Basic sewing machine maintenance for beginners

Landing a good sewing machine is not everything. Without proper maintenance, your machine might not last for long. If you think this kind of job should be entrusted to repair tech, I am here to tell you that doing it is one of the best ways to shorten your machine’s lifespan.

Doing maintenance on your own might sound complicated at first. However, if you know the process is made up of simple tasks that even a ten-year-old can do, you will have the motivation to do it regularly.

Always use the right needle sizes

 Many sewists I know don’t even bother to find out the right needle size for each project because they think it doesn’t make much of a difference. However, this cannot be further from the truth. Using wrong needles can put unnecessary stress on your machine, which can cause your needle to break and caught up somewhere in your machine.

Each type of fabric requires different needle sizes and if you don’t pay attention to this, the machine might either tear the fabric apart or is unable to sew through.

Check the bobbins

Your project stands or falls on how good the bobbin runs. Winding it wrong and you will see your effort becomes nothing. So first, make sure you use the right bobbin. Different sewing machine lines come with different bobbin designs. Mess up the bobbin and your machine will not run properly. Winding and loading a bobbin can be a bit tricky and time-consuming for some models. So to save yourself some time, pick a model with a bobbin that is user-friendly. Many best rated sewing machines for beginners are equipped with such bobbins. If you don’t know about the models with the best reviews, visit this website for more information. 

Cover it

This might be the easiest way to maintain your machine’s good performance, a piece of cloth, a pillowcase or if you have time, a custom-made cover. When you are not using the machine, put it away is not enough. It can be attacked by dust and debris and gets broken even if you don’t use it. Store it somewhere dry and avoid extreme heat. Keep it out of the reach of children too.

Change needle after each major project

While stitching, you want your needle to be as sharp as new to make sure everything runs smoothly. Many experienced sewists I know recommend changing the needle after every 8 to 10 hours of stitching. However, I think it doesn’t have to be that strict. You can switch to a fresh one after each major project you do.

Clean the machine

Cleaning out a solidly-built machine might look daunting and confusing at first but it is not as hard as you think it is. The hard-to-get-to parts, anything you are unable to reach without breaking the machine, should be left for the professionals. The remaining, which are the upper thread tension areas and the bobbin, are for you.

Many models have easy-to-reach bobbins, which make cleaning them less time-consuming. In fact, this feature is getting more common. Even some best inexpensive sewing machines for beginners are equipped with such bobbins. If you don’t have a deep pocket but still want a sewing machine that is easy to maintain, you might want to check this out:

Use good thread

Low-quality thread might come at a cheaper price but in the long run, it can harm your sewing machine. Avoid glazed and waxed thread altogether. It is for hand sewing only. Even when the package states that the thread can be used for both machine and hand sewing, any kind of coating is bad for your machine. Find a good sewing shop and buy from them. They do not only have a decent stock of thread but they also know a lot about which thread is good for sewing with a machine.

Stay away from canned air

You know that you have to clean your sewing machine often, but when you do, remember to avoid using canned air. Instead, use a brush to clean away dust, thread bits, and lint. Many sewing machines come with this kind of brush. If yours doesn’t, you can always buy one. If you are wondering what wrong with canned air that I recommend avoiding it, here is the answer. Canned air tends to add moisture to the sewing machine, which in turn can create lint.

Oil the machine

This is what you should do regularly to make sure your machine runs smoothly. If you don’t know where to put oil into, don’t worry, most sewing machines on the market come with a manual that will direct you thoroughly. In fact, my best first sewing machine has so good a manual that I did the job correctly at the first attempt.

Remember to dust your machine first. There is nothing worse than oiling a sewing machine that is full of dust and thread bits. This debris will mix with oil and jam your machine.

If you haven’t found yourself a good machine to start with, I found mine after reading this The Must-Read Guide To Best First Sewing Machine For Beginners Reviews And Comparison.

Find a good repair tech

If you pursue sewing, someday you will have to bring your machine to a pro for a checkup. And when you do, you want to find the right person. Even when your machine has no major problem, bringing it to a good repair tech every 2 years is recommended. If you can find a specialist on your machine’s brand, that’s good because he or she knows the machine well. However, most experienced repair techs have knowledge about other brands too.

If you have a hard time finding one, ask around. Local sewing shops and sewing groups are good places to start.

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