My not so regular maintenance routine...
About ten days ago, I flipped back the pages of my little notebook and discovered that it had been over a year since my last sewing machine cleaning. I hate excuse-making, but here's my excuse: I actually sew so infrequently that it's easy to lose track of how much time goes by.
Anyway, in the interim, I had done enough sewing involving both fleece and fusible fleece to know that a lot fluff was accumulating under the throat plate.
|A well used brush...|
As this is the only sewing machine I have known in my whole life (apart from those I sewed with in Home Ec classes at school), I have no idea what sort of maintenance one is expected to do with today's mostly plastic, computerized machines. Is there even anything to open up and look at?
Here is what I see when I pull up the base of my Kenmore 15817200. Look how pristine that motor looks!
My Kenmore was made in Japan, although I'm not sure by what company specifically (considering that Kenmore was just a Sears brand name and not a manufacturer). My rudimentary research seems to point to a company called Maruzen as the likely maker.
Having owned this machine now for forty-six years, it was only this past December that I finally had to change the lightbulb. (Of course, I'd purchased a spare one some time back in anticipation of that day.)
|A 45+ year old bulb!|
|Shuttle assembly removed to clean underneath...|
My original accessories kit came with a stiff bristled brush. Despite looking very ragged, it's what I still use to clean out the nooks and crannies around the feed dogs and shuttle.
Something that I would recommend to add to your sewing machine maintenance kit is a silicone brush cleaner like this one. I found this in the cosmetics aisle at a local discount shop for a couple of bucks. Not only is it handy for sweeping up a sewing table, but you can see how it grabs the dust bunnies from the cleaning brush.
My Kenmore manual shows exactly where to apply oil during regular maintenance. Essentially any joints that move should get a drop. After applying, I typically hand crank a few times to let the oil work its way into wherever it needs to go.
|Adding oil where oil is needed...|
Oiling a sewing machine is much like changing out the needle. You can instantly tell the difference. I really must make it a point to do it more often. Just because this old beastie can take the punishment doesn't mean that it should!
|Underneath the top of my Kenmore...|
Now that you've seen the bottom the machine, take a gander at the top. There are nine spots to oil here. Because the drawings in the manual are two dimensional, I find it helpful to stand right over the area and look down into it to establish where the points are located. (If it doesn't immediately match the drawing, turning the wheel helps.)
By the way, it's important to use sewing machine oil to oil your sewing machine. That might be a pretty obvious statement, but it's worth making because some people think that a lubricant is a lubricant. That said, I don't think that any specific OEM version of sewing machine oil is needed. The one that I use is a brand called Unique, which also makes a variety of sewing notions and supplies (such as the replacement light bulb).
Anyway, back to my original query. For those of you who sew with modern computerized machines, what sort of maintenance is required and are you fastidious about doing it regularly? Is it necessary to "take them in" for tune-ups?
Just a short note to let you know that Makerist (link on sidebar at left) is having a $2 sale right now that runs through March 28. I'm not participating, so this notice is not about my patterns. But I have found gems in the past during similar promotions (like the Fritz Frog — yep, that and all of Angela Jardine's sweet patterns are on sale for just two bucks each), so it may be worth a browse if you're looking for a new project at a great price point.