Patching, fixing, and sewing tattered clothing is a tiresome and yet rewarding task. Having the idea that you have accomplished something is a great feeling and making it last is a challenge. Sewing will demand time, patience, dedication, and hard work. Your tool of choice is obviously your good old and dependable as ever sewing machine.
Your time with your sewing machine is filled with beautiful memories worth to be cherished. Do you still remember the first time you have learned how to sew and patch? Are you still excited remembering those times when you are trying to get the ropes of it and sometimes injured yourself because you are still a greenhorn?
Looking back now, those times seem like yesterday, but in reality, it had been decades. Your once new, fresh from the box and still smells like a fresh baked goody is now old, tired from years of labor and service and now shows small traces of cracks and defects sewing machine is about to retire, but surprisingly it is still holding on to its dear life.
Your ever-dependable sewing machine does not want to call it quits yet. It is not yet ready to ride in the sunset. It is still left with a few kicks in it. , your old sewing machine doesn’t want to let go of you. You are his friend, his comrade, and his partner. The amount of time you share working on and doing some handy clothing repair is what your good old sewing machine is holding to.
But wear and tear is knocking at your sewing machine’s door to ruin your lasting partnership and friendship. Are you going to let the good times last? Your good old and ever-dependable sewing machine is fighting for its life, how about you, are you with him? Are you with him even up to the end of the line?
If I am to repair my sewing machine, is it worth it?
Let us first delve into the topic of knowing what are the common sewing machine problems that sewing machine owners usually encounter:
- Thread bunching up underneath the cloth you are sewing – When you are making sewing and patching works and you see threads forming a knot under the fabric most likely it has underlying problems. One piece of advice, do not pull it loose and you might destroy some mechanical parts. Free the part that has a knotted thread by using a pair of sharp shears and carefully remove those small bits of thread.
- Remove your top thread and re-thread your sewing machine, please be careful to follow your machines diagram in performing re-threading. Carefully set your presser foot up while performing threading. Most machine lock their tension disk if the presser foot is step downed.
- Remove and re-thread the bobbin. Make sure that the top thread and bobbin are using the same type of threads
- Adjust the tension. Heavy fabric needs a different tension with lighter ones. Use a scrap clothing in testing if your machines tension and tightness is alright and ready for use.
- Bent or broken needles – A problematic issue that causes inconvenience to sewing machine owners. It is advisable that for new projects use a new set of needles. It will prevent needles from getting dull or hooked at the tip which can inflict damage on the fabric. Use the right type of needle for a specific project. For knit fabrics use a ballpoint needle. For Leather leather or vinyl or a denim please use a sharp and sturdy needles. In the event that a needle breaks, stop sewing right away. A broken needle is dangerous for the machine and for the owners as well.
- Fabric not feeding – Make sure your drop feed setting is not activated. Make an effort to check the feed dogs if there are any embroidery covering it. Check if the presser foot is down and is exerting the correct pressure on your fabric. A little bit light or too much pressure does not give good results. Make the fabric go all the way under the table before you are to lower the presser foot.
- Thread keeps on breaking – Use the right thread for the right sewing project. Soft and delicate threads are for hand sewing and is not advice for machine sewing. The top and bottom threads must be of the same weight. In re-threading, make sure the presser foot is up. If you are still experiencing issues, you need to lower the tension settings of the top thread.
- Machine skips stitches – If your sewing machine skips stitches it could be that, the needle is not installed correctly or it is bent or you are not using the right needle for your project. If the top thread is not reaching the bobbin, the threads will not properly lock and will skip stitch. You need to re-thread the top and bobbin threads and give it a try if it is now doing okay, if it still skips, it is time for you to consult the professionals.
- Bobbin tension is not consistent – If you keep on adjusting the tension of your bobbin thread, you need to check the bobbin. Plastic bobbins wears easily and can cause loosening within the bobbin housing making maintenance of correct tension difficult. Why don’t you switch it with a new metal bobbin then check if the problem still persists you need an expert to perform repair and troubleshooting.
- Seams stretch fabrics coming out wavy – If you experience this, try adjusting the way you sew. Adjusting the fabric in a way that its weight is not interfering with the machine’s operation. The machine’s weight can make the knitting stretched while you are sewing, avoid draping the fabric off the table when working. Let the feed dogs perform all the work and avoid pulling the fabric every time you sew. You may use pins to properly fasten the fabric before you start sewing. If after doing all these things you still see issues, adjust the pressure of the presser foot.
- Sewing machine seizes up or won’t sew – When you use you machine and what you do is you give you help the machine by turning the handwheel and the sewing machine doesn’t seem to pickup after several attempts, there is wrong with it. It could be you have a very rough fabric and if you continue sewing you will be destroying your machine. Check for the needle if it is bent. And lastly consult your product manual for cleaning and maintenance tips, it could be that a build up of different kinds of material is making the machine mechanism to not work properly.
- Needle comes unthreaded before sewing – Before setting up the thread and inserting it on the needle’s eye, check if the needle is at its highest point, Wind the handwheel toward your direction and watch the needle’s movement, if it is on its highest point slowly set up the thread.
Those are just some of the problems that a sewing machine owner usually encounters. There could be more problems that you will experience along the way as your sewing machine gets older. Even with the best precautionary measures and up-to-date maintenance work on your sewing machine, eventually, time will catch up with it. It will reveal some visible and hidden problems that your sewing machine accrued over time. But that should not stop us from taking good care of our sewing machine. I have seen a sewing machine that witnesses 2 world wars, its wooden frame has aged and shrunk, but the mechanical parts still work. You may hear some “old metal squeaking” sounds, but that’s just it. Few replacements of some old defective parts and some oil that old sewing could still finish some nice dress and perform some patchworks.
Why there are uneven stitches on my sewing machine
Seeing uneven stitching when working with our sewing machine could often lead to frustration. Running a few stitches and the sewing machine doesn’t seem to cooperate would often make us wonder what could have been done wrong. It sometimes leads the sewer to be depressed that after working so hard, doing everything that seems right, and performing at the best of her abilities and the sewing machine doesn’t seem to respond. It’s pretty frustrating and exasperating.
Our mood and disposition at the moment often affect our productivity and efficiency. Even if we spent several hours working in front of our machine, if it does not do something that stresses us out, we can continue working and enjoy every moment, especially if we see we are about to finish something. But if our sewing machine with just a few twists and turns makes us breathe deeply with a heavy sigh, it often destroys our mood makes us easily irritated.
If some of these things are happening, it could be caused by the following issues:
- Poor thread quality – poor quality threads easily forms lint and knots. In your sewing works, use a durable kind of thread with low shrinkage because it will form little lint.
- Bobbin case is wrongly threaded – if the bobbin case is not threaded properly, both upper and lower threads do not work correctly together and causes uneven stitching or uneven feed on the fabric. Check the bobbin case and if you see that it needed re-threading, then by all means, do it. The thread should pass smoothly on the thread side slot before it passes to the needle.
- Pulled fabric – there are times that when a fabric is stretched every time you tried passing it through the machine, to avoid this problem, do not pull the fabric while sewing, the feed dog would run the fabric smooth and easy and pulling it manually and with force will not make your sewing faster.
Can I fix my sewing machine at home?
Yes, you can. Not all sewing machine troubles need professional sewing machine troubleshooting and maintenance work. There are some things that you can easily diagnose and do some bit of repair and maintenance work. Some of these are:
- Sewing Machine is noisy and does not seem to run smoothly – It could be a classic case of entanglement between the hook mechanism. Get them cleared and check for loose screws. For loose screws simply tighten it up with a screwdriver.
- Lint packed feed dog – If you use your sewing machine daily, you need to clean it every two days. If you jus use it sometimes, a once a month cleaning will do. You can do this by cleaning out and dusting the clogged part. Remove some lint on the feed dog teeth by using an old and used toothbrush.
- Frequent breaking of the needle thread – It is caused by several reasons, the most common are the following:
- Not properly threading the needle thread
- Too tight needle thread tension
- The needle is bent or it is blunt
- Incorrect needle insertion
- The fabric is not drawn back after finishing sewing
- Too heavy or too small needle used.
Is fixing my sewing machine worth it?
A well-maintained sewing machine will last longer and help you save a lot of money on professional repair services. Buying a new one might be a good option, but if taken care of your sewing machine properly and are watchful over red flags, you can extend the life of your machine and still use it to make a new dress much work repair some. Remember, I have made mentioned the sewing machine that survived and witnessed 2 world wars. As of this writing, it is still kicking.
Ensuring your machine is healthy and is ready for work always, do not forget to lubricate the moving parts. Good quality oil is not very expensive. If you buy one, you could definitely save a lot because a good quality oil is a sound investment.
We have recommended some excellent quality sewing machine oil that will help you extend the life of your sewing machine.
- SINGER 2131E – An all purpose sewing machine oil that keeps sewing machine runs smoothly. It eliminates friction and protect metal parts against corrosion. Specially formulated for lubricating sewing/knitting machines, typewriters, bicycle and other appliances.
- ZOOM-SPOUT Sewing Machine Oil – Another high quality sewing machine oil that helps you remove any squeaking sounds. Helps you protect your machine from corrosion.
- Liberty Oil – It is blended form the finest high viscosity index solvent perfect for your lubrication needs. It is 100% clear and does not leave a stain. It is enclosed on bottles that are made of soft plastic that can be squeezed easily for more precise application. The patented Luer lock cap ensures that it is leak free.
- Lily White – It has low viscosity making it an excellent lubricant for sewing machines and other machines that comes in contact with clothing.
- Universal Sewing Machine Oil – Good in lubricating your sewing machine, prevents rust and helps prevent dust particles from forming
It would be best if you kept a bottle of lubricating oil at your side at all times. It would be best to make it a habit to wipe and clean your sewing machine before and after using it. Apply a small amount of oil on some moving parts of your machine. If there is unwanted squeaking in some parts, simply drop a small amount of oil, wipe it with a clean piece of cloth, and your machine is good to go. You can also keep a good quality brush to help you clean and remove lint and another build-up that leads to troubles and make your sewing machine not operate properly.
How much does a sewing machine repair cost?
According to sewing.com, a sewing machine tune-up costs around $75 to $100. The price may vary depending on the shop that will handle the repair needs. It does not include the replacement of parts. The bigger the parts that will be replaced, the more expensive it will cost. A computerized embroider machine can cost around $100 for just a usual check-up.
Servicing a sewing machine would cost you around $90 for cleaning, oiling, and adjusting the tension, depending on the repair shop. Electronic sewing machines cost up another $60 to $150. Those are just minimum costs. The expense could very well go high depending on the extent of the damage. In California, basic repairs are around $85 to $90, and they can go up depending on the type of machine that needed repairs. A multi-needle embroidery machine repair starts at $240.
A sewing machine has several moving parts. As a rule, if it moves, lubricate it. Wear and tear is your sewing machine number enemy. After a period of time, the oil will eventually be dried out, and if it dries out, the moving parts will no longer work well. Most newer models are now using some computer circuit board as a component. Never attempt to fix or perform any repair work with the newer models if you are not trained or do not know what you are doing.
It is recommended that your machine undergo a yearly service check-up to avoid incurring heavy damages in the coming years due to heavy workload. Again, going inside and do some work if you do not know what you are doing is not advisable. The circuit board might fry if, by chance, you did something you should not be doing.
A well-maintained sewing machine does not need heavy repair work. Follow recommended maintenance schedule, and your sewing machine will do just fine.