Read these 21 Sewing Machine Savvy Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Sewing tips and hundreds of other topics.
There is controversy over whether magnets placed near computerized machines can cause problems. It appears that some computerized machines are affected and others are not. Before you use magnetic seam guides, magnetic pin cushions, or other magnetic accessories near your machine, check with your dealer or sewing machine manufacturer.
Owners can only clean and oil the outside parts of the machine. A trained technician should clean out the inside of your machine and give it a routine servicing once a year (or more if you sew every day). Even if you sew very little, you should have it serviced at least once every two years because the oil dries out and gets gummy.
Buy an inexpensive basic machine or a used machine to start out with. After you have gained some experience, you will know what features are important to you and will be able to make better choices when investing in a more expensive machine. You can often trade-in your old machine or keep it for a back-up when the other is being serviced.
Take fabric samples with you to use when trying out machines. Dealers will usually demonstrate using fabrics that are easy to handle, giving the best results. In addition to watching a demonstration, you should test sew using the types of fabrics and techniques that you plan to use.
Think about what kind of sewing you are planning to do before you start shopping for a machine. Make a list of features that you need and/or would like to have. Rank them in order of importance. This will help you when comparing machines. Remember, the most expensive machine isn't always the best for every purpose.
Lint build up can cause excessive wear and tear and damage to your machine. Brush out lint often. Make-up powder brushes work great for picking up lint; they act like a magnet for lint. Canned air tends to blow lint into the machine and is not recommended. There are small vacuums and vacuum attachments that can be used to remove lint.
Research before you go out shopping. Almost every sewing machine company has a web site where you can look at the current models and features. You will also be able to look at what accessories are available. This gives you a broader view before you go to look at the limited selection that is available in your area.
Dust and lint build up in your machine is the most common culprit of sewing machine problems. To avoid unnecessary lint and dust, keep your machine covered when not in use. You can purchase plastic covers or make one out of fabric. Even a small table cloth or pillow case can be used.
During routine maintenance, the technician cleans out the old oil, lint, grime, etc. and puts in fresh oil. He checks the working parts for wear and tear. Some parts require replacement periodically to prevent major damage (such as motor brushes). The technician will also check tension and stitch qualities for straight stitching, decorative stitches and buttonholes.
Shop around and find a reputable dealer to help you choose the right machine for your needs. A good dealer will teach you how the machine works and be there to service the machine when you have problems. Find out if the retailer can get parts and accessories for your machine that you may need in the future.
Many sewing machine dealers take trade-ins and have a selection of used machines. Used machines can be a good option if you are on a limited budget. When purchasing a used machine, make sure it has been serviced and tested by a qualified technician. Also, be sure that your used machine comes with an instruction manual.
When having your machine repaired, if replacement parts are needed, it is best to use parts made for your particular brand of machine. Other brands may manufacture perfectly good parts, but they may not work well for your particular machine. Using generic parts may invalidate your warranty.