The Care and Feeding of the Sewing Machine

30 Nov

Care and Feeding of the Sewing MachineIf you’ve ever had problems with your sewing machine you know how frustrating it can be to have your project held up and your time wasted while you try to fix what you think is wrong. Here are a few tips to help you keep your machine running smoother longer.

1. If you’re having problems with your machine the best first step is to clean it, then lubricate it where needed (lint can absorb oil). Removing dust and lint from the machine may be all you need to get it working smoothly again.

2. Lint that’s built up in small areas may be removed with dental floss. Use the non-waxed kind to avoid getting wax in your machine.

3. After you’ve oiled your machine sew on some scrap fabric first. This will pick up any excess oil and help keep it from getting on your next project.

4. If you’re considering doing anything more than routine cleaning and oiling, check the manual first. Some parts of the machine are meant to be serviced only by professionals, and if you remove anything else you may void the warranty. (This isn’t an issue, of course, if the warranty has already expired.)

5. Cover your machine when you’re not using it. This will keep dust out of it – a big consideration if you live in a dry climate.

6. It’s a common practice to moisten the end of the thread when you’re getting ready to thread the needle. But some experts say this isn’t such a good idea, because it makes the thread swell, making it harder to get it through that tiny hole. Instead, try snipping the end of the thread at an angle. The “point” you create when doing this should make threading easier.


7. Does the pedal of your sewing machine “travel” across the floor as you’re using it? Try putting a piece of something rubberized, like a non-slip drawer liner or a mouse pad (with the top fabric removed), under it.

8. If the light bulb burns out let it cool before changing it (unless your machine has a special sheath designed for that purpose). This might sound like a no-brainer, but it can be frustrating to have your work interrupted and tempting to just get the change done as soon as possible. Unfortunately, your efforts to speed up the process may actually slow things down if you burn yourself trying to remove a hot bulb.

9. Regarding sewing machine bulbs: When you’re purchasing a replacement make sure you match the wattage, either by consulting the manual or by taking the old bulb with you to the store. If the wattage is too high the bulb could get too hot and melt any plastic parts nearby.

10. Use the best quality thread you can get. Cheap thread will make more lint, which will increase the chance of problems with your machine or your project and require the machine to be cleaned more frequently.

11. If your machine is computerized plug it into a surge protector rather than straight into the wall outlet. This will help eliminate major damage from electrical surges produced by thunderstorms and other less natural phenomena.

12. Be careful where you put magnets (like magnetic pin holders) if you have a computerized machine. Just like a “regular” computer, some of these machines can’t handle being too close to objects that have magnetic fields.

The sewing machine is a wonderful tool for many projects. Take good care of it and it will reward you with many years of faithful service.

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Sewing Machine


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