A serious sewer should take care of their sewing machine just like a musician must take care of their instrument. After all, you use your machine to create. And how much creating can you do with a faulty instrument?
Proper maintenance means that your sewing machine will run smoother and last longer. Even if you have a basic, relatively inexpensive machine that you intend to replace as your sewing skills develop, you want your current machine to last for as long as possible.
After all, the longer it lasts, the more you will be getting for the money you spent. And when you do upgrade to a more advanced model, a used sewing machine in good condition can be passed along to someone else, or sold for some extra cash.
So how do you take proper care of a sewing machine? Here are the basics.
Read the Manual
User’s manuals and instruction guides come with our appliances for a reason. So it’s amazing how many people don’t actually take the time to read them.
Reading the manual that comes with your sewing machine is one surefire way to learn how to take care of your specific model. In fact, don’t just read the manual, study it from cover to cover. And take notes in the margins next to things that stand out as important.
Besides teaching you how to care for your machine, the manual prepares you for times when your machine might start to act up. Most users’ guides have troubleshooting sections that tell you how to handle some of the problems you might encounter. Reading that section will give you a heads up on some of the problems your machine might have, and how you can deal with them.
Lint removal is a quick and easy way to keep your sewing machine running smoothly. And it’s simple to do.
Use a lint-free cloth to clean the exterior of your sewing machine. Just take the cloth and gently run it along the outside.
Use a lint brush to remove lint from harder to reach areas, like the thread guides. Most machines come with a lint brush, so you should be covered. If your machine didn’t come with a lint brush, or you lost the one you had, a new one should be pretty affordable and easy to find.
If you have a can of compressed air lying around, you can also use that to remove some of the lint from the machine. And, if there just isn’t a lint brush or can of compressed air handy, cotton swabs will do in a pinch.
Clean your machine of lint at least once a week, depending on how much you use it. (The more you use the machine, the more cleaning it will need.) And giving the exterior a quick wipe down after every use won’t take any time at all.
Oil Your Machine
If you want your best sewing machine to run like a well-oiled machine, you need to oil it regularly.
Sewing machine oil keeps all of the parts of your machine working smoothly. It will also keep the parts from wearing out faster than they should.
Sewing machine oil is specially made to be used with sewing machines. So don’t just grab some baby oil or motor oil and think that will do the job. In fact, try to use the brand of oil recommended in your user’s guide.
The user’s guide will also show you which parts of your machine to oil, which can vary from one model to another.
After oiling your machine, run some stitches across a few pieces of scrap fabric. This will help to remove any excess oil. Better to stain some cheap fabric scraps than that expensive fabric you bought to make your daughter’s birthday dress.
Have Your Sewing Machine Serviced
As with a car, there are times when your sewing machine will require professional care. While there are some things you can do to maintain your machine, trying certain fixes yourself could do more harm than good. So it’s better to leave some things to a professional.
The user’s manual comes to the rescue once again. It will tell you exactly what you can and can’t do yourself to help maintain your machine. For example, if you find loose screws during oiling or lint removal, you’ll probably be advised not to tighten them yourself, but to take the machine to be serviced. The same is true if you find any loose or damaged wires.
Even if your machine seems to be running fine, consider having it checked out by a professional at least once a year. They can sometimes find problems you never even noticed.
A sewing machine is like an investment. And taking proper care of your sewing machine will give you the biggest return on that investment.
After all, the longer your current sewing machine lasts, the longer it will be before you have to buy a new one.