Caring For Your Sewing Machine

Cleaning and caring for your sewing machine adds years to its service while reducing unnecessary frustration for you. Whether you’re repairing an old machine or starting with a brand new one, there are a few basics you should know to keep your sewing machine in good condition.

Keep Your Sewing Machine Covered

This may not be explicitly mentioned in your sewing machine manual but using a dust cover is sewing machine maintenance tip number one! An experienced sewist once said, “Dust and sewing machine success do not go hand in hand”.

Just think of how quickly the rest of your sewing room gets dusty. Then add the fine fibres left after cutting out your pattern pieces and the lint build-up when you get going. All that can cause dirty snarl-ups when you can least afford it. Protect your cables and presser foot too by popping them inside the cavity of your sewing machine before you close up.

Change Needles Regularly

Picture it: you are sewing away when you start noticing loopy threads, skipped stitches, or pulls in your fabric. If this happens, ask yourself when last you changed the sewing needle on your machine?

All the friction your needles encounter as they move through different types of fabric dulls them over time. If you can keep track, replace needles after every eight hours of sewing. Alternatively, use a new needle for each of your sewing projects. It is also important to purchase the right type of needle for the fabric being used, for example, denim or leather, and not only Schmetz Universal 80/12!

If your foot or needle are somewhat loose, you sew over a pin, or the needle plate is lifted, a bent or broken needle will result. Change to a new sewing machine needle as soon as that occurs.

Find an Experienced Professional to Repair Your Machine

Annual servicing is recommended to keep your investment in tip-top condition. While you can do it yourself with the guidance of the manufacturer’s manuals, using professionals is a surer solution to tweaking tension and timing, cleaning more thoroughly, and fixing any specific issues you are experiencing.

Clean One Part of the Machine at a Time

Between yearly services, ensure the longevity of your sewing machine by keeping its insides meticulously clean. But avoid going down the rabbit hole of deconstructing the whole thing at once. Rather, focus on one moving part at a time.

Compressed air is sometimes suggested to clear lint and bits of thread from your bobbin case, around the tension dials, and under the feed dogs. However, because the canned air is so cold, moisture (in the form of condensation) can cause rust. Rather use a lint brush. (Bonus tip: quality sewing thread, like Gutermann, is well worth its higher price.)

Only use the sewing machine oil approved for your machine. Gently tighten any screws that you may have had to remove.

Wipe Down the Machine After Each Use

The simplest care of your machine is to wipe down its exterior with a soft cloth. If, at a push, you can’t find a rag, use one of the many scraps of fabric no doubt lying around. Happy sewing!

Now that you have instructions on caring for your sewing machine, contact the team at Empisal to advise you on the best sewing machine to suit your needs.