The Sewing Room Summer Maintenance

Now that the summer holidays are over, and the children have gone back to school, it feels as if people have turned their attention back to their sewing projects. 

Our online store has had a “run” on quilt hanger, quilt label & thread orders in the past two weeks and we kicked off our “Calendar Girl” thread of the month program with Cotton mako’ Ne 40 thread.

Cotton Mako' Ne 40 is perfect for quilting echo background designs.

So with everyone back sewing, I thought that this would be a good time to talk about getting your sewing machine ready for a new year of stitching.  I think that my machines are trusty work horses, one is more than 20 years old and the others are at least 10 years old, and all are still stitching well.

I do occasionally have them serviced by an experienced mechanic, usually only when they have an obvious problem, but I am scrupulous about cleaning the bobbin race and oiling regularly.

The needle plate & bobbin case removed so that dust & lint can be brushed out from around the bobbin race.

Take the needle/presser plate off the machine to brush out the built up lint & fluff. Modern domestic machines often come with an instruction that says that they do not require oiling.  However a cotton tip/bud dipped in some good quality sewing machine oil is the perfect tool for brushing around the bobbin race to pick up the last  little bits of lint. The thin film of oil that this leaves behind helps to keep everything running smoothly.

Most machines will have a lever or switch to allow the feed dogs to be dropped.

If it is possible to “drop” the feed dogs on the machine, then do this and clean around the bobbin race once again. Don’t forget to re-set the feed dogs once finished otherwise the fabric will not be pulled through under the foot when you start sewing.

The other maintenance item that I check regularly is the needle.  The accepted practice is that a needle should only be used for 8 hours of stitching. This is a good starting point but sometimes you will need to change the needle more frequently. Listen to the action as you stitch, if the needle is making a lot of noise it may have become blunt. Some fabrics such as batiks, battings such as cotton and projects with lots of thick seams can wear the needle point at a faster rate.

Specialist machine needles are available for quilting, embroidery & fine fabrics

In the scheme of things the cost of a new needle, or a specialist needle for a particular job, is nothing when compared to the cost of your precious sewing machine.

A little bit of preventative maintenance is always better than costly repairs.


2 Responses

  1. […] can read our hints about cleaning your sewing machine in this earlier […]

  2. […] Posted on March 11, 2011 by alwaysquilting Last month I started writing about sewing machine maintenance so this month I thought I would continue the theme by talking about adjusting the thread […]

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