Are you guilty of neglecting your sewing machine maintenance duties?
I know I am. So I did some research on how to properly care for my machine. Some things should be done everyday, some on a per-project basis, and some annually. Each one is important to keep in mind, because good habits make for happy sewing results!
Day To Day
Use your cover
Prevent dust, lint, dirt and your pet’s fur from infiltrating your machine by covering it when not in use. Most machines come with a cover. If you don’t have one, you can make a pretty one out of fabric or use a pillow case.
Here are some tips on what to do if you’re tension is off or your stitches are skipping.
It’s important to remember how much work your needle does.
A bent or dull needle can result in skipped stitches, broken or looped threads, runs or pulls in your fabric or worst of all, damage to your machine.
Suggestions on when to swap needles ranges from every 8 hours to whenever you complete a project. You will also want to change your needle to match the weave and weight of your fabric.
[Image Source: La Vie En Orange]
After Big Projects
You should consistently clean your machine yourself after every extensive sewing project, when bits of thread and lint build up around the throat plate and feed dog.
- Piece of muslin
- Screw Driver
- Small Lint Brush
- Compressed Air
- Sewing Machine Oil
Step 1: Raise the presser foot to loosen tension springs, then run folded piece of muslin between tension discs to dislodge lint and loose threads.
Step 2: Remove throat place, bobbin and bobbin case.
Step 3: Use small lint brush to dust under the feed dogs, around the bobbin area.
Step 4: Spray tension discs, under feed dogs, and around bobbin areas with compressed air to remove any excess lint and thread. To avoid introducing any moisture into your machine, hold the can of compressed air so the nozzle is at least 4 inches away.
You will also want to spray with the nozzle angled away from the parts you are cleaning, so as to blow lint out rather than further into the machine.
Why not just blow with your own breath? Your breath contains moisture and will eventually cause erosion damage to your machine.
A Note On Canned Air: “Compressed” or “canned” air is actually fluorocarbon gases that are compressed into liquids. These gases are ozone safe but are potential greenhouse gases.
When using these products, you may notice the can become quite cold if used for an extensive cleaning. At this point, less gas is produced. Set the can aside and wait for it to return to room temperature.
Step 5: Follow your sewing machine’s guide to oiling your machine.
A good service person adjusts tension and timing during regular service, as well as cleaning areas of the machine that you cannot reach without taking the machine completely apart.
Do you have any other tips regarding good machine cleaning habits?