Conseils, Couture, English

Taking a good (re)start (sewing machine maintenance)

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Wow, it’s been so long! I’m really starting this blog thing right: a big motivation in early October then a big slow down a few days later ^^’ Oh well, chin up! And as being a bit depressed is usual for me I need to find and apply technics in order to take a good (re)start and writing regularly on my blog could help!

Anyway, after looking closely at the reason why I lost my sewjo I needed to face that, having a sewing machine light bulb that didn’t work, wasn’t helping me, odd…


So, 1st step: buy a new light bulb (and as it happen I’ve recently moved to a flat that is located 5 minutes on foot from a Singer shop. I really have no excuse not to have changed this light bulb in over a month…) plus machine oil because I didn’t have it anymore. So let’s take 20 minutes and maintain sewing machines!


(Advices that follow are for mechanical sewing machines, I’ve never owned an electronic one but obviously the maintenance is completely different :p)

You’ll need:

  • your machine’s instructions book in which you can find the according maintenance specifications (if you don’t have it anymore Google is your friend: PDF version of your instructions book ou tutos specific to your machine or a machine of the same brand as yours)
  • the small brush that comes with the machine (or a clean and dry make up or paint brush)
  • your machine small screwdriver
  • sewing machine oil (or a fluid mechanical oil)
  • a microfiber rag
  • a vaccum cleaner (or a compressed air duster)
  • Q-tips (optional)

Safety first: don’t forget to unplug your machine before cleaning and oiling it up.

I’m always keeping everything and rarely throwing things away so, I still have my sewing machine and serger’s instructions books, lucky me!


As I’d already remove the old light bulb I started cleaning the upper part of my sewing machine (even though the instructions don’t mention it). I started to brush off all the dust and dust balls then I vaccumed it all and finally I wiped everything with the microfiber rag. For a cleaner finish, I dusted smaller areas with Q-tips.


After dusting I applied oil on the mechanism. Once again, my instuctions book didn’t mention it for the upper part of the machine so I put only 1 or 2 drops of oil, I turned the balance wheel for the oil to spread out and I wiped the excess with a tissue so that it won’t stain futurs projects (it would be too bad…)


Let’s now clean the lower part of the machine where most of the dust piles up.
If it’s your 1st time removing the bobbin system you can take photos at each step to keep a track of the order and direction of each piece. You can also remove the presser foot and needle (as you can see I forgot the needle ^^’).


Don’t forget to remove the plate above the feet dogs, what’s down there won’t be pretty…


Once everything was clean, I applied 2 oil drops, put back each part of the bobbin system and screwed back the plate above the feet dogs. I finished cleaning the exterior of my sewing machine with white vinegar (last time I cleaned up my machine was soooo long ago…)


I then focused on dusting my serger (which was super satisfying as I never did it before even though I’ve had it for 3 years!… it was so dusty…). So I’ve used the same brush/ vaccum/ microfiber rag/ Q-tips / white vinegar (for the exterior) combo. And lastly put 2 oil drops on the mechanisms.






Once you’ve finished cleaning and oiling up don’t forget to run your a few stitches on a leftover piece of fabric to insure no oil will drop off on the beautiful fabric you’ve chosen for your next make.

Regarding the delay betwen maintenances I’ve read different things and as it mainly depends on how frequently you use your machine there’s no perfect answer.

  • I’ll tend to think that dusting your machine after each make would be a good routine to follow, like tidying up your sewing space after a make in order to take a good start for the next one (I’m clearly not following my own advice here…)
  • or you can clean it when you notice dust piling up

Regarding oil, it’s usually advised to do it after 10-20 hours of use which, depending on your sewing frequency, can vary from a few days/weeks to 3 months. So, in order not to forget, it might be best to add a reminder on your phone or calendar each 3 months (at worst).

Finally, if you’re wondering when was the last time you dusted and oiled up your machines it means that it’s definitly time to do it again 😉

What about you?Do you maintain your machines often or are you the forgeting type like me?



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