviews:
The machine must weigh less than 10 kg (Industrial machines are too heavy and cumbersome to use)
The machine must be able to handle large format fabric
The machine must be able to handle thick fabric
The machine must have a light
You must be able to secure the machine in place, when needed
The machine pedal must not move around


The ergonomics of the machine. For instance how comfortable is it to use.

How portable is the machine, can it be moved from the studio to another location
How durable is the machine. Will it stand up to heavy use?
How adjustable is the machine, will different users be able to apply it for different functions?
Is the machine multifunctional? Or in other words, does it have different stitches and fabric applications?
Does the machine have adjustable speeds?
A Thread warning function (a warning sign of an empty bobbin or that rethreading is needed.
The running time of the machine before it overheats and needs to cool down.

The idea of this project started after an informal discussion with a fashion designer and his frustration with the tools at his
disposal, especially his sewing machine. It seemed like a suitable project with enough potential design requirements and criteria
to be a suitable DeVILS project. After the initial idea I had informal interviews with 3 different fashion designers in the
Bloemfontein (RSA) area. They are all micro business with 2-3 employees and the designers also do their own garment
After an initial interview and discussion the requirements with similarities were listed. After the requirements were determined I
spoke to the users again and from this the list of criteria was developed. In order to set up an AHP table I narrowed the client or
user down to one designer. I interviewed designer A again and from this interview developed an AHP Table. The interview
process was enjoyable, but it seemed at the designers already had solutions in mind, so to limit them to the requirements only
was challenging.


AHP Table DEVILS project 1

Adjustable Speeds
Ergonomic Design


Thread Warning
Adjustable Size

Running Time


Ergonomic Design 1.00 7.00 0.14 1.00 5.00 9.00 5.00 0.20 TOTAL
28.34 0.16136 3
Portability 0.14 1.00 0.14 3.00 0.14 9.00 0.33 3.00 16.75 0.09537 5
Durability 7.00 7.00 1.00 9.00 1.00 7.00 5.00 9.00 46 0.26191 1
Adjustable 1.00 0.33 0.11 1.00 0.20 1.00 0.11 3.00 6.75 0.03843 7
Multi-Functional 0.20 7.00 1.00 5.00 1.00 9.00 3.00 9.00 35.2 0.20042 2
Adjustable Speed 0.11 0.11 0.14 1.00 0.11 1.00 0.11 0.20 2.78 0.01583 8
Running Time 0.20 3.00 0.20 9.00 0.33 9.00 1.00 5.00 27.73 0.15789 4
Thread Warning 5.00 0.33 0.11 0.33 0.11 5.00 0.20 1.00 12.08 0.06878 6
TOTAL 175.63