Whether you’re an expert crafter or quilter, a clothes mender, or a costume maker, sewing machine maintenance is critical for you. You most likely rely on the device for all or a portion of your stitching work.
A sewing machine is a significant investment, and maintenance is critical. Consistent upkeep and good habits will lengthen the life of your machine and ease its use. In all, you’ll have a trouble-free device that will allow you to enjoy your projects more and remove frustrations.
Whether you have a portable or cabinet-based machine, there are basic guidelines to follow regardless of the brand or style.
D-B-O: “Dust, Brush, and Oil”!
- Dust. To help keep your machine dust-free, always keep it covered when it’s not in use. If it’s a cabinet machine, fold it away. It doesn’t take long to open and set up a sewing machine for a project. If it’s a portable machine, keep it covered to protect it, avoid accidents, and reduce dust and dirt. You will also minimize pet hair getting into the device, and prevent others from playing with your settings, bobbins, or threads.
- Brush. Gently brush the working parts of your machine and its bobbin case. Never use canned air to clear dust and bits of thread and material; this includes trying to blow them away with your breath. Always use a clean brush. Replace any brushes you do use on a regular schedule. You don’t want your brush bristles breaking off, splitting or become brittle and forcing dust and threads into your machine’s cracks and crevices.
- Oil. Always use a lubricant specifically designed for the sewing machine. This oil is readily available in fabric or craft stores. Do not use 3-in-1 oil. After oiling, run a piece of paper or a scrap cloth over the machine to clean up any drips. That way, you are sure the device is clean, avoiding ruining a project.
Other Sewing Machine Maintenance Tips
- Schedule a regular tune-up by a professional. How often you do this will depend on the amount of use and the type of sewing you are doing. Use a professional who is familiar with your brand of machine. Get a professional tune-up if: your stitches have become uneven, your sewing machine is making strange noises, has been stored unused for a while, or if you bought it second-hand.
- Build a small maintenance kit for your sewing machine, stocking it with essential items. The package should include a few spools of general-purpose sewing machine thread, extra needles of various sizes and bobbins. Working with a bent or broken needle can cause damage to the machine and your project. Add a cleaning brush, a soft cloth and an extra light bulb or two. You are ready to perform any unexpected sewing machine maintenance.
- Use good needles and threads. Using the proper needle for your machine and your project will help you avoid maintenance issues in the future. Over time and with use, needles can be bent, twisted, or broken. Threads must be suitable for sewing machines rather than hand sewing of quilting. Store your strands in a closed case. Doing so will help avoid the spools from picking up dust or small threads from projects or other materials. Also, check the thread route and tension adjustments for cleanliness and function.
- Check the power cords, especially if you have a portable sewing machine. Often in the course of setting up and putting away a mobile machine, the power cords might be knotted up, caught in the cover, leading to extra wear and tear.
- Be aware of the condition of any carrying case and the machine feet, if any. This is especially important if you move your sewing machine from one work area to another. First, check the carrying handle and latches for the cover. These must be in good condition to avoid a catastrophe if they should break or come unlatched when you move the sewing machine.
- Check all the machine feet. They should be firmly attached. Losing a foot means your machine is not going to operate in a leveled manner and might wobble back, causing wear, tear, and extra strain. If any are missing or loose, have them replaced by a professional machine repairman.
Paying attention to these fundamental maintenance issues will allow you to enjoy using your sewing machine for many years.
The Inspired Sewist has a broad selection of beautiful sewing machines for anyone, whether they’re starting or have been tailoring for years. Contact us for more information!