Sew Machine Maintenance
Now that I have the quilts sewn for magazines which will appear later this year and before I begin any new project, I will take my sewing machine in to be cleaned and oiled. We do not always think about how much we demand of our sewing machines. We expect them to run perfectly after sewing miles and miles of seams. Last year, I sewed almost 20 quilts, most of them full-sized plus dozens of other projects. I really expect a lot out of my machine!
Regular cleanings by a professional are a must, having that done on a yearly basis is a good rule of thumb. During the rest of the year, there are some simple things you can do between professional cleanings to keep your machine in tip top shape. Depending upon how much you sew will dictate how often you need to preform these simple between maintenance tasks.
Every time you empty a bobbin, take a small brush or pick and clean out all visible lint in and around the bobbin case. Make sure your machine is turned off when cleaning it.
Every 4-5 bobbins emptied, turn off your machine and take off the throat plate and bobbin case (small screw driver needed for removing the plate) and thoroughly clean with a brush and vacuum attachment the entire area. Be sure to work out any packed lint in the feed dog area.
Sewing needle manufacturers recommend changing your machine’s needle every four hours of use. OK, I admit, I do not change my machine’s needle that often! But to get better performance out of your needles take these measures:
NEVER sew over pins, this will break or bend your machine’s needle.
Use the right needle for the type of material you are sewing. Sew Mama Sew has a wonderful article about how to choose the right sewing machine needle for the type of material.
If you are needing to sew over sticky adhesive things, make sure to change your needle after that job. You shouldn’t be sewing over that stuff anyway, but hey, we all do it at least once, so just change that needle afterwards!
Thread, use good thread. I am a an advocate of good thread. It creates less lint and dust, which is great for your machine. Good thread doesn’t break as often which is great for your projects longevity too! I also think it just threads through the sewing machine needle easier too.
Other good rules to follow in keeping your sewing machine working smoothly are to not push or pull fabric while sewing. Make sure you are using your machine for it’s intended use. If your machine is not made to go through heavy denim, then don’t put it through that. Always check your manual to see if there are restrictions of use for your machine.
For added safety, I have my sewing machine on a surge protector. After all, there is a computer in there and I want to protect the machine from power surges and me from the electricity.
Cover your machine when not in use — if that ever occurs!
For more information on sewing machines as well as links to great sewing projects of all types from crafts, embroidery, fashion, home decor and quilting visit WeAllSew.com
For a more in-depth tutorial on how to clean your sewing machine, read the “Keep a Clean Machine!” by WeAllSew. This article along with their other articles are super helpful and the WeAllSew site is a great resource. I was introduced to their web site by Erika Mulvenna of BERNINA USA’s Social Media team. She contacted me about posting my Birdie Pincushion project on the WeAllSew projects page. I want to welcome all the new readers to my site brought over from that post and I want to introduce my readers to the WeAllSew site, I am sure you will enjoy it!