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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oiling A Sewing Machine

While you may have a sewing machine that the manufacturer advises against oiling, most domestic sewing machines do require you to clean and oil your machines on a regular basis.

How often do you oil your sewing machine?  What triggers you to add oil?

What ever your answer is, I hope your "regular cleaning and oiling" is not one that is performed every 4-6 months, or when your machine makes a noise.

Do you clean and oil your machine as part of your Spring Cleaning?

Cleaning and Oiling your machine is basic maintenance and really should be done together, fairly frequently. Thread, dust and even fabric can get caught in your machine.  The recommended frequency may vary by machine manufacturer, as well as by quilter.  But SewCalGal recommends that you do so after you finish any large project, as well as any time you are having a problem with your machine.  Machine problems can sometimes be triggered by lint, a piece of thread, or other item trapped.

DO NOT use compressed air to attempt to blow lint out of your machine.

Recommended tools:
- microfine brush
- tweezers
- q-tips
- sewing machine cleaning brush, or a small paintbrush
- sewing machine oil (preferrably the weight and brand that your sewing machine manufacturer recommends)
- optional - vacuum attachments
- soft cloths, such as scraps

How to clean:

Be sure to always clean your machine BEFORE you add oil.

A good first step is to turn your machine off and to unplug it.
Start by removing your bobbin case and parts recommended by your manufacturer (e.g. bobbin and bobbin case, throat plate , specific for your machine model

Clean by using a sewing machine brush, q-tips, and even a microfine brush

After cleaning, re-assemble you rmachine, re-thread your machine and do a sample stitchout.

Margaret Moorehead created an excellent youtube video that can help you listen to your machine, for the very obvious signs your machine needs oil.

If you are on a MAC or have problems watching this video embedded in this post, here is a link to watch it directly in youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQrUeFaMc9U

craftsy class ?
After you have cleaned and oiled your machine you should hear a happy purr and see beautiful stitches!

Consider changing your needle when you clean and oil your machine.

Even though regular cleaning and oiling your machine can make for a happy machine, consider sending your machine to the "Sewing Machine Spa" once a year.  Definitely a good idea before you take your machine off to a quilt retreat, or special class.  A professional will typically clean, adjust tension, test your machine for any potential issues that you may not have reported, and make your machine stitching beautifully and humming happily.  But do let them know besides testing straight or zigzag stitch that you want them to do additional tests which reflect how you use your machine (e.g. free-motion quilting, embroidery, specialty stitches, etc.).

Not fun attending such events and having machine problems that might have been caught by a professional.

research notes:

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