parts of a sewing machine

Sewing is a passion. It is a craft, but it is an art as well. And your sewing machine is not just a piece of equipment. Sometimes it has a mind of its own. It certainly tends to grow on you. If you sew a lot, chances are you will have to move on and buy a new machine every now and then. However, many of us would keep the old machine as a backup. And it’s not because we really need a backup machine, but because it is painful to get rid of it. Loving your machine is not enough, though. Maintenance and sewing machine repairs are necessary to provide a long-lasting relationship. 

So, let alone your emotional attachment, you need to take proper care of your machine if you want to enjoy its qualities for a long time. After all, it is a working machine and some parts will wear and tear over time. Your job is to slow this process down and avoid unnecessary damage. Basically, it comes down to proper maintenance and regular visits to sewing machine repair services. Of course, you can learn to fix some simple problems on your own. Still, it is a good idea to have an experienced, and professional expert at your disposal. 


How Often Should Your Machine Be Serviced

To be honest, most of the hobby sewists are not very meticulous when it comes to visiting repair services unless they have a problem. Our machines are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear, so they won’t break down immediately if we skip service or two. But, this is a general recommendation: regular services are due once a year and your machine should be tuned-up every 3 – 4 years. Obviously, these rules are not set in stone as the amount of work can vary a lot. It is not the same if you sew every day, or every week, or occasionally when you find some spare time.

Anyway, you will need a service from time to time even if you don’t sew too often. Lint, thread, and fluff can build up in the machine and cause issues. Oil can dry out. You should also listen to your sewing machine. If it sounds different, it means that something is going on. If it becomes stiff, it’s another sign it needs service. It doesn’t matter if you have an affordable, starter sewing machine or fancy and expensive computerized model, regular servicing is required.

man repairing a sewing machine

How to Choose Sewing Machine Repair Shop

Truth be told, it can be quite tricky. A perfect repair shop shouldn’t be too far away from where you live. Your repairmen should be experienced, reliable and trustworthy. And the shop should be authorized by the manufacturer of your machine. You should also check out what does service include. 

Reputable repair shops will usually include a full inspection of the machine, along with thorough cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments. Adjustments refer to adjusting top and bottom tension and adjusting hook and feed dog timing. A full inspection should include a thorough check-out of all mechanical parts and sensors if you have a computerized sewing machine. When you get your machine back, you should get samples with straight and zigzag stitches as a piece of evidence that the machine is stitching properly.

Things You Can Do on Your Own

There are things you can do on your own to keep your machine in tip-top condition. It doesn’t mean that you won’t need to have it serviced, but the more you take care of your machine, the better it will work. Not to mention it will last longer as well. It won’t take you too much time, and your machine will be thankful. So, here are a few easy maintenance tips.

Keep It Covered

When you don’t use your machine store it in a hard case. If you don’t have a hard case, you can consider purchasing one, or you can improvise and use whatever you have at your disposal. Anyway, the idea is to protect your machine from dust and dirt of any kind. Dust and pet hair have peculiar ways to reach the most unexpected places. A cover will prevent and reduce the build-up of any kind of dirt and keep your machine cleaner. You would be surprised how many issues are caused by debris and impurities of your machine.

Clean It After Each Use

 Well, maybe you don’t need to clean it after each use, but for me, it is easier to build a habit and make it a regular routine. You will find cleaning instructions in your manual and after a couple of times, it will become your second nature. It won’t take more than a few minutes. A lint brush is the best tool to use, although any high-quality nylon brush will do. Some people recommend cans of compressed air, but I am not a fan of these. They may add some moisture which is not good for metal parts. And moist lint can jam up the machine. Simply, the brush is a better choice.

Oil Your Machine

Check out your manual first, as many new machines don’t need oiling. But, for those that need it, it will help the machine to run smoothly. Make sure that you use sewing machine oil only. Do this very carefully and add just a drop of oil on moving parts of your machine.

Replace Needles Regularly

Needles become dull over time, so you should change them to avoid looped threads and skipped stitches. You should replace your needle every 8 to 16 hours depending on the fibers you are sewing through. If you lose track of time, up to 3 full bobbins is another way to measure it. Anyway, it is better to replace it too early than too late.

 Use Appropriate Bobbins, Thread, and Needle

Make sure that you always use the bobbins that are made for your machine. A high-quality thread will reduce the amount of lint. Also, avoid waxed or glazed thread as they are not good for your machine. Needles do a lot of work, so it is a good idea to use sharp and good-quality needles. 


Your sewing machine will bring you a lot of satisfaction over the years. It can be a powerful and tireless workhorse. But, if you don’t treat it properly, it will struggle to keep up delivering. Your joyful experience can easily become a frustrating one. You may think that annual servicing is overkill, but if you sew regularly, it is the best way to keep your machine in perfect shape. Otherwise, you risk visiting repair service more often for more serious issues. Cleaning, maintaining and servicing will extend your machine’s lifetime. Moreover, the performance won’t deteriorate over time.

It happens quite often that inexperienced sewists think they‘ve gotten a lousy deal as their machines don’t live up to their expectations. Sometimes it is true, but more often, it happens because they don’t maintain their machines properly. If you follow the recommendations and take care of your machine it is still possible to have some issues. But, at least you’ll know it is not your fault and you’ll be able to ask your dealer to replace or repair it.