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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Clean Your Sewing Machines, Serger, and Iron


Alright, so it's not quite spring, but that doesn't mean that there isn't cleaning and maintenance to be done. I have a horrible time keeping on top of maintenance, really of any sort. My finger nails and cuticles are neglected, my hair goes far too long between trims, I'm always forgetting to change the oil in my car, and I never rotate the tires on time. Just like your manicure, hairstyle, or car, your sewing machines and supplies need a little attention every once in a while. So I thought that I'd share a few helpful bits of information that I've gathered as I've been trying to change my ways, and take better care of my sewing tools.


 First off, the best resource that you have for your sewing machine or serger is your owners manual. You'll find a section of your manual is dedicated specifically to maintaining your machine. Depending on the machine you have, you may find information on oiling your machine, cleaning the exterior of the machine, or cleaning the shuttle. My overcast serger manual also includes information on replacing lightbulbs, and changing knives. 


If you don't have access to your machine manual, many makers have downloadable manuals available on their websites. 


Your machine manual is really important, because not every sewing machine needs the same care. My sister in law just recently purchased her first sewing machine, it's an entry level brother, and needs to be oiled bi-monthly, or weekly if used more frequently. My brother doesn't require oiling, due to the construction of my machine. I am currently waiting (not very patiently) for a replacement bobbin shuttle. While I don't have to oil my machine, I do need to make sure that the shuttle doesn't get scratched. So basically, if you haven't already, it's time to familiarize yourself with your sewing machine and it's manual.  

If your machine does require oiling, here is a great post from Craft Nectar on cleaning and oiling your sewing machine. Also note, that not any old oil is suitable for your sewing machine.  It's best to go to a sewing supply store and find some specific to sewing machines.



 Now if you have an older machine, or one with metal on metal parts, you will most likely need to oil it regularly (and not just once a year or when it starts making horrible noises). My serger also requires oiling (so it's time to find the oil). Every sewing machine needs to be cleaned, to remove debris and dust. People have differing opinions when it comes to the best way to remove it. I suggest first removing what you can with a small cleaning brush. This little guy came along with my machine.



 If possible, push the dust out and away from the machine. Obviously there are places in a sewing machine that are hard to reach. A vacuum with very small attachments is a great way to remove material. Some people use compressed air, but you need to be very careful when doing so, as to not lodge any material in the sewing machine parts.



 This is a great post on how to clean a brother 1034d serger, it includes instructions for oiling it as well.



The exterior of your sewing machine or serger can be wiped down with a washcloth and some mild dish detergent and water.  Make sure that all cords are unplugged before cleaning your sewing machine.

While you have out your mild detergent, you might as well clean your iron.  I think that it is all of the fusible web that I use, and probably some spray starch, but my iron gets DIRTY.  I found this great article on cleaning your iron.  Using just the first of her recommendations on cleaning the sole plate or the iron, my iron went from this.....
Before
After washing with mild detergent

...to this. Big improvement.  I'd recommend cleaning the reservoir of the iron prior to cleaning the plate, I didn't, and then had to clean the plate again. 


Now I just need to tackle this beast.  I have no intention of trying to remove the stains, I think that a new cover is in order.  Here's a great tutorial on making your own ironing board cover.

11 comments:

Mama Lusco said...

This was a great reminder that I should clean my machines & iron, too. Thanks for the helpful links!

Emily said...

Nice work with your iron! Thanks for the reminder to oil my machine. :)

Puckleberry said...

Thanks for the linkback to my blog post on cleaning and oiling the Brother 1034D! Love my serger!! Awesome blog you have!

Calvin Toews said...

Very nice and helpful information has been given in this post. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks!
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Elizabeth J. Neal said...

If you don't have access to your machine manual, many makers have downloadable manuals available on their websites. best cheap sewing machine

Anonymous said...

Love this article however puckleberry in order to read your blog you have to be invited which makes mentioning it meaningless.

BrokenWingAngel said...

Hi, I see you have the exact serger I would like to see if you can do a video on the knife's. While I was sewing it stopped cutting my material and my knife slipped and I cannot get it to cut again. It is asking for a certain amount of space between them. Thanks TY-NM

Batista Sh said...

This post is really valuable that designed for the new visitors. Pleasing work, keep on writing.
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James Gerber said...

Sewing machines require constant repair and maintenance services to keep them running properly and for a long time. So, wise up and take good care of your machines to get the full worth of your money. best espresso machine for home

Embroidery&Sewing said...

A timely reminder about maintenance which is something we always seem to put off. Thanks for the reminder. more here

Sarah said...

Everyone writes about how to use sewing machine, you are the one who wrote on this topic and i found it really helpful. Thanks for sharing. Sewing Machine for quilting