As with any piece of technology, a sewing machine requires regular care and maintenance. How much maintenance you need to perform, however, is often determined by how much care you give your machine, both after every use and after every large project. A little TLC can go a long way to making sure that your sewing machine will keep working for you, and making sure that you won’t have to put it in for expensive and time consuming repairs.
During and after every session with the machine, there are a few things you can do that will contribute to your machine’s longevity. Make sure that your bobbins are taken care of, meaning that they are the correct model for your machine and are loaded and winded properly. Your needle should also match the job you’re doing, with needles that are too small or large liable to put stress on the machine. The last thing you want is to have to dig a broken needle out of it!
The most simple way you can care for your machine is to cover it when it’s not in use. As long as it is free from debris and dust, it doesn’t matter what you drape over it!
After every project, be sure to change your needle to ensure everything continues to run smoothly. Some would advocate swapping out for a fresh needle even more often than that, but at the very minimum, practicing keeping your needles sharp after every project will make your sewing that much smoother.
The other task you should do after every project is cleaning out the parts of your machine that are easily accessible. Luckily, anything deeper into the machine is better left to a repair expert – cleaning the easily reachable parts (such as the bobbin area) is enough to maintain the quality of your sewing machine.
To clean out your bobbin, you won’t need much more than a pair of tweezers and a tiny but ideally solid brush. Your machine’s manual can tell you how often sewing machine oil is needed, so be sure to use some if necessary. Start by removing the bobbin and its case, along with the needle, throat plate and presser foot. Some throat plates may just pop out, but you may need a screwdriver on some models.
From there, it’s as simple as brushing out what lint and dust you can reach with you brush. The key word here is ‘out’ – make sure you aren’t pushing anything back into the bowels of your machine accidentally. You may be tempted to blow off dust, but resist the urge, as this too could push lint further into the machine, and your breathe may condensate on delicate machine parts. Tweezers here can help you to get lint in hard to reach places.
Oiling your bobbin, if needed, isn’t difficult either. In most cases (check your manual!) you’ll just need to apply a small amount of oil using muslin to rub it in. Err on the side of too little more often than a lot all at once, and make sure the oil is evenly distributed.
If you follow these practices, you’ll find that your machine will hold up longer and function even more smoothly on a day-to-day basis. The best part is that none of these things are difficult to remember or do, so start making them habits!