Sewing Machine Care

Take a moment to consider

all the joy and fun brought into your life by your sewing machine.

Isn’t that worth a little maintenance session?


As many of you know, my fancy new machine needs yearly maintenance which means a trip to the technician. While it’s away, I pull out a beautiful 1951 Singer Featherweight. I worked on this pretty little machine yesterday and now it purrs!

Here’s a list of things you can do to make sure your machine is in good working order!

*Check the manual. This seems like a simple step, but every machine is different. I had my Singer bobbin threaded wrong, and the needle in backwards! If you’re looking for the Singer Featherweight manual, here’s a digital copy you can bookmark or print for yourself! That brings me to a very good point. MOST machines have a manual available for free online. If you’ve looked up your specific model and not found one, you may find a copy on Etsy or Ebay.

*Start with a clean slate. Unthread your machine. Take out the bobbin. Take out the needle. Start fresh!


*Assemble some tools. The next time you go to your local big box store, look for a child’s paintbrush set, some tweezers, a small screwdriver, and sewing machine oil. You probably already own paper towels and mild cleaners for the surfaces of your machine!

*Clean. One of the most important things you can do for your lovely sewing machine is keep it free of dust. The Singer manual tells me to clean every day of use. Most experts say every 8 hours. I’ve even heard techs say that you should clean with every bobbin change. Remember the paintbrush? It’s perfect for cleaning under the bobbin, around pointy feed dogs, and anywhere delicate! Tweezers are handy for pulling out threads that may have become lodged under the bobbin case.

*Oil. You must clean your machine before you oil! Use your manual and a quality sewing machine oil (nothing else) to oil every point the manual says. Then do it again next week. =}

*Suit up. Rethread both top and bobbin according to your manual, and put in a fresh needle. (You should be changing your needle with every new project. Yes, that’s a lot!) Using a scrap or junk fabric, sew a few straight lines. It helps to use a dark colored fabric with light colored thread, or vice versa. By sewing a few lines, you’ll allow excess oil to be sewn into your scrap, NOT your project!

*Adjust your tension. Sewing machine tension is a lengthy subject. I won’t take time to teach you all the basics of tension here, but it’s worth your time to figure out how to help your machine make pretty, neat little stitches.

After you’ve done these maintenance chores, your machine should run well. So smoothly, in fact, that I’m hoping you have a project ready to start. You’ll want to sew the day away with a hassle free machine!

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