After the last couple of projects I figured my sewing machine deserved a little TLC. Sure, it gets regular oilings and I clean the lint out from around the bobbin case regularly (sometimes several times within a project), but I'd never given it a really thorough cleaning.
|my machine on the day I received it last year|
Last year House of Marmalade did a post on restoring older machines. I was fascinated and loved seeing the transformation in her machine. I also loved all of the great tips she was willing to share. If you have a vintage machine you want to clean up I suggest starting there.
The first thing I did was take a look back at the manual for my sewing machine. Now obviously my machine did not come with its original manual; thankfully there are plenty of free pdfs online for most machine models out there. Anyhoo... familiarizing myself with which parts can be taken off/ apart and how best to go about that saved me lots of time and stress I'm sure.
|I started at the hand wheel/ balance wheel|
I removed the stop motion screw and gave it a good scrubbing. Clearly I didn't get every single bit of gunk cleared away, but I think the improvement is notable.
After that I removed the clutch washer. The back side wasn't terribly dirty, but I was able to get it almost completely clean fairly easily.
In fact there were several parts that didn't come as clean as I had hoped, but I also didn't have the array of chemicals that Marmalade was utilizing. This one, however, could have benefited from a good soak in some cola. But alas, we are not big soda drinkers so I didn't have any on hand.
After carefully removing the balance wheel you can see how much dust & lint has worked its way into all sorts of nooks and crannies.
While the balance wheel was removed and I had a little better access, I set about cleaning the parts of the bobbin winding mechanism.
I'm skipping over a handful of pictures here because I don't want to bore you and there's nothing terribly notable there. However, at this point I put the handwheel etc back together and moved on to the tension spring/ thread guide for the bobbin winder.
Like so many parts, it didn't look too bad until I took the chromed piece off.
Next I moved on to the front, removing and cleaning the stitch selector wheels and screws.
At this point I also removed the light cover. It was super-dirty in there, including the glass on the bulb and the glass that shields the lighting mechanism. I'd bet I get a lot more light through there now!
With that all back together I took apart the foot. Seeing how dirty it was I wished I had cleaned this sooner. Nice to have it all shiny again!
As for the upper tension mechanism, well, frankly those scare me a little, at least the idea of taking it apart anyhow. So, I didn't take it apart at all. I carefully cleaned between the plates with some oil on a scrap of muslin, moving it around until the oiled muslin stopped bringing dirt back out with it. Then i ran a dry piece of muslin through to soak up any oil left behind.
The face plate on the 401a is hinged/ latched and opens easily. Interestingly it has a threading diagram on the inside of the face plate which I was delighted to find the first time I opened it up to oil there. I didn't do a lot of cleaning here (just those spots around the edges) , but I did take the opportunity to give it some oil. As much as I've been sewing this last year, I probably oil her about once a month.
With that, the lower bobbin area got some fresh oil, too. Then I gave the whole machine a good shine.
|A clean machine is a happy machine|
Doesn't she look all shiny and happy now? ^_^
Happy sewing and hope your week is going well!