Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #9, Keeping your Machine Clean

How many of you maintain your machine regularly?  How many of you even know you’re supposed to?  When my mom bought her Singer in the early 60’s, the man who sold it to her knew his stuff.  He taught her to maintain her machine and surprisingly enough even taught  her basic repair.  Who does that today?  Most machines are so complicated, most of them computerized, that you dare not mess with them unless you have a license! 

Well, my mom taught me some of those basics, but if I have any real trouble I call her down.  Fortunately for me she lives just down the way and is happy to help me out!  I got my love of Berninas from her.  Actually the 930  that I sew on and have been using for over 20 years was hers originally.  My mom sewed my wedding gown on it, that was a huge undertaking.  Of course being of the design mind that I am, I had all kinds of neat ideas, but no pattern was on the shelf, so…  I had bridal magazines with pictures of this sleeve, this bodice, this bottom, and a button-off train (that one was in my head! Could I be any bigger of a pain?).  Like I said, no pattern would accommodate this dress, so we went pattern shopping and bought several patterns with basic shapes of some of my big ideas, then my mom’s creative brain set to work.  Any idea where my brain came from??? 

Anyway, I’d come home from work, and she’d created a new sleeve prototype, ruffled bottom prototype, you remember the “mermaid” style dresses of the late 80’s?  Well, some days they’d be just right and some days it was back to the drawing board, but she took it as a creative challenge.  What a mom I have!  Did I mention she also sewed the whole wedding party’s dresses?  Uh ya, three bride’s maids dresses, plus my two SIL dresses who were cake cutters, and last but not least my only niece was two and so adorable that she got a green dress too! 

Oh but I digress…  Well, when my mom wanted to upgrade to Bernina’s computerized machine, I bought her 930 and have loved it ever since.   The first thing my mom showed me was this.

There’s a section on cleaning.  I was amazed at one of my classes several years ago when a quilter’s machine was not sewing well.  Obviously the needle was not making connection with the bobbin thread for some reason, so I opened her bobbin case and was amazed at all the lint under her stitch plate.  She had no idea she was supposed to clean the lint from the area and her machine was several years old!!!  Since that class ten years ago, I’ve encountered more quilters with the same amazement about their machine.  Some had bought their machines at big box stores, but some had bought their machine from a dealer.

So, today I’m urging you if you don’t know how or you can’t remember the last time you cleaned out your stitch plate area do it now! 

Open that little door,

Some machines open even more.  This makes cleaning all the easier.  Look at all that lint!  I just finished quilting a little quilt last night, so I knew it needed cleaning.  AND, I just cleaned this all out two days ago!!!


 My owner’s manual states that I need to do this cleaning after every 3-4 hours of sewing.  It also tells me where to put a couple drops of special oil at the same time.  My machine is basically all metal, so it needs oil to run smoothly.  Some machines do not need oil, that’s why it’s important to get out your manual.

 In addition to this cleaning, do you realize you should have your machine professionally cleaned by a reputable professional once a year?  The pros can get into your machine and deep clean it. If you do this your machine should run for a very long time. 

Until next time,


2 thoughts on “Hot Tip Tuesday #9, Keeping your Machine Clean”

  1. You already know this, but, you have one talented Mom! Wow, your gown is not only an heirloom, but a treasured memory :) Lucky girl!

    This cleaning tip is great – I learned this too when my Mom got a sewing machine (that unfortunately she hardly used – she is as crafty as a frog). But, I kept the tip and clean my machine often. It’s amazing how much lint accumulates down there!

    Thanks again for your tips – I enjoy them. Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I have two Berninas, an old ‘clunker’ – 801 (which I love!) and a newish 630e. Living so far away from my dealer, I can’t make the ‘once every year’ visit, so I do try to oil and clean methodically.

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