Have you ever been in a store that treats you like a friend even when you never buy anything? That is my experience with my local Bernina shop. I stop by the shop to swoon over all the amazing fabrics and machines and even though I hardly purchase anything, the ladies there always make me feel welcome. They know me by name and offer to play with my children (and they really do entertain them!) so I can browse their amazing collection of fabrics. They let me know when they receive more knits (my fav!), and one time they gave a $10 gift card for email subscribers!
I’ve particularly gotten to know Cindy through the movie nights hosted by the shop, as well as a t-shirt class she taught. I knew Cindy would be the perfect person to ask about this topic – she works for Bernina and has been sewing and teaching for a long time. And, just like she is when I’m in the shop, she’s more than willing to go the extra mile to share with all of you about how to take care of your machine.
Hey, this is Cindy Hampton bringing you information on maintenance and tips on your sewing machine. I currently work for Bernina Sewing Etc. in Ridgeland, MS. I have been sewing 46 years and I love to sew children’s clothes, purses, bags and home dec.
Save money by maintaining your machine
If you take care of your machine, it will take care of you! This is so true. A few simple maintenance steps will help your machine last longer and in the long run will save you money.
Here are a few things you need to do at the end of each project or once a week if you sew regularly (2 to 3 times a week):
1. Clean your machine
After turning off your machine, clean under the stitch plate (Refer to your manual if you do not know how to remove yours). Using a small lint brush, clean the underside of your stitch plate and around the feed dogs, removing any pieces of thread and lint in these areas. DO NOT use canned air to blow out your machine! This could eventually cause rust because of the condensation and can also blow lint farther into your machine as well as add moisture to your machine.
2. Oil your machine
Oil your machine often. You may need to refer to your manual for the placement and type of oil to use.
3. Change your needle
Again, do this often, not just when it breaks. Your needle should be replaced after every 4 to 6 hours of sewing time. This task is probably one of the most inexpensive parts of your project and one of the most important!
4. Carefully change thread
When changing thread , cut your thread at the top by the spool and pull it out from the needle. This saves wear and tear on your tension disks.
5. Get your machine cleaned
Take your machine in for regular cleanings. If you bought your machine from a dealer in your area, take it in to them for regular servicing and cleaning. If not, you will need to look for a local repair store. Not all stores repair all brands of machines, so you will probably need to call and ask if they service your brand of machine.
A few additional tips:
- For better sewing results use good quality thread and needles. I recommend using Schmetz or Bernina needles and Mettler or Gutermann thread.
- Match your needles to your thread. I normally use a universal or microtex/sharp needle for woven fabrics and a ball point needle (Jersey, Stretch) for knit fabric. The universal needle can go from woven to knits. I tend to use the 80/12 universal needles on my serger for most fabrics. A good rule to remember is the smaller the number of the needle (example 70/10) use on finer fabric. The bigger the number (example 90/14) use on heavier fabric. An example of heavier fabric would be denim or heavier. On thread it is the opposite. The smaller the number the thicker the thread, and the larger the number the finer the thread. (Use 100 weight on batiste and 50 weight for general sewing) I also like to use the polyester thread for my knit fabrics and the cotton threads for woven fabric. There is some great information on the Schmetz website about what needles to use on which fabrics.
Doing all of these things on a regular basis should help extend the life of your machine and over time, save you money.
Wow, I definitely struggle with maintaining my machine! I am so fearful of having a day without my sewing machine that I hesitate to take it in for maintenance. And I definitely need to clean and oil more often! What about you? Have you taken your machine in for repairs or maintenance? How do you handle the separation?
Check back tomorrow to hear how Michelle from Pretty Practical made her own cutting table!