I love to sew. I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My mother loved to sew and she taught me how to work with needle and thread when I was very young. She may have been looking for a way to keep me busy while she was sewing. But she passed on her love of creating beautiful things out of fabric and thread.
I have friends that know how to sew a little. Many would like to sew more, learn new things or just keep up with the mending. The problem is finding the time, making room for the mess or just getting an old, grumpy sewing machine to work well enough to get through that hemming project.
I can help with the problem of getting an old grumpy machine to work better.
I have been asked several times, “what sewing machine should I buy, my old machine isn’t working right”. My advice is always – don’t buy a new machine. I think older, simpler machines are easier to clean and repair. Many times the thing that is making a machine persnickety is that it just needs some love and attention.
The first thing you need to do is find the owner’s manual that matches your machine. If this has been lost over the years, you can usually find what you need online by searching for the make and model of your machine. Many times you can print this off or just add the page to your favorites so you can find it later.
With your manual in hand, find the pages that tell you which screws to remove to open up the machine. Dust everything really well with a rag, Q tip or a can of air. This includes all around your needle, inside the top, underneath the machine, around the bobbin case and any other parts that may have threads or lint. Then go back to your book and find the places that it recommends you add some sewing machine oil. Any fabric store or store that sells or services machines will have sewing machine oil. A small bottle will last you forever.
Once you are done with the oiling, put your machine back together. Put in a new needle and sew some practice stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. This will help remove any extra oil and prevent you getting oil on any project fabric.
Next thread you machine with 2 different colors of thread and practice some zig zag stitches. This is a great way to see how well your tension is adjusted. Your handy manual will tell you how to adjust the tension on the top thread and how to adjust the bobbin thread tension. This job can be a little tedious and time-consuming to get things just right. But it is well worth your time. Having a clean machine, the tension adjusted properly, a new needle and using the right needle and thread for the type of fabric will keep you from the frustration of thread balling up under your machine. This will also keep your stitches even, not skipping stitches and make your work look more professional.
I hope this information has been helpful. Now to find some time and space to work and practice what you have learned.