Sewing Machine Maintenance


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We LOVE our sewing machines don't we? We work them to the bone so they definitely need some R&R every now and then. Today I'm sharing a few maintenance musts for you to keep in mind while you're quilting. 
Before we begin I have a quick note for you all. These are my own tips and guidelines that I follow for my Bernina 350. You should always refer to your machine's manual to confirm that these will work for you. All machines are a little different! Alright, let's get started. 

Tip #1: Regular Machine Tune Ups

I take my sewing machine in for a little spa day at least once a year! If I make 10-15 quilts I may take it in twice a year. This is a great time for a professional to take a good look at your machine and make any adjustments. I just took mine in and they had to make a few adjustments to the bobbin tension and case. That could have caused me a lot of issues down the road so I'm glad I got it taken care of before it was a costly mistake! Yikes!

Tip #2: Change Your Needle

I should say first of all - use a quality needle that is the right gauge for your project. I use these universal needles or the Bernina Quilting Set of needles. This will help your machine work more efficiently. Next, change your needle out after every project. If you have been sewing for a while you can actually hear when your needle needs to be changed. Mine starts to make a very subtle "pop" sound every time it goes into the fabric. If your machine starts skipping stitches, losing the bobbin thread, etc. - try changing the needle out. 

Tip #3: Use Quality Thread

If you are using cheap cotton thread this will definitely leave more lint in your machine as it runs through. I've been told that higher quality threads have a coating on them that keep the lint to a minimum. I've also been told if you have to stop and re-thread your machine that you should snip it at the top near the spool and then pull the remaining piece from the needle so that it flows through the machine. When you pull it from the spool to remove it from your machine, more lint is pulled off the thread as it goes out of the machine backwards. My favorite thread is Aurifil Cotton 50 wt.






Tip #4: Clean out the Lint

Speaking of lint - clean it out! Every time you change your bobbin give your machine a little brush. I have a little tiny brush I use, but recently I tried this nifty little mini vacuum and I'm OBSESSED! You should never blow into your machine to move the dust. Your breath can make the dust stick together or you can blow the dust deeper into the machine where it can cause more trouble. So, use a little brush or try this cute little miniature vacuum.




Tip #5: Oil Your Machine

Make sure you have two or three full bobbins ready to go while you sew. This helps with frequent stops. When I picked up my Bernina Machine for the first time they walked me through some tips. One of them was to drop a dab of oil in my machine every time I refill my bobbin. After I clean out all the lint, I add a drop of oil and run a piece of tester fabric through my machine. Check your manual to see where your machine needs oil. Every machine is a bit different!
I swear the last two steps are what keep my machine running smoothly. Making sure your machine is clean and oiled I think is the best way to keep it in shape. I hope your machine appreciates this post. Give it some love today!

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  • James Walter on

    A very helpful reminder for routine sewing machine maintenance that can help extend the life of the machine and ensure quality stitching. The recommendation to have machines professionally serviced annually or biannually is especially important, as technicians can spot issues early and make minor adjustments before they become major problems. Other sensible tips included changing needles frequently, using quality thread, vacuuming out lint buildup, and lubricating moving parts. Taking just a few minutes regularly to follow these basic care steps can save money and frustration down the road for serious sewists relying on their machines.

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