Recently updated on April 5th, 2023
Poor maintenance is the most common cause of sewing machine problems. When you neglect your sewing machine, it won’t work correctly. You’re likely to spend hours trying to fix something that could’ve been avoided with just a little attention.
Do you love sewing as much as we do? Are you sick of buying new machines every few years because they wear out after a year?
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve bought a new sewing machine. There will always be something else that needs fixing. And even though you may not realize it, you probably already have a sewing machine maintenance plan.
Most plans assume that you won’t maintain your machine correctly. But most programs are full of holes and don’t work very well. But with these 10 tips, you’ll never have to worry about replacing your machine again.
We will share our top 10 tips for maintaining your sewing machine so you can enjoy it for years.
Maintain a Cool and Dry Sewing Machine
Your sewing machine needs protection against heat, moisture, dust, and dirt. It could become clogged with threads, needles, fabric remnants, and thread ends if stored improperly. This can damage the machine’s mechanism, including the motor, bobbin winder, needle bar, feed dogs, etc.
If you choose to store your sewing machine in a garage, keep it in a cool, dry place where there is no humidity. Avoid storing it near radiators or heating vents. A good rule of thumb is to never put your sewing machine in the same spot where you keep your tools, such as screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, saw blades, etc.
A sewing room or closet works well because it provides enough space for storage without being too hot or humid. Ensure your sewing machine is free from dust, lint, and oils. Clean the area around the machine regularly. Please keep it away from pets, children, and animals.
You can purchase protective covers for your sewing machine. These coverings provide extra protection for the machine. They also help reduce the dust and debris that accumulates inside the machine. Some covers even include built-in fans that circulate air throughout the machine.
Use a Surge Protector
Never plug your sewing machine directly onto an electrical outlet. This could cause a short circuit and destroy your machine.
A power surge can permanently damage your sewing machine’s capacitor bank. Capacitor banks store energy and provide current during periods of high demand. When you’re done sewing, shut off the machine and turn it off completely. Don’t just pull out the plug because there’s no way to know when another surge might come along.
Buy a surge protector to protect against surges. You can find one at most department stores and online retailers like Amazon.com.
If you can’t use a protector, at least unload your machine when it’s not being used. Your machine needs to cool down and won’t work properly if it stays plugged in for a while running.
Make Sure Your Sewing Machine is Regularly Cleaned and Oiled
Lint and dust build up inside your bobbin case and take-up lever, as well as around the needle plate. These things are easy to overlook, but keeping them clean is important because they affect how your sewing machine works and what it does. If you don’t regularly clean and lubricate your sewing machine, you could end up having problems down the road.
For example, some machines have special brushes designed to reach tight places, like under the needle plate. Others use a cleaning solution. And some models have special tools that let you quickly access hard-to-reach areas like the bobbin case. Follow the instructions in your user guide to clean your machine.
You should always check your owner’s manual before attempting to clean your machine yourself. Some machines require specific steps, while others say to wipe off any excess lint and dust. In addition, make sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations about how often to clean your machine.
In addition to cleaning, you should also lubricate your machine after each project. This helps prevent friction and wear on the internal parts. Again, the manufacturer’s instructions tell you how often to lubricate your machine. But if you want to be extra careful, you can always add a drop or two of sewing machine oil to the area where the belt runs. This will help keep everything running smoothly.
Sewing Needles Should be Changed Every Six to Eight Hours
Needles are one of the essential tools in your sewing kit. They’re what make up the holes in your fabric and keep your threads moving smoothly. But just like anything else, they wear down over time. If you don’t replace your sewing machine needles regularly, you’ll skip stitches or have uneven edges. To avoid this, check your needle frequently and return it as soon as it gets dull.
Don’t Sew Over Pins
Needlework expert Susan M. Brown says she always gets asked about sewing over pins. She tells us how to avoid getting stuck while sewing.
Stitch length may be messed up, timing can be thrown off, and needle alignment may be affected if your needle strikes a pin while you are sewing. You don’t want to do anything with your needle except pass it through the fabric and let it come out the other side.
Brown recommends taking the pins out of the fabric just before you put your needle down into the material. This way, there won’t be any stray pins left behind when you start stitching again.
Don’t Pull the Fabric While Sewing
Your sewing machines have feed dogs that pull your fabrics smoothly and evenly through the machine. But if you pull on your fabric while you sew, you can put undue stress on your machine, causing it to skip stitches and make uneven seams. This could lead to puckering and skipped stitches, which can cause holes in your finished product.
Your sewing machine may benefit from a walking foot attachment if you sew through thick fabrics or multiple layers. A walking foot helps keep your fabric moving smoothly as you stitch, making it easier to avoid skipping stitches.
Use High-Quality Thread
If you are a beginner sewist, it might seem like there is no difference between cheap and expensive threads. But there is a big difference. Cheap threads often come in large bags of 50 yards, while premium brands are sold in smaller quantities. If you buy a bag of 50 yards, chances are you won’t use half of it, so you end up throwing away money. Purchasing small amounts of the good-quality thread makes sense.
You don’t want to waste time figuring out how to thread your machine. You want to make sure that everything goes smoothly. So always choose the best quality thread for your needs.
Make Sure Your Bobbin Thread is Pulled Up Before You Begin Sewing
Stitches in your fabric are formed by the upper and bobbin threads. This video explains how to keep your bobbin thread wound around the bobbin case while your upper thread is pulled out of the bobbin case and fed through the needle. If you don’t do this, your stitch won’t come out cleanly.
Your Sewing Machine’s Tension Should be Adjusted Every Time You Begin a Project
For smooth, even stitching, fabrics of different thicknesses require different tension. If you are starting a new project, check your tension settings. Too low, and your stitches won’t be tight enough. Adjusting the high tension could cause your fabric to pile up under the needle.
Before sewing on new fabrics, ensure you’ve adjusted the tension on your sewing machines correctly. Most machines come with a tension knob, but some newer models have a dial instead. Check yours carefully and set the correct level. Don’t worry about getting the exact number; you’ll learn how to read the numbers later. Just know that you want to see nothing on either side of your material. This indicates the proper tension setting.
If you’re having trouble reading the numbers, try turning off the bobbin thread and pressing firmly on the bobbin plate. Then turn the power back on and observe what happens. If there is still no movement, you might need to loosen the tension screw on the bobbin case, which adjusts the distance between the feed dogs and the needle.
It Is Recommended To Have a Tune-Up Every One to Two Years
Even with proper care, you probably shouldn’t wait too long before taking your sewing machine to a local repair shop. It’s recommended that you do so every one to two years. This way, you can prevent many costly repairs down the road. Here are some things to consider when scheduling your next sewing machine tune-up.
- Check Your Needle Plate – Your needle plate is where your thread goes through the fabric. If it starts getting worn, it could cause your stitches to break. Pull up the bobbin case to check yours and see if anything is sticking out. If there isn’t, ensure you’re putting enough tension on your presser foot. If something is poking out, try adjusting your stitch length or feed dogs.
- Clean Out Your Pockets – If you’re having trouble stitching straight lines, your pockets might be clogged. Make sure you’ve removed everything from your bags before trying again. Also, ensure you’re not pulling threads off your fabric while working.
- Adjust Your Timing Belt – The timing belt keeps your motor running smoothly. If you notice any unusual noises coming from your machine, it’s best to bring it in for a tune-up. A broken timing belt can damage your motor, so don’t hesitate to call a professional.
In conclusion, maintaining your sewing machine is easy, especially if you follow these simple steps. First, clean the machine regularly using a brush attachment. Then, use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the needle plate area. Finally, lubricate the parts that frequently move with light oil, such as sewing machine oil. These three steps will keep your machine working smoothly for years to come.
Now that you know how to maintain your sewing machine, you can focus on learning how to sew! And, of course, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Embroidery Machines article, too.