Monday, March 10, 2008

How to Service Your Sewing Machines

I often surprised how quilters don't realize the importance of cleaning and taking care of their sewing machine. May be they forget, may be they don't know or they are scared to do it. I don't even dare to mention the issue of changing needles...
I thought it's time to encourage you to tackle this "cleaning-the-sewing machine" issue and as a first step, you can read the advices of a sewing machines' expert, Mr. Ruud Rooijacker, dealer of the Bernina Sewing Machines from Katwijk. He is in this business since 23 years or I should say even longer as he follows a family tradition, his knowledge is in his blood. His father opened his sewing machine shop 57 years ago. Today Mr. Rooijacker owns a beautiful, light show room with all the Bernina models.
He was very happy to give you advices on how to maintain your machine at home and when you should take it to the specialist for a service.

How often do you need to service your machine?
- It depends on the usage of the sewing machine. If you sew every day on your machine, you should service it once a year. If you use once a week, but oil it on a regular base, your machine needs a service in every 2-3 years.
When you should oil your sewing machine?
- If you can listen to your machine, you can tell from the sound, that it's time to oil it, provided that it's a machine made of steel parts, like Bernina.
How to clean and oil your sewing machine?
- You can lay your machine on its back. It is easier to reach the hook.
- Take out the hook and clean the hook with a brush and a piece of cloth;
- Clean the inside part with a vacuum cleaner;
- Lower the feed dog, take out the needle plate;
- Clean with cotton buds;
- Put 1-2 drops oil on the side of the axle of the hook.

Why do you need to change needles very often?
- It is easy mathematics. Just think about the distance of the take up lever from the bottom to the top, with an average stitch length of 3-4 mm-s. How many times goes the lever up and down, lifting the needle and feeding the thread through the needle? So it is very important to always choose a good quality thread with a good quality needle and always the right needle for the right project.

If you would like to learn more about taking care of your sewing machine or considering buying a new one - may be a Bernina - , you can visit the "Rooijackers naaimachines" shop in Katwijk. Mr. Rooijacker and his colleagues are very happy to give you a "tour". You might end up joining the happy group of "Bernina girls", just like us and our students.