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Young female tailor using a sewing machine

Skipped stitches? Puckered seams? Cathey’s Sewing and Vacuum has the answers. A sewing machine is a lot like a good friendship. Be there for it when it needs you, and it will last for years. Ignore it in favor of other responsibilities, and it can get a bit … cranky. Learn what you can do at home to keep your Brother or Bernina running smoothly between regular tune-ups.

Practice Prevention in Your Sewing Routine

The best sewing machine maintenance begins with prevention. Sometimes, knowing what not to do is just as important as doing the right thing.

  • Stay away from canned air as a cleaning tool, because it can pump moisture into the depths of your machine.
  • Don’t use low-quality thread that generates unnecessary dust and fluff.
  • Use the right needle for the project and change to a new needle after every ten hours of sewing.
  • Read your sewing machine manual before performing any maintenance. Use only the tools and supplies suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Keep a good maintenance shop on speed-dial for those repairs best performed by a pro.
  • Take your machine in periodically for a professional tune-up.

Woman runs blue fabric through a sewing machine

Gather Your Maintenance Supplies

You’ll need soft, nylon brushes of varying sizes to help you get into small spaces such as feed dogs. Extra points if your brushes have slim, metal handles that you can bend and manipulate with ease.

Next, make sure to purchase actual sewing machine oil as opposed to all-purpose oil or lubricant. This oil is crystal clear and won’t leave behind colored residue to stain arts and crafts projects.

Purchase a pack of chenille stems, or pipe cleaners. On some models of machine, these are great for running gently between the tension plates when the presser foot is in the up position to remove lint and debris.

Clean Your Sewing Machine

Remove the needle, presser foot, stitch plate and bobbin case, and give each piece a gentle brushing. Then turn your attention to the bobbin case and surrounding area. Always clean before oiling, and never use more than a single drop of oil for any areas that need it. Once all dust and lint has been alleviated, place a single drop of oil on the shelf beneath the bobbin case to keep this moving part working properly.

Older machines may have ports or holes along the body of the machine where it’s safe to place just a single drop of oil. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions if you’re not sure where the oil goes.

Gently run the chenille stem between the tension plates. Cleaning lint and debris from this area will help keep your stitches nice and even. This is especially important if you use your sewing machine to fashion clothing.

A young blonde works on a sewing machine

If you need help in maintaining your local sewing machine, whether you own a mechanical, electronic or specialty model, Cathey’s Sewing and Vacuum offers complete service and repair, and your estimate is always free. Stop in and see us today in Oro Valley, Tucson, or Sahuarita.

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