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Do it yourself & rely on the experts

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Simple maintenance on your sewing machines will help save money on costly repairs and machine replacement.

Suggestions here are from Robert Kotowski of Lake Shore Boat Top Co.

Machine tension

  • Make sure the thread is wired properly through your machine.
  • Make sure the bobbin thread is locked into the spring inside the hook. If the thread is not locked in, you will get a very poor stitch.
  • Make sure the machine is set for the correct tension on the particular project you are working on. This is a very simple process accomplished by keying in the tension dial and setting it accordingly.

Lubricate your machine

It takes only a few seconds to oil the points on your machines, and you will be surprised how much smoother and more accurately your machine sews if this is done daily. Don’t soak your machine with oil as it could end up on your finished product, but a couple drops in the needed areas will keep your machine working for a long time.

Cleaning

  • Keep a clean work environment on and around your sewing machine. Clean out the oil pan monthly. You might be shocked to see all the material fibers and dirt that are collected.
  • We use compressed-air canisters to clean out the hook and feed dogs. A piece of fabric or fiber in the hook can mess up your stitch.

Breaking thread while sewing

Depending on the thickness of material you are going through, you might need a larger needle. As you sew, the needle can heat up and cause friction on thicker items, which could result in your thread breaking.

Skipping stitches

  • The timing of the machine could be out of sync.
  • Your needle could be bent or have a burr on it.

Professional help

Even though we know a lot about our machines, we still have a professional come into our office two or three times a year to maintain and tweak our machines. This is worth every dollar spent. If you have a professional visit your shop to service your machines, watch what he or she does. Our service rep always explains things for us so we can avoid problems. If you can pick up a few tips each time the service person is out, you can learn and do more maintenance on your own to save money.

Dara Syrkin is a freelance writer from Minneapolis, Minn.

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