Sewing Machine Maintenance 101
Raise your hand if you have a sewing machine or if you are considering buying one. OK, if your hand isn’t raised I’m not sure how or why you came to this site but chances are you are in the wrong place. This post is dedicated entirely to teaching you how to take care of your baby (er …umm “Machine”).
I grew up a HUSQVARNA VIKING fan. I took a class in high school where we had a class set of HUSQVARNA VIKING EMERALD 116 machines and then for my Sweet Sixteenth birthday my parents surprised me with a machine of my very own – the EMERALD 183 machine which I do still love with my whole heart!
Last year I became a Husqvarna Ambassador and now use the mother of all quilting machines – the HUSQVARNA SAPPHIRE 965Q. This machine was designed and built with quilting in mind! It has so many amazing features that make all steps of the quilting process so streamlined and easy! Updated to add: HUSQVARNA VIKING has recently released an upgraded model called DESIGNER BRILLIANCE 75Q
I am hoping by now you might have caught on to the fact that I am OBSESSED with my sewing machines and, therefore, want to take the best care of them possible!
If you’ve never even heard of the basics of how to take care of a machine – this post is for you! My first couple years of sewing I didn’t even know how to remove my throat plate to clean under it so NO SHAME here if you’ve never done that either. (& today is your lucky day, time to dive in and find alllll that lint that has been building up).
Here are a few BASICS of MUST-DO cleaning tips to ensure a long & creative life for your machine:
- CLEAN it often. I tend to clean mine at least once a week, if I am being honest. I have met people who clean their machines daily and I’ve met some that clean them a lot less often but the key here is to do it as often as you can. For your specific machine, you need to find the owner’s manual and learn how to take the throat plate off. The Emerald machine requires using a screwdriver to get it off (hence why I did not know I could even do that for literally YEARS); and my Sapphire machine throat plate pops off if I pry underneath it with my screwdriver – shown in photo below.
- Once you’ve gotten the throat plate up, there are a couple things you can do to get all the dust out. Some people use the little brush that came with your machine. My mother always uses a little looped piece of pipe-cleaner (be careful not to scratch with the pointy part) and I recently even purchased some tiny vacuum attachments so I can vacuum all the dust out of the machine. The main No-NO is that you should never use canned air to clear out the dust. Forcing air into the machine can actually push the dust and lint particles into the machine motor and cause some major issues.
- Another key part of machine maintenance is to be sure to change your needle often. Keeping a sharp needle on your machine will prevent breaks and also make sure your machine isn’t working harder than it has to to get your stitches perfect. For me, the second my machine starts sounding or acting funny I immediately change the needle.
- Lastly, make sure you use good quality thread that your machine likes. If you notice your thread breaking or a lot of lint after a short time between cleanings, try switching out your thread brand to notice differences.
While we all want to sew perfectly straight lines with evenly spaced stitches forever and ever, I bet everyone reading this has experienced some sewing WOES at some point or another. What do you do when your thread keeps snapping? Why is my tension all kinds of crazy? What the heck is going on with my bobbin!?
Have you ever just been so frustrated with a machine that you just pack up for the day and come back later when you have more patience? Well, I am hoping these pointers may help clear up some of the confusion and provide many more happy hours in the sewing room (or, like many, the dining room table).
I also want to remind you to READ YOUR OWNERS MANUAL. If your machine is old and you have misplaced the manual, there is a good chance you can locate a PDF version online with a quick google search.
Happy Sewing, Friends!