The Free Motion Quilting Project: How to Clean and Oil Your Machine

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How to Clean and Oil Your Machine

This week I've been quilting like crazy on the new Dream Goddess quilt and realized it was a great time to share a new video on how I maintain my machines.


After I empty 2 bobbins of thread, I stop, brush out the bobbin area, oil the machine, and change the needle. This habit keeps my machines working properly and my stitches looking great, no matter how much I'm quilting.

I learned to maintain my machines this way after sewing 60 - 80 garments a week back in 2005. Doing that level of volume and using very linty thread created loads of dust and lint build up in my machines. After I destroyed two machines (literally locked up the bobbin area with lint) I learned to stop and brush out the machine often.

Changing needles is also something I do often. In fact, if any stitch issue crops up, my first default is to change my needle, even if I JUST changed it yesterday, or an hour ago. A dull or slightly bent needle can create loads of issues, thread breaks, and ugly stitches.

Just in case you're wondering about my machine, I'm now quilting full time on the Juki TL-2010Q. I've been quilting on this machine since August and have found it to be solid, reliable, and the added visibility around the needle has made quilting much easier on my neck and back.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

9 comments:

  1. Hello Leah!
    Thanks for the tips!

    I just bought a table for my Bernina to fit down in to. Meaning it will be 3 3/4" lower, which I think will help a lot in avoiding shoulder and back pain. I'm just wondering if you have any tips on proper sitting/position while sewing. Thank you!

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  2. After some back issues (unrelated to sewing) the shoulder & back pain was excruciating when I would sew! I thought I'd have to give up sewing altogether. Thankfully, we found I could stand and sew. After trying it for a couple of weeks, my sweet husband remade my sewing table to standing height. I bought a 1 in. thick anti-fatigue mat and have had good success since.

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  3. Thanks for the video. I have a couple of questions for you - I've had the same machine for 1.5 years and I oil it frequently as the manual (and you) suggest, but I find sometimes that oil builds up inside the machine. When I open the door to look at the bobbin, the "floor" in front of that area just looks greasy. Is that normal or am I over-oiling it? I use only a drop or 2 at a time, but my drops are bigger because I am using the oil that came with the machine, and the container is not as precise as that little metal dropper you have. Speaking of which, where did you get your oil dropper? I would love something that dripped tiny drops like that.

    Thanks for the video! :)

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    Replies
    1. Great questions! I would lower the amount of oil you are adding to 1 drop, and I would use some q-tips to reach in and clean up some of the grease on the floor. Really having extra oil drip down isn't a big issue (what can it hurt), but the oil on the machine floor could attract lint.

      As for my oil container, I found a 4 pack of little bottles in a Clotilde catalog several years ago (I don't think it's the same name anymore) and the oil I use is Sew Rite clear precision machine oil. I've heard from a repairman many years ago that the oil sold with machines isn't the greatest, but it's better than nothing. If you end up buying some Sew Rite oil, just make sure to store it in a dark place (I keep mine in the back of a cabinet) and it will stay good a very long time.

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    2. Thanks, I'm going to try to find a little dropper like you have that doesn't drip blobs. :) My machine is in the shop right now (so sad!).

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  4. Thanks for encouraging good maintenance. I find it easy to forget. Just curious, how do you dispose of all the needles?

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    Replies
    1. I just throw them in the trash. The trash next to my sewing table is usually filled with fabric and batting scraps anyway so they are bound to get stuck in something and not rip the bag.

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    2. I always save some of the old needle cases and use those to put my used ones in! If I don't have an empty case, I stick or tape it to a piece of cardboard (like a cereal box).

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  5. I've been looking at the Juki 2010Q! Glad you are enjoying it! I would love to see a 'review' of the machine!

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