This is not the most exciting part of sewing, but something that definitely needs to be done more often than most of us do - cleaning your sewing machine! As you'll see, I let mine go way too long and it was a mess. I generally clean mine once a month, but I was so busy in November and December, I forgot. Hmmm - not good! Keeping the inside of your machine free of lint and threads will keep it working better longer and help with thread tension. If you just can't seem to get the tension right, you probably have too much lint built up inside. And if you have a machine that requires periodic oiling (they will have given you a little bottle of machine oil), this is a good time to take care of that too.
I have a Brother 6000i machine that doesn't require me to oil anything. Check your manual to see if your machine needs oiling and if so, where to do it. Your manual should also tell your how to remove various parts to get to all that built up lint. If you have a machine like mine, read through the manual and follow the instructions below.
*various brushes, including the one that came with your machine - they will get some oil on them, so make sure you use brushes you don't mind this happening to
*a penny (Yup! You'll see.)
1. Unplug your machine. Undo the screw that holds your presser foot on and remove the pressure foot. Take your needle out.
2. Slide the needle plate cover toward you and remove it. There is an indentation at the top - put your finger on it and your thumb at the bottom left corner of the plate.
3. I like to remove the needle plate (fits around the feed dogs), also so I can get to all the nooks and crannies inside. It's held on by two screws, but there isn't enough room to use even my shortest screwdriver to undo these screws. I've found a penny works great! Take off the needle plate and set aside with the two screws.
4. Wow - ladies and gentlemen, don't let your machine get this full of lint! No wonder my tension was starting to get a little wonky. At this point, I like to clean out all the lint and threads I can get to before I remove the bobbin case. Use your brushes and tweezers to pull it all out. DO NOT blow into the machine! It'll be very tempting, but you don't want to introduce moisture into this area and breath is full of moisture. Some people use the same canned air you can use on computers. There are also little computer vacuum cleaners that can be used.
5. Remove the bobbin case by lifting it out. More lint. This is where tweezers really come in handy - be sure to get the packed down lint out of the bottom channels.
6. Beautiful again! Replace the bobbin case by lining up the little projection that's to the left of the small screw with the spring on the right. It'll fall into place when it's lined up correctly.
7. Replace the needle plate (be sure to tighten the screws well) and the needle plate cover. This is also a good time to replace your dulled needle with a new, sharp one.
8. I also like to clean up above the pressure foot holder with a brush - there's usually a lot of lint up there.
Now you're ready to start your 2011 projects!! Or if you're like me, finish up the 2010 projects!
Happy Creating! Deborah