How often do you clean your machine......

carol_in_californiaMarch 29, 2007

and change the sewing needle?

The reason I am asking is that about 10 years ago I gave my sister a nice sewing machine and showed her how to clean it and told her to be sure and change the needle frequently. I even bought her lots of different sized needles and would ask, when I thought about it, if she had changed the needles. She is a quilter and has made at least three quilts a year since I gave it to her.

I went to visit last week and she said she wanted to "look" at her machine because it wasn't doing as well as she thought it should. I couldn't believe how much lint was packed around the bobbin case and in other nooks and crannies. I asked her when the last time she cleaned and oiled it.......NEVER, was her answer. She did say she remembers to change needles a couple of times a year.

I sewing a little bit and told her it needed to go in for a thorough cleaning and oiling by a professional. She couldn't remember where she put the machine manual. She said she would take it in as soon as she finished the quilt she was working on. (It is just in the planning stage.) I told her the machine would not last another week and unless she took it in, she may as well plan on getting a new machine. (She has plenty of money but won't spend it on things she gets pleasure out of.) She did take it in. She would rather loan it to bums and relatives who will never pay her back.

I told her she should have it serviced at least once a year and she fussed and fussed about spending the money.

I guess my long point is......take care of your sewing machines!

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I clean the machine often and change the needles as needed. I try to keep my machines in good working order but have had them cleaned and serviced by the professionals (when I deemed it was time for a tune up - it was never on a yearly schedule as I said I keep them in as great a working condition as I can). Funny how some people won't spend the money on a tune up for their machines and get upset when they have to be serviced and end up with a large bill due to neglect. As for the manuals I have preached it before keep the manual with the machine or in a place where you will always know where it is....they are worth their weight in gold but some people don't realize it until they need a book to reference to.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 11:18PM
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I guess we are teaching our second grade Diva something because as soon as she arrives, she checks our machines & if there is any sight of lint, SHE proceedes to clean them.
She doesn't oil but if you have to baby sit, you can occupy her forever cleaning. She is such a perfectioness at it too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 12:35AM
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I usually clean once a year depending on how much use the machines have gotten. A good vacuuming and lint brush everywhere I can reach is fine, and oiling according to the manual.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 9:12AM
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As a quilter, I know the lint and bits of threads that come from small fabric parts, so I clean my machine several times while making a quilt, getting lint out of the bobbin case and areas around, on the outside I try once a month to wipe down and check general workings. this new machine I baby, as it is a Diva on it's own, so far gone into the shop for "check up" once a year, I change needles after each quilt project is finished, learned a long time ago that needles are cheap and need to be changed, a dull or burred needle can pull on threads, weaken stitches. So yes get this "dear close friend" in top shape or you will be upset if you want to sew and "she" can't Rene
p.s. Joan, I bet that Granddaughter will sew up a storm in the years to come. She has style..

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 9:26AM
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Your Diva is a real firecracker for sure. I see her using her sewing skills later on and making a name for herself. She will have the best dressed family on the block, and all thanks to you and Susan. Budster

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 12:03PM
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I have a miniature attachment set for my vacuum and use it after I finish each project. Once or twice I've taken off the feed-dog plate and vacuumed under there too.
I find fleece really builds up in the machine.
If I change needle sizes for a project and I don't think the needle coming out of the machine is too worn, I'll save it. Someone on this foruum made an excellent suggestion: take a tomato pincushion and mark sections with permanent marker with needle sizes. Then you can save partially used needles here and keep track of the sizes.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 1:26PM
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I clean my machine myself quite frequently,and it never needs oiling.I don't take it in every year for service,but do take it every couple years.I do change my needled often as well.I keep the manual in the sewing machine desk drawer.It drives me crazy when people try to sell a machine,but have no idea where the manual is.My serger manual is in a drawer next to the serger.

We keep the manuals for all our appliances as well.Dh has a file in with all the house hold papers that hold the manuals for the fridge,stove micro etc.They've helped us out more than once.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 1:37PM
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Rene, The Diva isn't my grandchild. Susan doesn't have any children. The diva belongs to a niece 3 months older than Susan. I made the mistake last week of saying I had no grandchildren & she very quickly said "I am your grandchild". Guess I'd better quit denying her because she was offended my my remark. I really don't know how a grandmother feels but I don't think I could love a biological one any more.

I didn't state how often we clean but since the Diva mimics everything she sees us do, you get the idea she's seen it done often. As far as oiling machines that require oil, oil evaporates just as quick sitting up as in use so using or not using has no bearing on how often to oil. My serger says "At the begining of each day you use it on the loopers moving parts".

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 6:50PM
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I'm obsessive about cleaning the lint around the bobin case. Usually once a month I remove the plate that's on top of the feed dogs and clean really good there. I oil the bobbin case and parts I can easily reach once a week or every two depending on the sound of the machine and how much I've been sewing. Once or twice a year I take it apart and oil and lube everything the manual says to.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Great answer about your grandchild, Joan. She must really be something.

I have multiple machines, most are task specific (serger, blindstitch, button sewer, walking foot, needle feed, and rotary take-up), all but one are industrial models; many are now termed "vintage". I would say I tend to clean them (on average) once a month, but that depends on what I've been sewing, too. Sometimes I do really dirty/gritty awning repairs, sometimes I'm working with clean, new product, sometimes with really "linty" fabric.

If one of my machines hasn't been used in a long time, the first thing I do is give it a dusting, a thorough oiling, and check the stitch length and thread tension. As a matter of habit, the first thing I do when I start a new job is check the needle size and condition. Always!

I am a stickler about oiling, too. Many of my machines are quite old (50-100 yrs.) and require very regular oiling. That's very common in elderly industrial equipment. The manual for my Willcox & Gibbs industrial rotary take up (c.1943) recommends a complete oiling every 4 hrs.! My brand new Juki sits in a pan of oil and never requires it.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 3:23PM
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