Monday, January 23, 2012

Tune Me Up, Buttercup!

When was the last time you cleaned your sewing machine? A few days ago I noticed that mine was sounding clunky when stitching. It's a relatively new machine; I bought it this summer. I was aghast at the idea of bringing it in for servicing. That would mean being machineless for weeks! No thank you. Instead, I decided to give her a good cleaning and see if it fixed the problem.

I think I've mentioned before how much I love machines, right? I'm not one of those people who take apart their computers and rebuild them, but I'm not afraid to look under the hood and jiggle things around either. I thought I'd share with you the steps I took to clean my Kenmore (model 385.15758 for those interested).

Before getting started, you are going to want to gather your tools. I have a toothbrush that I keep in my sewing kit for dusting, a smaller brush for spaces the toothbrush can't reach, the screwdriver that came with my machine, oil, a microfibre cloth (which I usually use to clean my glasses) and of course, my machine manual.

The next step, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, is to unplug your machine. Seriously, you guys! Don't forget to do this. Yes, it's annoying not to have the light available, but you can use a flashlight instead.  I forgot to include it in the tool photo, but I used a mini flashlight.

Next you want to remove your presser foot and needle. I also forgot to do that until closer to the end of my process, as you will note from in the next photograph. That was dumb of me. Don't make the same mistake! Finally, remove the needle plate.

Next, take apart your shuttle area. Mine has two pieces that come out, in addition to the bobbin case. I'll point them out to you later when I show you the things that need oiling.

Using your brushes, get into all the nooks and cranies and get rid of those dust bunnies. You can also use the microfibre cloth to wipe areas which allow for it. I used the cloth to clean my bobbin case and my shuttle race.

The third photo on the right is an attempt to show you the space behind the feed dogs which you could easily neglect to dust.  At this point, I mentioned to my husband that it would be useful to have one of those air blower dodads that you use to get dust out of keyboards and computers and such. I think it would be worth investing in one of these for the future.

The next step is to open your face cover. It took me a few seconds to figure out how to do this on my machine. There's a plastic button that you need to jimmy off. This reveals a screw which opened my machine up.

Cool, right? Take a few seconds to admire the machinery and make all the pieces move about and such. In other words, geek out. Done? Okay, let's continue. You want to put a dab of oil on the two joints that move your needle up and down. The photo on the left show mine.

The two other photos are of my shuttle and shuttle race. Put a dab of oil on the centre pin (middle photo) and another dab where the half moon is on the race itself. Don't over oil because it could stain your fabric. I used a little paper towel to wipe off excess oil.

Finally, put everything back together and take your machine for a test drive! I changed out my needle and sewed some scraps together. No more clunking! Hooray!

Do you have a different cleaning routine? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

I'll be linking up with Tip Me Tuesday tomorrow. Be sure to check out tips from other crafters.

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