Whether you are constantly sitting down at your machine to sew some new creation or whether you consider yourself a dabbler in the art of sewing, the fact remains that sewing machines represent a significant investment. A well-maintained machine will last longer and perform better over years of use, and in the end, small, regular investments of time spent maintaining your machine will pay off by saving you from big, expensive repairs later. No matter how often you use your machine, there are a few simple things you should do daily, following projects, and each year to keep your number one tool of the trade in tip-top shape.
Day To Day
- Sewing machines have many entrances where dust, lint, fur, and other undesirable matter can sneak in. Covering your machine when not in use will significantly cut down on the dirt that accumulates in all the small parts. Most machines include a cover, but anything from a plastic bag to a pillowcase will work just fine.
- To avoid accidentally stitching a finger or running a light bulb out, make sure your sewing machine is always unplugged when not in use.
- Sometime in between finishing a project and beginning a new one, examine your needle, which will most likely need to be exchanged for a new one. Though there are many factors at play (type of fabric, length of time the needle has been in use, type of needle, etc.), at some point, all needles develop slight bends or become dull. By keeping an eye on your needle and changing it out regularly, you will avoid problems such as skipped stitches and hazards such as your needle shattering in the middle of sewing.
- Following a large project or several smaller projects, take the time to do a thorough cleaning of your sewing machine. Your sewing machine guide should contain information about where and how to clean, but in general, a small lint brush and soft cloth can be used throughout the machine to remove accumulated lint, dirt, thread, and oil. Compressed air can also help you clean those hard-to-reach places. Once all the nooks and crannies of your machine are clean, sewing machine oil should be applied to ensure things will continue to run smoothly.
- Once a year, take your sewing machine to an authorized dealer or repair shop and have a professional, such as J & M Vac & Sew, examine, assess, and adjust it. A professional will be able to clean and maintain parts of the machine that the average person cannot or does not know how to access. Your machine's annual check-up should include a comprehensive cleaning and oiling, as well as a tension adjustment.