Sewing Machine & Serger Maintenance Made Easy

Wouldn’t you love to get many years of enjoyment out of your sewing machine or serger? Whether you're starting out with a basic model or just upgraded to a new machine with all the bells and whistles, protect your investment with 5 simple tips for keeping it in good working order.

Unplug & Cover. 

When not in use, unplug your machine and cover with a soft dust cover or hard case. This is the best way to keep lint and dust from building up in your machine (trust us, the sewing process can generate quite a bit of lint on its own!).

cleaning a bernina sergerImage source: We All Sew

Clean Out The Fluff. 

This should be done on a regular basis - you honestly can’t do it too often! A simple guideline is to brush out lint every time you change the bobbin on your sewing machine. For sergers, this should be done even more frequently, because you are producing more fuzz by cutting fabric as you work. 

You may be tempted to use canned air, but that actually introduces moisture which can attract more lint and cause build-up, plus it can also force lint into areas where it’s more difficult to remove. Instead, opt for a soft nylon brush to gently remove lint (most machines come with one!); you can also use Tweezers to remove larger balls of fluff.

Tip: New, high-quality thread will produce less lint than old or lower-quality thread.



Service Your Machine Regularly.

We recommend regular tune-ups, which can be arranged by calling or emailing us for a drop-off. While it’s great to get in the habit of regularly removing bits of fluff on your own, a professional tune-up allows areas of your machine to be cleaned thoroughly which cannot be accessed without taking the entire machine apart. Depending on how much you use your machine, you’ll want to get professional tune-ups on a yearly, biannual or quarterly basis. 

Oil Your Machine.

Unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, moving parts need to be oiled to keep them running smoothly. Your manual should have a list of areas to oil - always follow manufacturer recommendations and only use sewing machine oil, which is specially designed for this use. Using other oils such as 3-in-1 can cause damage to your machine, and can also damage fabric as you sew. Make sure to apply oil to clean parts only, and carefully wipe off any excess.

Frequent users will want to oil their machines weekly or every other week. If you don’t use it very often, make sure to clean and oil your machine every 3-4 bobbin changes - or, if you prefer to set a schedule, every three months will do. 

Pins & Needles

Change your needle often! A dull or bent needle can cause looped thread, skipped stitches, or pulls in the fabric, all of which can cause damage to your machine. As a general rule, needles should be changed after every 8-10 hours of sewing (or, before you start a big project, if that’s easier to remember!).

Also make sure that your needle is well suited to the fabric you are using - for example, you would need a heavy duty needle to sew denim, as a more delicate needle would break. And broken needles can really do a number on your machine! 

Other things that can cause needle breakage include sewing through pins in your fabric, sewing through too many layers of fabric, incorrect threading of the needle, and thread tension that is too tight, and pulling the fabric too much as you sew. 

sewing on a machine

With just a little bit of effort, you can enjoy many years of sewing with your machine. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help every step of the way - as authorized retailers for Baby Lock and Bernina, we can teach you everything you know to maintain & master your machine. Don’t forget to check out our free guide to buying a new sewing machine, found here on our website!

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Sewing Machine & Serger Maintenance Made Easy