Learning the basics of sewing machine maintenance is vital for sewists of all levels of experience. A poorly maintained sewing machine can cause havoc when you're working on projects, so it's best to know what to look out for and how to avoid it.
Whether you’re mad about quilting, or determined to create a brand new wardrobe for yourself, there will inevitably come a time when you find your sewing machine isn’t functioning as well as it used to.
This blog post contains lots of information that will help you with the upkeep of your machine; the tasks are fairly simple, but extremely effective at ensuring your machine runs at its optimal level.
Preventative Measures To Ensure Your Sewing Machine Stays In Tip-Top Condition
There are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that your sewing machine stays in tip-top condition. This list of maintenance tips are all quick and easy to do, so they shouldn’t get in the way of your precious sewing time!
Only clean one part of your sewing machine at a time...
Although it may be tempting to completely dismantle your machine in order to do a thorough clean, this can very easily become confusing and turn your maintenance tasks into a stressful event. Instead of taking the machine apart completely, remove parts from one section at a time.
Change needles regularly!
Sewing machine needles go through a lot, after all, each needle has to stitch thousands of stitches. Which means, after a while, the needle on your machine will become dull. It’s important to regularly replace sewing machine needles as dull needles can lead to skipped stitches, looped threads, and potentially even cause damage to your fabric. It’s recommended by experts that you change your needle every 8 hours, or after each project you’ve completed. If you’re unsure how to change your needle, take a look at our YouTube tutorial guide: How To Change A Needle On Your Sewing Machine.
Use compressed air to clear lint build up
After each project, give your machine a good clean as thread and lint can easily build up - even if you’re using the recommended high quality thread. Using compressed air is a great way to remove lint build up from feed dogs, tension discs and the bobbin case. When using compressed air to maintain your sewing machine, ensure you keep the nozzle at least 4 inches away from the machine to avoid introducing moisture to the inside of your machine.
Oiling your sewing machine
Sewing machines have a lot of moving parts and therefore benefit from being regularly oiled, just like most other machinery. It’s important that you use only oil specifically designed for sewing machines, as other oils may stain your fabrics. Ensure the machine is clean before applying a few drops of oil to the moving parts - your user manual will give you detailed instructions on how to do this. After you've finished oiling, run a few stitches with scrap fabric to soak up any excess oil before embarking on your next sewing project.
Some sewing machines are self-lubricating, so be sure to check your user’s manual to see if oiling your machine is necessary.
Sewing Machine Repairs
It is inevitable that at some point, your machine will need repairs. Finding an experienced sewing machine specialist in your area is vital, as attempting to repair your machine yourself can make your issues even worse. It’s often the case that technicians work with particular brands of machine, so make sure to mention your machine’s brand when making enquiries. Luckily for Cornish sewists, I run the super friendly Facebook group, Stitch Sewcial, where member’s frequently share brilliant tips and tricks, as well as recommendations for various sewing machine services.
Ready to sew again?
Once you’ve finished your sewing machine maintenance, you’re ready to get sewing once more. Here at Start To Stitch, we offer several free beginner patterns that are perfect for sewists to get stuck into. Choose from our Start To Stitch Bunting, Start To Stitch Free Twist Headband, or the ever practical Start To Stitch free Face Covering pattern. You can also check out our resource library too for more patterns.
Start to Stitch Courses
Here at Start To Stitch, we are proud to offer excellent valued courses for Beginners and Intermediate sewists. In each course, you’ll learn new techniques and troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items. Both courses are held through a dedicated Facebook Group, with detailed video tutorials.
Live video support and weekly tutoring calls are also included as part of the course, meaning that support and encouragement is always only a click away.
Head to our Online Courses page for more information.
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!