Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do You Have A Happy Machine?

I've been having some minor issues with the quality of the seams on my machine lately. They've been coming out wavy or loose and just plain inconsistent. Enough to get me completely frustrated. Crap!

I tried changing the needle, loosening the presser foot pressure, rewinding my bobbins, etc. with no success. This morning I decided to do a little investigating and solve the problem.

I normally take my machine in for bi-annual cleanings, but because of my work schedule I haven't lately. In an effort to save funds, I was toying with the idea of doing my own machine maintenance. Not that I don't think it's important for you to take your machine to a professional, but I think sometimes it's OK to take matters in your own hands. After all, I could put that $75 plus that it costs me to good use like buy more fabric! :)

I've found great tutorials on YouTube in the past for quilting techniques so I decided to stop there first. I did a quick search for "clean bernina" and found this excellent video:


Let me tell you, Sara, if you saw the inside of my machine, you would give me a BIG scolding! This is so embarrassing!

Look what I found after I removed my stitch plate...

If Your Machine Looks Like This

Ooh, what pretty colors. Have I been needle felting on my machine? That can't be MY machine!

I was in denial big time.

And what I saw when I actually got down there and looked inside the bobbin housing...

If Your Machine Looks Like This

Boy mister, you need a shave! How many weeks have you been growing that beard?

I got right to work swiping and oiling and accepting that I let my machine get in this condition.

Here's a few "after" shots. Ah, that's much better...

Ahh.. Much Better

Ahh.. Much Better

Thanks for making that excellent tutorial Sara!

***UPDATED***
To add that the machine sews like butta' now! Purrs like a kitten. Back in business. Thanks everyone for asking!

Take some time to make your machine "happy" today!

41 comments:

  1. Wow, and I thought mine got bad. You have been a busy sewing fool!!! I was smiling when you mentioned that maybe you were taking up needle felting:)

    Glad you got it all under control now!

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  2. Cleaning below the needle plate makes soooo much difference. Once I did it the first time I am rather religious about it. First thing I do if my machine seems to be a bit off after trying re-threading is remove the needle plate and bobbin hook. I love how easy it is to do on the Bernina in the video. To remove mine I have to use a screwdriver from the needle plate and the bobbin components are a slight bit fiddly but I love my machine so I won't complain.

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  3. Good video! I actually just brought my older Bernina 930 home from its first servicing in 10 years & that was because it ingested a piece of a broken needle that jammed inside & I couldn't get to it!
    I went over oiling with the Bernina tech & he showed me one additional place to oil behind the bobbin race that I had never oiled before.
    I probably have never oiled as often as the video recommended, but I guess I should do so. But I clean under the feeddogs often and especially directly before and after free motion quilting-that really builds up the lint!

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  4. I am shocked!!! Mind you I am in no position to preach because mine was almost as bad last week. That said, I do take mine apart and clean it regularly because the fluff factor is quite something even with the best fabric and thread.

    I am about to do battle with my squeaky motor belt which is driving me nuts today!

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  5. LOL, you have me beat on lint build up;)
    Mine is finicky with lint, all it takes is a tiny piece and my machine won't sew, so I have to be careful and keep it clean.

    Debbie

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  6. I recently bought a new machine. The first day of class they showed how to clean the machine. I had never cleaned a machine before. I didn't know you were supposed to (a side effect from self teaching). I clean mine after every project (depending on amount of sewing), as the manufacturer suggests. It's amazing how much gets collected in such a short time.

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  7. Great job cleaning that baby up! lol Mine has gotten like that too. Because we sell and repair a lot of machines you would not believe the things I have found inside them! Once we got a little Singer 99 and it was full of shelled pecan halves. Can't imagine where they had it stored at! lol It had to have been a chipmonk or rat because the spaces inside are pretty little. When I first sewed on it there were ground nuts coming out and I thought what the heck! lol GOOD JOB!

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  8. Whaaaa. . 3-5 bobbins. Where have I been. Thanks for sharing. I'm gonna go check my machine now! :)

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  9. Wow. Thatsalottalint. But you didn't say - did your hard work cleaning the machine pay off? Is it sewing well now???

    I am in the market for a new machine and spent about 2 hours at my local bernina dealer yesterday looking at a few different models. I'm thinking I'm going between the 350 and the 440... Which one do you sew on? Any reccommendations or warnings?

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  10. I just found your blog!! Love it and thanks for the great link to get my machine happy!! Mine looked like yours only a little dirtier :(

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  11. Ooooh. I am glad you sorted it out. Some wise person once told me to clean out the machine everytime you change the bobbin. It works like a charm.

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  12. Well, I keep a small packet of cotton buds near my machine - you know those things you're not supposed to clean your ears out with? The cotton kind of grabs the lint really easily and cleans up the insides quite well. I do it when I think of it - or when I just want to sit in my sewing room but don't really have time to sew lol....it's a nice feeling to have a machine all spic and span on the inside!

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  13. Oh Ryan Walsh, what would I do without you? I clean my machine regularly but I've also been sewing like a fiend. After I read your post I opened it up and pulled out about two pounds of lint!! I could actually feel the difference when I started sewing again!

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  14. Thanks for posting those scary pictures! lol It sparked me to clean my machine too. Nowhere near as much lint at yours since I don't sew as much as you do, but still nice to know it's all clean and ready for the next project.

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  15. I'm glad I'm not alone! A few weeks ago my machione was doing exactly the same, I phoned the repairman he said two weeks and $115.00 Like you I thought no could put that money to better use, lay the machine down - took the whole bobbin thingy apart (prayed I could get it back together) found two years fluff!!!! cleasned it all out, put it back together and yes it went like a dream, maybe not for everyone but I never give up - so it worked for me :)

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  16. But you didn't say if it's fixed the stitching or not! Good job on the clean up....you naughty fella you....dust bunnies are NOT to be stored in bobbin chase areas you know! Hugs Naomi

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  17. I always clean/oil my machines regularly. Glad you did it, and it's clean now. Did it solve your stitching problems?

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  18. yes, I do it regularly. I'm happy to say that my machine is a fit and healty happy one ;-)

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  19. Don't forget to clean like that after every project. They recommend every 3k stitches. My mom never cleans her machine and it really kills me.

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  20. That was the shape of my machine the first few months I had it. I knew that I had to clean it but was unsure how to do it until I stumbled upon it in the instruction manual (proves that you have to read that first or at least cover to cover. Now I do it every time I start on a new project. Piecing especially will get lots of those 'felting'.

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  21. Thanks for this reminder! I read this post this morning and then headed to my quilt retreat. I cleaned and oiled my Bernina and had everyone else checking their machines too. Thanks!!!

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  22. Thanks so much for posting this. My machine has been "stalling" recently. I kept thinking I should be able to oil this thing myself. the problem was that I had NO idea what to oil. I searched youtube for "clean Janome" and found a very helpful tutorial. I cleaned a reasonable amount of lint from underneath the plate and oiled where the video showed. The first few lines of stitching still stalled, but after that it was smooth stitching.

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  23. I have seen that on the inside of my machine in the past as well. I also have serviced a few old Singers in my time, and have found some REALLY nasty build ups!! Anyway, I am glad to be able to do basic cleaning myself. Just haven't learned how to time my Viking yet. I can time a featherweight though...grin

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  24. Maybe I better check out my machine also. When you sew a lot it is something you just don't think of. Now to figure out what to do with the lint that is removed. Maybe applique it into a quilt top, LOL but I am sure someone has already thought of something to do with it.

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  25. I guess I need to go in there and check my sewing machine. I don't sew often enough to even think about where my machine is happy. I'm older than you and have a full-time job, and I'm a lazy gal when I get home. So I may go weeks or months at a time with little or no sewing. So - whenever I get my energy back up and get off my fat behind, I'm checking my Pfaff. I hope she's happy. I'll soon find out.

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  26. Why RYAN!!! I'm shocked...LOLOL! When I got my new machine 2 years ago, not a fancy one, but new, my dealer said if I was going to be working on quilts, to be CERTAIN to change my needle after every 8 hours of sewing, and at the end of a big sewing day, to pull my pressure plate off and my bobbin out and blow out both areas with canned air. I thought it was a bit much until after a long day of sewing, I decided to open up those two areas and WOW, was I surprised at the lint that had gathered just that day. Now it is a habit, takes me about 10 extra minutes to do it if I've sewn all day and always after I finish a project so that everything is shiny clean and ready to go the next day. But in all fairness to you, if I hadn't been told that, I might have ended up with the same mess you found. Hugs...

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  27. I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes we get so crazy with sewing we forget to do the maintenance. Now your baby is happy. I thought you were unveiling a little bunny rabbit. Ask me how I know? :)

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  28. Thanks for this post and the tutorial. I thought I kept my machine clean, but I realized I haven't checked below the needle plate or in the bobbin area. Great job!

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  29. I have a Janome 6600P. But the Berninas are a great machine too.
    I usually clean out under my stitch plate after using two bobbins. And it depends on the type of thread I am using and what kind of fabric I am sewing on. I can tell when I need to brush it out.
    There is nothing like a clean machine and a new needle!
    XOXO Subee

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  30. Wow! Those before and after pictures are amazing. I just bought a new Bernina yesterday and they told me that I should clean it out after every three bobbin changes. I plan to, because after what I just spent on that machine-it had better work until I am old, decrepid, and dead.

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  31. You're a brave man to post those pictures! My husband and I run a sewing machine sales/repair shop and you would not believe the amount of lint we see in a day! It leads to repair issues so,... thanks to all you who don't clean your machines! :)

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  32. Dude, it's time to take up spinning and knitting!

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  33. My man has been doing the maintenance on my 'very old' H Viking for the past year. And one thing that I do religiously, is every time I wind a bobbin, I take off the throat plate and clean out all the fuzz, and also clean my bobbin hook area. Now when he does monthly maintenance, he doesn't have to show me what we all just saw in your pictures - LOL!

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  34. I just had my machine serviced yesterday. Nine months and it was chock a block full. 200$ later... The service guy did tell me that a good way to help keep up with the lint without having to take it apart is to blow it out with a small air compressor every couple of days. If I had one, I would definitely would!

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  35. rofl... these are great pics. Thanks for sharing. The inside of my machine looked a lot like yours recently... took some pics, but wasn't brave enough to post them. Glad you did!
    Thanks,
    Hugs,
    Cyn; -)

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  36. Hi, I've made it a habit for many years now to oil my bernina every other or third bobbin change. It's so easy to just pop in a new one and snap the door shut, but I found I really can hear and see the difference if I wait a couple too many times.

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  37. OK, so I left a comment *before* I watched the video. The other place I put a drop of oil is on the bump of the back of the hook part (the part that meets the large screw which you can see in the back). I frequently get a black blob build up there if I forget to oil it.

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  38. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for posting my video on your website and that you found it so helpful! I wish you and your Bernina many happy and healthy years of sewing together.

    Funny...I was just uploading a new video to YouTube and needed my Facebook fix and found the Bernina USA link. What fun!

    Check out my other videos at www.heirloomcreations.net. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when new videos are posted.

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  39. Seeing your pics reminded me of a customer who took her machine in for servicing. She was concerned because it had quit sewing. She told the tech that she had been taking care of her machine and that she had been oiling that "felt pad" under the needle plate. You guessed it... it was PACKED with lint.
    Then there was the customer who actually told the tech, "Why would I change the needle? It hasn't broken!"
    gina Butler in OKC
    www.ginabea.com http://ginabea.blogspot.com

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  40. I was told to "Never" use compressed air in my Bernina machines, I have a Artista 640 and an older Virtuosa 155 and a Bernina Serger 1150 MDA. Why would a tech tell a Bernina owner to do this when they specifically drill you not to in your classes?

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  41. Yes, thanks Sara! I was worried everyone thought I had made the video when I clearly stated in the post it was from you and even gave a link!

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