Thursday, 10 December 2009

Tip 6 - clean your bobbin case!

Today I thought we would start the tip with a little tutorial and take a look at one of the major causes of poor performances in our sewing machines ... its a tricky little devil and one that left unchecked will leave you tearing your hair out as you experience poor tension and thread breaks as well as erratic stitching, noisy and clunky machine motion. Its called LINT!

You have probably all heard the term I am sure and if not in connection to a sewing machine you will have seen it in your pockets. Its that fluffy stuff that seems to come from nowhere ... so just what is it ?

As the sewing thread passes through the workings of the your sewing machine to form a stitch it will be physically tested. It will be subjected to a number of linear and rotational stresses as well as frictional strains. As a result it may begin to weaken. Eventually this weakening can cause the thread to loose integrity and it will start to shred and eventually break. Before it gets to this stage though microscopic amounts of the thread surface may start to peel or break away from the the main strand and it generates something called LINT.

Just how much lint a thread generates depends on a number of factors including such things as the type of thread ( natural or manmade), the thickness of the thread, the length of the spun fibres, how smooth the thread is or just how 'slippy' the surface is to name a few. Dye colour or chemical affects applied to threads also seems to affect a threads linting capacity too.

Some threads are free linters and others are not but if left unchecked it WILL build up and start to play havoc with your machines performance. So my advice is to remove it - regularly!

Lint and the Bobbin Case ...

There are several areas where lint will build up but lets start by looking at the bobbin area.

Take your bobbin case out of the sewing machine and remove the bobbin. Put the bobbin to one side. Now take a good look at the bobbin case itself. Is it free from fluff and loose threads? Well if you have done any sewing at all recently the answer will most probably be NO (unless you have cleaned it already of course!) Get your small cleaning brush that came with your sewing machine and give it good clean out. Use a Q-Tip and wipe out any dirt and dust build up on the back of the case. Look at the thread tension bar on the outside of the bobbin case and check for trapped threads too. Use a pair of tweezers to get any small tails caught in this area.
Then when it is clean just give it the once over again and be happy you have a lint free bobbin!

Look how much lint I found in my bobbin today ... and that was after just one full bobbin of thread had gone through my machine!

So to keep your bobbin rotating freely and to avoid bobbin tension issues clean your bobbin each and every bobbin change!

So to recap ...todays tip is :

Clean your bobbin case EVERY bobbin change

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