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Living Lightly column

Repair Café Sewing Machine Maintenance Demos

By Lizette Salmon, Repair Café coordinator

Most of you probably sharpen your kitchen knives regularly and service your cars annually, but if you have a sewing machine do you maintain it regularly too? Feeling guilty? Never serviced your machine or don’t know how? Never fear, Repair Café is here.  We’re offering two free sewing machine maintenance demonstrations, including how to clean, oil and adjust tension, at 10.30am and 11.30am on Saturday 6th October at the Sustainable Activity Centre. The demonstrations will be conducted by Shelley Robotham on three different makes and models of machine, so you’ll learn useful tips no matter your machine.

The Repair Café has seen its fair share of malfunctioning sewing machines. We don’t fix electrical appliances, but we’re usually happy to trouble-shoot if a machine isn’t working for mechanical reasons. Often these are hand-me-down machines, passed on by elderly relatives. The majority of times it’s an easy fix, like thread wrapped around the bobbin or tensioning problems.

Even if your machine’s purring away happily, you may not be aware that just a few hours of sewing causes fuzz and lint to build up under the needle plate. Sometimes pieces of thread can get lost under there too. Removing that lint and conducting other simple cleaning tasks regularly can prevent broken needles and mechanical problems.

Top tips for keeping your machine ship-shape, courtesy of seekatesew.com are to:

  1. Refer to your manual. Every sewing machine is different. Some of the new models don’t recommend oiling at all. There may be a trick to getting the needle plate off and your manual will tell you.
  2. Use the right needle. Using too small or large a needle can put unnecessary stress on your machine, and a broken needle caught up in your machine could cause serious trouble.
  3. Take care of your bobbins. Make sure your bobbins are winded and loaded correctly. Having a wonky bobbin can throw off your tension.
  4. Keep it covered when not in use. This is the simplest act of maintenance. Even an old pillowcase will do the job. Just make sure your machine is being protected from dust and debris while it is stored away and avoid storing near extreme temperatures.

To book tickets for the sewing machine maintenance demos please email: lizette@salmonfamily.id.au. Numbers are limited, so please book now.