Do Sewing Machines Need Servicing?

Why and when you need to service your sewing machine? Does servicing the machine extend its life? This tutorial addresses all your concerns regarding servicing your machine to keep it as good as new.

Do Sewing Machines Need Servicing?

Yes. Most of the household appliances you have at home are probably abandoned or sent for recycling centers after they start giving you problems. However, you cannot say goodbye so easily to your sewing machine, most often than not, hardcore sewists are very attached to their sewing partner (the machine) and will not let go of them. This is more on the lighter side. We give you more practical reasons why your sewing machine falls under the category of appliances that need to get serviced once in a while.

  • Sewing machines are often like a one time buy. You invest in a machine that will usually last a lifetime. So, there is a need to service your machine at the right time to make sure it stays the prefect sewing companion at all times.
  • Seasoned seamstresses will agree that the sewing machines should be serviced on an annual basis so that it functions the same way it used to when you bought it home.
  • Like other machines, it also goes through wear and tears throughout use. Hence you would want to repair the defunct parts to give it a longer useful lifespan.
  • Sewing machines take in thread, fabric, and oil. This will form into lint over some time. If this is left unchecked, it will interfere in its normal functioning. Also, a machine that has accumulated a lot of dust is sure to absorb all the lubricating oil meant for the smooth operation of its moving parts. The spare parts will stop moving and will also get rusty without proper lubrication.
  • For the smooth functioning of the sewing machine, you are required to oil it regularly and also service it at the right time.

Your sewing machine loves being serviced, and it will work much better after service. You are sure to love your sewing machine once it is back from the service sessions.

How Often Should You Take Your Sewing Machine For Service?

how often should you take your sewing machine for service

Sewing experts suggest that it is ideal to have your sewing machine serviced once every two or three years by a professional technician. Also, remember to oil your machine as per usage frequency. Like, for instance, is you use the machine on a daily basis, you should oil it once in a week. Using it once in a week will require lubrication once in a month. Oil the machine once in 3 months if you happen to use the machine only once in a month.

Proper lubrication is key to the smooth functioning of the sewing machine. Also, remember to do a mini service or home maintenance to avoid taking it for professional servicing often.

Can I Service My Sewing Machine By Myself?

Yes. While it is highly recommended that you get the servicing done by professionals, some of the experienced seamstresses like to carry out the task themselves primarily to save costs. They also feel that they know the machine and its part better than the third person servicing it.

Steps To Service Your Sewing Machine

Remove all dust accumulated on the parts

It is easy for the machine to collect dust and strands of thread. Dusting is a prerequisite before you proceed to the actual servicing. Remove dirt from all the places where you can find it. Use a tiny dusting brush to remove dust from the small spare parts. You might want to remove the needle, the needle plate, and the foot so that you can clean it properly. The place between the feed dogs accumulates more dust. At these places, you might find the dirt and thread matted; in such places, you can use a pin or needle to pick it. You also need to be careful to check if there are any remnants of broken needles in here which might jam the mechanism of the machine.

Bobbin and the case

Bobbins, which supply thread from the bottom part of the machine is equally essential for the proper functioning of the sewing machine. In the older versions of the machine, you will have to slide away from the plate next to the needle plate to access the bobbin case. Take out the bobbin case and blow out any dust. You will also need to remove the bobbin from the case and dust it. Now make sure you put them back in the same way after you have done cleaning it.

Check the bobbin tension and screw

check the bobbin tension and screw

Examine the bobbin case to properly as it might lead to the thread snagging or break if it is not done in the right way. You can check the tension spring by fitting the thread under the spring. Hold the case by the thread; the tension is proper if it can support the weight of the bobbin and the case. You can adjust the screw to fit the tension spring.

Oiling the various parts

Remove the top portion of the machine so that you can oil all the moving parts of the machine. In the vintage versions of the sewing machine, you can easily open the top part by simply tipping it on its side. In modern versions, you will have to remove several screws to gain access to this portion of the machine. Once you have opened up the top and bottom portions, you can slowly slide the handwheel to identify what are all the moving parts. All those parts that move will need oil starting from the bearings or joints to the surfaces and wheels. Always remember to use only sewing oil for lubrication, the parts of the sewing machine. Never settle for bicycle oil or Vaseline or grease as these might not be ideal for the long term functioning of your sewing machine. For that old and rusty sewing friend of yours, you will need to be a bit more generous as the parts would have become stiff. Remember to allow time for the oil to get into the parts thoroughly before you start sewing on it.

Examine the bobbin winder

That attaches to the handwheel via a rubber tyre. Check if the type is worn out and replace it. After replacing the tyre, try winding a bobbin. It would help if you got a neat and tight pile. If you do not get the bobbins to wound correctly, it is sure to cause trouble with the stitches.

Check the electric connections

check the electric connections

Before you proceed to check to make sure the machine is unplugged from the power source. Examine the foot pedal and lubricate it if required. It is advisable to use grease or lubricating oil on the sliding parts to make way for the smooth operation of the foot pedal. Oil is not for any of the electrical parts; this is strictly only for easing the movement. Check the motor belt tension and adjust it by loosening the screws on the brackets. You could also lubricate the motor bearings if need be. You will have to use the grease specifically meant for electric motors. You can also replace the bulb if required.

Run a trail

with some old fabric to make sure you get the stitches right. Always use an old or unused cloth as the newly oiled and serviced sewing machine can give stains on the fabric.

Timing check

timing check

If you are getting broken threads, you will need to get the timing checked. It is best done with professional assistance, and it can be a daunting task to do it yourself. Tips on how to do this should be available in the service manual.

How Much Will The Service Cost Me?

This depends on the type and makes of your sewing machine. However, the overall service cost may range between $75 to $100. It is an estimate of the service fee, if you have any broken spare parts to be replaced, that will cost you extra.

How Long Will A Sewing Machine Last?

A sewing machine may usually last for more than 30 years if serviced and maintained correctly.

Where Do I Get My Sewing Machine Serviced?

where do i get my sewing machine serviced

There are authorized service centers that do the job to perfection. Check the warranty period of your sewing machine to know if you are entitled to any free service and maintenance.

Final Thoughts

We hope this tutorial has helped you understand your sewing machine better so that you can do a bit of the daily maintenance yourself. Feel free to drop in your queries on how to get the most out of your sewing machine and keep it running longer. You could also help us with your suggestions and comments to make the sewing journey all the more creative and satisfactory.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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