Monday, May 2, 2011

A Happy Machine = Happy Sewing

Do we really show our machines how much we love them on a regular basis? Did you know that three simple things that you have total control over create most of your machine’s sewing problems? That’s right. Thread, Needles and Cleaning. Oh my!
So let’s talk about some things we can do to show our machines that we love them each time we sew.
Thread Tips

  • Make sure the machine is threaded correctly.
  • Always thread the machine with the presser foot up. When the presser foot is up it releases the tension disks and allows your thread to sit correctly while threading the machine.
  • Some thread spools have notches cut in them to secure the thread during shipping. You should always place the spool notch first onto the spool holder.  That way the notch is at the bottom and won’t snag on the thread.

  • Changing the position of your thread can make a huge difference on stitch quality. While most threads do just fine on a horizontal spool holder there are some that get quite testy. Some threads like to sit verticle with a horizontal pull (some rayons). Some like to sit verticle with a vertical pull (metalics).
Your machine should come with some gadgets that look like these for changing spool positions.

If not, you can purchase a spool stand like this pretty cheap at the fabric store. It’s also great for larger spools and cones.

  • You should never grab the spool and yank it off pulling the thread backwards through the machine. Are you guilty of this? You should always cut the thread from the spool and pull it out from the needle. Otherwise you are pulling lint and thread bits into your tension disks.
  • Cheap thread is simply cheap linty thread that isn’t real good for the machine. Are you really saving money buying cheap thread if it causes you to service your machine more often? All thread is NOT created equal. Take a look at some under a microscope. Quite amazing!

Needle Tips
  • Did you know that the suggested life of a needle is 8 hours of sewing? If you are sewing through fusibles, paper or fleece it will dull even faster.  
  • Make sure that you are using the correct sized needle for your fabric and thread. Here is a great needle guide.
  • Start and stop the machine with the needle in it's highest position. This releases the threads and allows you to easily pull your project away from the machine.

Cleaning Tips

You will need a lint brush and screw driver. Most machines come with one or you can purchase one at the fabric store.
  • Unplug your machine.
  • If your machine opens on the side then open it. Gently dust away any lint you see in that area.

  • Next, remove the needle and presser foot from your machine. Throw away the needle.
  • Remove the plate from your machine and set all of these items aside. The rule for screws is righty tighty, lefty loosy.
  • Next, remove the bobbin holder.
         Ewww! Just look at all that lint from just one project!!
  • Use the lint brush to dust all the lint out of this area.  I don’t recommend using canned air for this. Remember to dust between the teeth on the feed dogs.

  • Gently tip your machine over. If you can remove the bottom cover do so. Dust out that area as well.
  • Now put everything back together. Tighten screws just until snug.
  • Place a new needle in your machine.
Dust and Cover
  • Wipe the dust off the outside of your machine with a soft rag
  • Keep your machine covered when not in use to keep it free of dust.

If you made it this far this is what you will get in return
I hope you learned something new today.


Judy said...

You are amazing! This is going to be the best teaching blog around!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for those great tips! I know I am at least guilty of pulling my thread up not down....