Just like a pet, owning a sewing machine comes with responsibility and requires more than just “playing” with it. Too keep your machine working properly you need to change needles, clean out the bobbin case and housing, dust off the machine and occasionally oil it. I’m sure you are aware of this, but what many people are not aware of is that sewing machines, just like pets, should have an annual visit to the doctor (or sewing machine shop in our case) for a check up and service.
Why? Several reasons. A professional repairman can clean and oil the places you can’t get to, will check the timing (which can become off after lots of sewing) and give it a once over to detect any potential problems and fix them before they become major headaches.
I try to take my machines to the repair shop once a year, and that time has come for my everyday workhorse, my Janome 6600. It’s actually a few months overdue and I am starting to hear some squeaks and squawks that don’t sound quite right.
So as I was packing her up, I thought I’d share a few tips on prepping your machine for service.
(after the jump)
Find a Reputable Shop
This is the most important step. Find a repair shop that you can trust. You may have to drive some distance to get to it, but since you only do this once a year, it’s worth it. Visit the shop before leaving your machine. Talk to the people there, get an idea of the staff and find out how long they’ve been in business. Get an estimate on cost and time before you drop off your machine. Be prepared to be without your machine for 3-7 days depending on their repair time and add some time just in case they find some problems. Do your research! I drive about 30 minutes to get to my shop and they’ve been in business for well over 25 years. It’s a family owned business and I’ve bought most of my machines from them. I have come to know the owner and trust them with all my services and repairs. When I leave my machine I’m confident it will be taken care of.
Make a List
If you are having any problems, be sure to write them down and take the list with you so you don’t forget. You can even leave the list with them. If you are having a specific problem, be sure to be detailed. I once was having problems with my buttonholes, but it was only an issue if more than 4 layers of fabric were being used. The shop could not have replicated the problem had I not told them that!
Remove any extras from your machine. The shop does not need thread spools or bobbins. They probably don’t need the power cord or foot pedal (ask to be sure). The less you send with the machine the less there is to get lost. The only thing I do send my machine in with is the cover. Sew-Vacs tend to be dusty places.
Lower the Needle
Be sure to get a piece of scrap fabric, fold it over a few times. Lower the presser foot and set the needle into the fabric. This will secure everything nicely.
Put Your Name On It
The shop will give you a claim slip (probably with an assigned number) for your machine. I always take a piece of painters tape with my last name and put it on the front bottom of my machine. The shop I go to repairs hundreds of machines and this will ensure that there will be no mix ups!