A sewing machine is one of those things that you don’t want to let go of. But like most things, owning a sewing machine requires upkeep. If you’re looking to extend the life of your machine, here are some ways to keep it running smoothly.
- Clean the machine regularly. To prevent buildup, try cleaning the machine after each project. Wipe the entire machine with a damp cloth, including the needle plate, bobbin case, foot pedal, head cover, and everything else. You’ll find plenty of instructions online about what type of cleaner to use.
- Keep the machine oiled and lubricated. When opening the box, check the manual to see where to store the oil. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for keeping the oil. Most machines come with an instruction booklet with detailed information on proper storage.
- Check the tension periodically. The thread tension must be checked regularly, like the rest of your sewing machine. This is especially true if you’re using a different brand of thread. Some manufacturers recommend checking the tension weekly, others monthly. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
- Don’t overload the machine. Overloading a machine causes unnecessary wear and tear. Avoid overloading the machine by cutting fabric pieces smaller than needed. Also, avoid pulling too much material off the rollers. This can cause damage to the feed dogs and the throat plate.
- Use the correct size of presser feet. Presser’s feet stabilize fabrics as they pass under the needle. They come in many sizes, depending on the thickness of the sewn fabric. Always use the right size presser foot for the job.
- Maintain the machine motor. As mentioned above, a sewing machine uses electricity to operate. Keeping the motor well-maintained can help ensure it runs efficiently. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change the belt, filter, etc.
Keep Your Sewing Machine Covered
If you want your sewing machine to run smoothly, it needs to be stored properly. If you don’t take care of it, it could break down sooner rather than later. A dust cover protects your machine from dirt while keeping out pesky insects like spiders and ants. You can find one online or in most big box stores.
Martha Stewart recommends using new and high-quality thread whenever you sew to prevent interior lint buildup on your machine. This way, you won’t have to worry about tangled-up threads. And since you’re probably buying new threads anyway, why not buy some extra? Store your machine away where it gets dusty, such as underneath a bed, table, or chair.
The best thing you can do to keep your machine running smoothly is to unplug it every once in a while. This keeps the motor cool, which helps extend the life of your machine. Cleaning the machine inside isn’t just good maintenance; it’ll ensure everything works correctly. Use a soft cloth to wipe off the outside of your machine, including the bobbin case. Then use a dry cloth to wipe down the rest of the machine. Be careful not to let water drip into the mechanism.
Change Needles Regularly
Needle maintenance is vital because it helps keep your sewing machine running smoothly. If you don’t regularly clean out the thread catcher, you could have lint buildup inside the machine. This can cause problems like skipping stitches, pulling threads, and broken needles.
Experts recommend changing your needle every 8 hours or every time the project is completed. To do this, remove the cover plate over the needle bar, and pull the needle out. Then, turn the machine upside down and shake out the old syringe onto a piece of paper towel. Next, put the needle into the slot where you want to replace it, and push it home. Finally, reattach the cover plate and tighten the screws.
You may also need to change the needle to match the weight of the fabric you are working with. For example, if you’re making a quilt, use a heavier-weight needle; if you’re making a dress, use a lighter-weight one.
Used Compressed Air to Remove Lint
If you’ve ever worked on a sewing machine, you know how quickly lint builds up. It collects in every nook and cranny of the machine, including around the bobbin case. If left unattended, the buildup can cause severe problems like jamming threads and damaging needles. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to clean those areas without disassembling the entire machine.
Using compressed air is one of the easiest methods. Turn off the machine, open the cover and pull out the bobbin case. Then spray the inside of the issue with compressed air while holding the nozzle about 4 inches away from the point. This will blow away any debris stuck to the interior of the case. Repeat this process on each side of the bobbin case. Once you’re done, close the cover and reattach the needle.
Another method involves using a vacuum cleaner. You’ll want to use a low suction setting and a brush attachment. Start by pulling the machine apart, then suck up the lint and thread. After vacuuming the parts, put everything back together and continue working.
Finally, you can always opt for manual labor. Use a soft cloth to wipe the machine, especially the bobbin case. Remember that the bobbin case isn’t designed to withstand constant contact with the fabric. So make sure to work slowly and carefully to avoid scratching the surface.
A lot goes into keeping a sewing machine running smoothly. If you’re looking to extend your machine’s useful life, here are some things to consider.
- Make sure the needle is sharp. Dull needles cause thread breakage and uneven stitching. Replace the needle every six months.
- Check the bobbin case regularly. Look for frayed threads. Frayed threads can lead to broken stitches. If there are frayed threads, replace the issue immediately.
- Clean out the throat plate periodically. This area collects lint, dust, and debris. Lubricate the throat plate once a month.
- Keep the presser foot level. Adjust the presser foot height according to the fabric thickness being used. An improperly adjusted presser foot can cause uneven stitch formation and skipped stitches.
- Change the oil and lubricant. Use high-quality oil and grease. Do not use vegetable oil.
- Remove excess material around the feed dogs. These parts collect dirt and grime, causing jams and breakdowns.
Oiling the Machine
Like many other machines, sewing machines are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Some moving parts inside a sewing machine include belts, pulleys, shafts, gears, rollers, bearings, cams, etc. These parts require lubrication to keep them running smoothly. Most sewing machine manufacturers recommend applying sewing machine oil every three months. This ensures the proper amount of lubricant gets into the moving parts.
The best way to apply sewing machine oil is to spray it directly onto the moving parts. For example, you could spread the head bearing, feed dog, bobbin winder, needle bar, presser foot plate, and bobbin case. You can also put oil on the thread path and throat plate. If you don’t want to do this yourself, ask your local sewing shop how often to oil your machine.
Repair Your Sewing Machine With an Experienced Professional
Most people will likely need to repair their sewing machine at some point. Many things could go wrong if the needle broke off or the thread ran out. A simple trip to the store might lead you to buy another needle, but what about the rest of the parts? Should you purchase a replacement motor? Or maybe a new bobbin or presser foot? These questions can quickly become overwhelming without help.
Online is an excellent place to start looking for someone qualified to fix your machine. You’ll find plenty of reviews and recommendations for sewing shop owners, but don’t just take anyone’s word for it. Instead, look up the shop owner on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. This way, you’ll know that the person working on your machine is skilled and trustworthy.
If you still aren’t sure where to turn, ask around locally. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. They may even recommend a friend who does quality work. Once you’ve found a reputable source, follow up with a phone call to confirm that they indeed provide quality service. If you’re satisfied, you can continue shopping.
Make Sure Each Part Of The Machine Is Cleaned One By One
Every sewing machine comes with a manual. And every manual contains instructions on how to clean different parts of the machine. But once you open up the machine, it gets pretty confusing if there are screws and parts scattered around the table. So, what do you do? You pick up some tools and go to work.
But here’s the thing about sewing machines — they’re complicated equipment. A lot is going on inside each machine, and it’s easy to lose track of where things end up. You could easily damage the machine if you don’t track where everything goes.
To prevent this, work on one part at a time. Start with something simple like the bobbin winder. Then move onto the needle plate. After that, take care of the presser foot, stitch regulator, and whatever needs attention. When you finish, make sure you put those parts back into the same position you found them. This way, you won’t forget where things went.
Every Time You Use The Machine, Wipe It Down
To keep your machine clean, make sure you wipe down the machine after each use. This includes wiping off the needle plate, bobbin case, presser foot, feeding dogs, and the area around the presser foot. If you don’t do this, you could have problems like jamming needles or broken threads. You want to avoid taking apart the machine just because something went wrong.
Be sure to unplug the machine before you start cleaning it. This way, you won’t accidentally electrocute yourself while working inside the unit. Also, make sure you are wearing safety glasses or goggles.
A quick once-over with some rags and a good cleaning of the bobbin cases can go a long way toward keeping your machine running smoothly. You might even consider getting a few extra bobbins to ensure you always have enough thread for your projects.
In conclusion, proper care and maintenance of your sewing machine are essential to its longevity. This means taking the time to clean and oil it regularly, replacing worn parts, and learning how to use it properly. By following these simple steps, you’ll ensure that your machine lasts for years.
Of course, if you want to keep your machine strong for decades, you’ll also need to invest in a quality machine. Many options are available today, from affordable machines to high-end models that offer features like automatic thread cutters and built-in embroidery capabilities. Whatever model you choose, make sure you buy it from a reputable dealer who offers expert service and support.