Friday, October 12, 2012

Fabric Hair

I've owned 4 sewing machines. First, Singer. Second, Sakura. Third, Brother. Now, Janome. 4 different brands but each time I bought the sewing machine, I was given the same advice. Learn to remove fabric hair from the bobbin area.

For my first machine which I bought many decades ago, a very old man delivered it and proceeded to teach me to use it. To my horror, the first thing he wanted me to learn was to clean the machine. My Singer was an old-fashioned machine and the bobbin was a front-load kind. He made me use a screwdriver and took me step-by-step through the bobbin removal process. It was horrifying. Then he showed me how to clean the bobbin area which was very clean by the way as it was brand new. The difficult part was putting everything back together and getting it to work. By some miracle, I understood everything and never had to telephone him for help. I'm not saying it's easy. But I would struggle and struggle and eventually manage to screw everything back into place again.

My second machine, Sakura was no different. Again, a very old man delivered it and proceeded to teach me to use it. And yes, once more, to my horror, the first thing he wanted me to learn was to clean the machine. I'm pretty sure it was a different old man. Again I managed to listen to instructions and never broke the machine. I came close a few times.

My third machine, Brother was a semi-computerized machine and very different from my Singer and Sakura. First of all, the bobbin was a drop-in kind which I love by the way. This is what I'm talking about. An improvement over the silly front-load kind. Just drop in, hook the thread and you're done. Even though it was a semi-computerized machine, the bobbin area had to be cleaned as well and yep, once again it was the first thing I had to learn. This time it was a school kid who taught me because he was helping his mom.

My fourth machine, Janome is very similar to my Brother with all the bells and some whistles. A woman delivered the machine and guess what she said to me?

The first thing you must learn is to clean the bobbin area!

I wonder if there is a standard manual sewing machines dealers refer to? The no. 1 item on the manual must be teach customer to clean the bobbin area.

This time I decided to ask the woman why she wanted me to learn to clean the bobbin area. She said it was to give herself less work as a well maintained machine would result in fewer calls to her!

For my fifth sewing machine, I'm getting one that is self-cleaning. Even though I know how to open up the bobbin area, putting it back together still gives me nightmares. Sometimes I really feel like I've broken the machine.

I cleaned my sewing machine a few days ago. It's not that bad, right? I mean, considering I sew every day.

This is my little useful brush. Also, I use masking tape to catch the dust. But I make sure not to let the sticky tape touch the metal bits. And when was the last time you cleaned your bobbin area?

I leave you with these advice:

Have a great weekend.


Linda said...

Ha! Ha! :)
Great post, Jane! The advice you were given is right. When my machine acts up, the first thing I do is clean out the bobbin area. Usually, that's all it needs. I guess threads and dust cause the timing to be off or something.

Corinna said...

Ironic. None of the sellers told me so far ..but I do it sometimes, but good to know and your tool looks very good, I use a brush, small one, so far it worked. Frankly, I like your second advise the most, hopefully no old man (hubs) finds my little bag of yummi spicy potatoe chips :-)

Suzee said...

I dread cleaning out my machine.. but love chips!!! = )
I had my hubby use his air compressor once to blow all the gunk out.. it ran great! lol

Chris H said...

I have NEVER been told that when I've bought a machine!
I have two machines right now, a Brother and a Husqvarna, both a drop in bobbin types.
I have had to open up the bobbin area a MILLION TIMES with my Husky as it is always getting thread jams.
It drives me crazy!
I would kill for a self cleaning sewing machine... is there one???

Dee said...

When I was at high school in grade 8 it was compulsory for both boys and girls to undertake a smattering of all subjects. As part of this everyone did one semester of sewing a.k.a. home economics practical b (which included sewing, knitting, crochet and general fabric maintenance and care) The first thing they taught us in sewing was how to open and clean the bobbin compartment, advising us that a clean and well maintained bobbin compartment resulted in less difficulties and nice, smooth sewing. To this day, I automatically flip open the bobbin compartment every time I sit to sew and give it a quick clean out, with a thorough clean every six months or so (the kind where I undo everything and very thoroughly clean it all out.) I can swear that it really makes a difference and has saved me a lot of money as well as sewing hassles ver the years.

Chiara Z said...

I'm another great believer in bobbin area cleaning. I teach sewing and it's second on my checklist for problem solving--only coming after threading the machine.

Laurie-Jane said...

Excellent advice Jane, especially the bit about potato chips.

Little Blue Mouse said...

I wonder if it's the same kind of standard manual that computer and tv repair people have - turn computer or tv off for 30 seconds and back on again.

punkychewster said...

lol, yes i will continue to eat as many potato chips as i want but i will always clean my bobbin area because i have no choice, otherwise my brother machine won't run properly! especially after i sew my batting to my quilt!!

tamdoll said...

Great advice! With my first Kenmore I read the manual and took it apart as best I could to clean and oil parts about once a year. It's still going strong 25 years later. Now with my Bernina, all I can do is get into the bobbin area, so I clean that every time I sit down to sew - just a sweep with a big kids paintbrush & I get a nice blob of threads and dust that always baffle me how they got there. I was told I'd need to bring it in to the sop for servicing once a year, but since I haven't used it much lately I've been putting it off. Of course, I'm sure once I sit down to sew one of these days it will go crazy & I'll wish I'd done it sooner...

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