Extending the Life of Your Sewing Machine

Extending the Life of Your Sewing Machine

A few months ago I bought a new sewing machine.
It was a very exciting day.  (I’m such a nerd)
I had had my Viking Lena for 5+ years, and I wasn’t in love with it.
A good basic, solid machine, but I sew so much that it was time for an upgrade.
I had saved up some money, then asked for money instead of gifts for Christmas and my birthday.
I then started my research.
I really wanted a Bernina, after sewing on my mom’s growing up.
But I couldn’t really afford one, except maybe an ancient one off of Craigslist.
So after doing hours of research online, I chose the Juki HZL-F600.
Juki is not a super well known brand for home sewing machines.  They actually are the main manufacturer of the industrial machines used in the garment industry and have now created a line of home machines.
 I read tons of AMAZING reviews on this machine, then went to a dealer and sewed on it.  It was a workhorse, sewing on 8 layers of denim like a dream, as well as any other fabric I fed through it.  It was super quiet, and has tons of stitches, automatic tension (MY FAVORITE!), an automatic threader, and even a button that clips the thread.
I fell in LOVE.  And 4 months later, still am.
Such a great price for the quality of this machine. Works like a champ!
So after I bought it, I decided to attend a class at the dealer.  I thought I would share some of the things I learned there.  I have been sewing for 21 years, and at this class,
I learned some things I had never known before.
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  • If you own a relatively new machine, you really need to make sure you sew periodically on it.  Ideally, once a week, for a few minutes.  This is because most modern sewing machines are self lubricating, and when you run them, their gears get lubed up.  If the machine sits for too long, the gears can dry out and lock up.
  • If you buy a machine and it sits in the box for 6 months without using it, or something to that effect, you should take it to a dealer for a tune-up prior to sewing on it.  Better to pay a tune-up fee than to ruin a perfectly nice machine by running dried out gears.
  • Never turn the wheel backwards.
  • Never pull the thread out from the top of the machine.  This causes lint to go into the part of the machine that you cannot clean and excessive lint in there can ruin your machine.  (I am so guilty of this one!)
  • Needles last for about 8 hours of sewing time. (40,000 stitches)
  • You should clean out the lint under the bobbin area every 8-10 hours of sewing.
  • Store your machine with the presser foot down, resting on a scrap of fabric.
Here are a couple of tips that are about thread:
  • Ideally, you should match your thread fiber to your cloth, i.e. cotton thread to cotton, etc.
  • Don’t use vintage thread, for the most part.  (I have been guilty of this one…thrift store thread, anyone?)  Prior to using older thread, pull it taught and yank.  It should NOT break.  Unless you want your project to unravel after the fact…(I went through my thread and did this and almost all of the older thread broke SO easily.  OOPS!)
So that is what I learned from my class in a nutshell!  (Plus hands on stuff…)
I highly recommend attending one of these types of classes if you buy a machine from a dealer.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I love your web site, but I had to comment on this post! My favourite machine is a 50 year old Frister and Rossman – yes 50! Wonderful German engineering, and with a service every couple of years, I see no reason why it won’t last me out the rest of my life. It’s seen off all my other machines. (From time to time I’ve tried a new machine, as the F&R is VERY heavy.) It doesn’t have any electronics to go wrong, it goes forwards and backwards and side to side, and I’ve not often wished for anything much more. (Mmmm – an automatic threader would be good, and something to tell me when the bobbin is getting low.) But I do agree with a lot of your points, for example, about not using rubbish thread. (Actually the F&R doesn’t seem to mind too much, but the more modern machines have tangled up underneath with cheap thread, or the thread has broken.) I do abuse needles sometimes – thinking I can just get one more garment out without changing it – but I can hear when the machine is starting to get clunky, then I know it’s time to change!

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