My Own Repair Woman

About one year ago my sewing machine was being very fitful and I knew it needed cleaned, oiled, and the tension reset, but I just didn’t want to fork over the money to have it done. (Or lose the sewing time waiting for it to be completed.) That’s when I decided to take the plunge and try it myself.
I started by reading my machine’s manual as well as consulting
a few online sources that I respect. I took my time taking everything apart, following the instructions for cleaning out the lint and fuzz that had built up around all the moving parts. Then I oiled the points indicated in my manual. And finally, I took my time to reset the needle thread and bobbin thread tension. I had no idea until this point that there was a way to adjust the bobbin thread tension. When I was done with the process, I was amazed at the difference. My sewing machine ran quieter and more freely, the tension was no longer a problem regardless of what fabric I was working with.
Of course, these effects wore off as I used my sewing machine, but I now know exactly how to fix it without calling someone or parting with any of my precious sewing money! And I have cleaned my machine two or three times in the past year, each time gaining more confidence in my ability to do it properly and in the importance of regularly completing this process. The tension doesn’t need tweaked every time I clean it. This past week was the first time since last summer that I have had to reset the tension, actually.  I have a fairly low-end Janome that is about 12 years old, so I don’t feel like I am risking a lot if something goes terribly wrong. However, knowing better how to care for my sewing machine has given me more confidence about someday moving up to a high-end (read: more expensive) sewing machine.
Here are a few resources that have helped me and may help you too (and that will hopefully make up for my lack of photographs today).
  1. My machine’s owner’s manual: This is a must-have, in my opinion, if you are going to attempt cleaning or repairing your own sewing machine.
  2. A visual aide: Seeing is believing, right? Seeing someone else do it first can be helpful.
  3. Quite possibly everything you might ever want to know about thread tension: This was a revelation to me and knowing how to set my sewing machine’s tension makes me a feel a little bit like a sewing machine wizard. You can feel like a sewing machine wizard too.

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