4 July 2011

Get the most out of your sewing machine

Top tips for sewing machines

A good sewing machine whether it's new or vintage needs some love and TLC! Here are a few tips on keeping your machine running well

  • Learn how to de-fluff your sewing machine. Use a pressurised air-can that is sold for cleaning keyboards. The fluff in the bobbin area of your machine soaks up the oil and can clog the mechanism. Doing this yourself will prolong the life of your machine, and cost you less in servicing.
  • Do get your machine serviced regularly. That clunking noise in your machine means something is out of sync! You wouldn’t dream of driving your car for ten years without a service, and like cars, sewing machines have moveable parts that need maintenance. If you don’t use it very often then every couple of years should be okay, and if you use it regularly then do every year. A service should cost around £45
  • Keep your manual handy! So many tasks you may want to do are explained in your manual, so it is an invaluable resource. If you’ve got a vintage machine with no manual, then check out this site to see if it’s there. http://www.sewingmanuals.com/
  • If you like doing a specific task like gathering, or piping, research whether or not there is a special foot for your machine that makes that task quicker. A piping foot for example gives you a perfect result each time, without you having to put as much effort in. I always buy an invisible zip foot, as I do lots of those types of zips, and the foot makes it so easy.
  • Change your needle! Many people have had the same needle in since they bought their machine. Needles on average last a continuous 8 hours only! You need to change your needle according to the fabric you’re using. A fine needle for delicates and a thicker needle for heavier fabrics. Needles are made for specific tasks, for example a denim needle is the best choice for jeans, it’s strong but has a very sharp point that will pierce the dense fabric. This is a great article on what needle to use for what fabric http://thesewingdirectory.blogspot.com/2010/09/n-is-for-needle.html
  • Needles and pins are one area that buying cheap means you pay twice. I always use Schmetz, or Gros-Beckert needles which are German and very high quality. For hand sewing I usually use John James which are British steel, or Milward needles. For pins I use a longer, finer good quality brand like Prym.