Keeping your sewing machine in good working order is essential for successful sewing projects. Proper cleaning and maintenance will keep your machine running smoothly for years to come. Follow these sewing machine maintenance tips to keep your machine in tip-top shape.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain your sewing machine is clean it regularly. Remove lint and stray threads from the bobbin area, under the throat plate, and around the feed dogs. Use a small brush to dust the motor and body of the machine. Wipe down the sewing machine body with a soft cloth dampened with mild soapy water. Be sure to unplug the machine before cleaning. Regular cleaning prevents lint and dust buildup which can impede the machine’s performance.
Oil the Machine
Sewing machines need lubrication to run properly. Refer to your sewing machine manual to locate oil ports and determine how often to oil your particular model. In most cases, a few drops of sewing machine oil every 6-8 hours of stitching time is sufficient. Apply only sewing machine oil or lubricant recommended by the manufacturer, not standard household oil which could gunk up moving parts. Make sure to run the machine for a bit after oiling to distribute the oil evenly.
Replace the Needle
One of the easiest maintenance tasks is replacing the sewing machine needle regularly. Needles can become dull or get burrs which cause skipped stitches and snagged fabric. Change the needle after every 8-10 hours of sewing time. Use only needles recommended for your machine’s make and model. Always make sure needles are fully inserted and tightened properly to prevent needle breakage. Visit our shop for sewing machine needles.
Check and Replace Bobbins
Bobbins hold the underside thread in sewing machines. Lint and dust can build up on bobbins over time which can inhibit their spinning and lead to poor stitch formation. Inspect bobbins for damage or lint buildup and replace if needed. When inserting a bobbin, make sure it is positioned correctly in the bobbin case before sewing. You may need to adjust bobbin tension occasionally to achieve balanced stitching. Visit our shop for replacement bobbins.
Maintain Proper Tension
Keeping your machine’s thread tensions properly balanced is vital for quality stitching. Separate tension dials or knobs control the tautness of the upper thread and bobbin thread. Consult your sewing machine manual for how to adjust tensions. Proper tension helps prevent tangled threads, uneven stitches, and puckered seams.
Inspect and Replace Belts
If your sewing machine contains belts, inspect them periodically for damage or stretching. Loose or worn belts can impede the machine’s ability to stitch properly. Replacing old belts with new ones can restore performance. Refer to your manual for belt locations, removal, and replacement. Take care not to over-stretch belts when installing new ones.
Keep Gears Lubricated
The internal gears of a sewing machine require lubrication just like the external moving parts. Sewing machines have gear oil ports where gear lubricant can be applied periodically. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of gear oil and how often to lubricate gears. Keeping gears oiled is key for maintaining smooth mechanical operation.
Check Power Supply/Cord
It’s easy to overlook the power supply but it’s an essential component. Make sure the foot pedal or power cord is not damaged so it doesn’t pose an electrical hazard. Plug the machine directly into a wall socket, not an extension cord, to ensure sufficient power. Avoid sewing in damp conditions which could short the electrical components. Keep power cords safely out of the way when operating the machine.
Test Stitch Quality
The best way to ensure your sewing machine is adjusted properly is to test stitch a sample first. Check for skipped stitches, uneven stitch length, crooked seams, etc. Make any necessary adjustments to tension, presser foot pressure, or stitch length/width settings until sample stitching looks good. Always test stitch on a fabric scrap identical to your project fabric before beginning to sew.
Have Professional Servicing
Even with proper care, sewing machines require professional servicing or tuning up periodically. Most experts recommend professional servicing every 1-2 years depending on your usage level. A qualified sewing machine technician will clean, lubricate, adjust, and replace worn parts if needed. Visiting a sewing machine repair shop ensures your machine stays tuned up for peak performance. On the rare occasion that your old sewing machine is not salvageable we have a wide range of new sewing machines and used machines on offer at great prices from some of the leading and most popular manufacturers.
At Direct Sewing Machines, we carry out sewing machine repairs and thorough maintenance checks around London and across the UK. Consider booking your machine in for servicing to keep it running for years to come. Call 0207 738 9040 and talk to one of our team about servicing and repairs.