Your machine is your best friend, your companion on late night binges, and your go-to when you’re craving something new to wear or want to amp up a tired couch.
Ever feel that your machine is out to get you though? Maybe it’s needing you to just be KIND and give it a KISS, a Keep It Simple Strategy for daily maintenance. With a four little tips, you’ll be loving your machine once again!
K…now Your Needles
I know how you feel, needles are expensive and don’t last forever.
But the drawback of being penny wise and pound foolish as Momma would say, is that shortly, you’ll reap exactly what you sew…a mess of broken needles and projects not finished.
When you sacrifice quality, you sacrifice more than you bargain for with cheap, cut brand needles. Lower quality brands can have burrs and nicks that will break not just your thread, but your spirit as well when you can’t finish a project! Caveat emptor. And yes, you get what you pay for.
Change your needles after finishing a large project. A good rule is every 10-30 hours of use, or about 4-5 bobbins, depending on what material you’re using.
Use the right needle for the job. Needles that aren’t appropriate, particularly too small for the job, will break or create more lint. For a reference on needle size, refer to my blog on troubleshooting.
If your needle is bent or dull, it can’t do its job. It can also mess up your bobbin case when you’re constantly cleaning up thread bunching. A bent needle can jam. And we all know how fun THAT is to fix!
I…nsist On Good Thread
I’m not affiliated with one brand or another, but I can say that for consistentsy sake, I use Gutermann. I can’t complain about Coats either; it’s a company that has been a standard for decades. But just like needles, you’ll get what you pay for, so buyer beware.
A lesson from my own experience, while it may be tempting to buy $1 bargain bin cones of thread, it’s cheap and linty. It breaks on top which is a patience buster for me. The money I saved was completely overshadowed by the hassle factor and wasted time spent trying to make it work. Not to mention, the quality of my work suffered greatly, and that’s a price that I’m not willing to pay.
Look, nobody said sewing was inexpensive. But you can’t out in some areas, thread and needles chief among them. I mean, would you want your builder to cheap out on shingles or nails just to save a few bucks building your house? Hmmmmmmm?
I though you’d say that.
N…ever Use Canned Air
A clean machine is a happy machine, and this easy step will reward you with a big pay off. Dust out the bobbin case EVERY time you change a bobbin. Yes, EVERY TIME!
Use a stiff brush designed for your machine and send those lint leemers packing! Don’t use canned air! It’s tempting because it’s fast. But it has moisture in it and will actually create sticky lint. Ain’t got time for that! They make tiny air vacuums for computers if you don’t want to use a brush. But I’m old school, and a brush just gets where the sun don’t shine my friends.
D…on’t Forget to Lube
There’s a lot of moving parts in a sewing machine. Oiling your machine keeps it running smoother and longer. Another area not to cheap out on. Use the good stuff. It’s clear and it won’t ruin your projects. Please, no 3 in 1. It’s for small machines, but not sewing machines. And NO NO NO NO NOT W-D40!! Have mercy!
Oil is good but less is more, and less is less. You need it, but you only need a couple of drops of oil, and your sewing machine manual should tell you exactly where they go. If you don’t oil, you’ll find it doesn’t reward you with your happy place. Just don’t go lube crazy.
Be sure to clean your machine, especially the bobbin case, before you apply oil. Oil and lint do not mix. I repeat… Oil and lint do not mix. Don’t just oil Willy Billy. You can’t apply oil where it doesn’t belong, so take an extra moment to review the manual. Most are available online if you’ve lost or never had yours.
So there you have it. Four little acts of kindness for your best friend.
One final note, if your machine is not functioning well, constantly glitchy, or it’s been 5-EVER since it was last maintained, if possible, take your machine for a check-up and servicing. It usually runs about $100 for a standard tune-up, and it’s money well spent. Find a reputable dealer or service professional in your area.
Sew in Peace ☮️ my friends!