Thank you all so much for your comments on yesterday’s post. I was heartened to find myself surrounded on one side by more slatterns, and on the other by saints. Spurred on by you all, I decided to take the middle road – a little tinker and clean at home, rather than a full-on service.
I thought you’d like to share the journey! It turned out to be … revealing. Of course, your machine may be different to mine, but I think we’ll all get the general idea.
First things first. A quick dust of the machine. It is VERY, VERY important to equip yourself with a duster that is as gaudy and ridiculous as possible with an unfeasibly long arm that actually makes cleaning more difficult. See above. Fortunately for me, my mother bought me a rose-patterned cleaning set a couple of years ago so I already had one. (Yeah, I get the hint, Ma!)
Take off any reels of thread, the bobbin case and the resting arm. Poke about amongst the equipment that arrived with your machine. You’ll probably find these two things:
Ickle brush and miniature bottle of oil. The cuteness!
The lesser spotted instruction manual
Following the instructions, I removed the feed plate by pressing on the rear right corner. Don’t be bashful. You’ll need to press hard.
Lift the plate to reveal…
Ahem, yes, well, you see… I mean, the thing is, um… You know, I’ve been really busy for the past two years, and… Okay, so shoot me! My sewing machine is a pit of dirt! I’m only human, forchrissakes.
So I set to with my ickle brush and a good pair of lungs to get rid of as much of the fluff as I could. It didn’t take long. It wasn’t difficult.
Next, I was instructed to remove the hook race and clean it. The what? Yeah, that’s what I wondered. Apparently, I had to push a release lever on the left. I pushed something and something else released. Again, not so hard.
Comment on the state of my nails and I WILL KILL YOU.
Then you reach in and pull out … the hook race. Wanna know what a hook race is?
A hook race, innit?
You then give it a drop or two of oil:
Squeezing a drop of oil proved to be the most challenging part of this process. Mainly, because I’d omitted to snip the top of the pipette open. Do as I say, not as I do, people! Snip the oil bottle open.
Put the hook case back, close the cover, insert your bobbin case, give the whole lot one last dust. I cleaned the fluff and grease away from the needle holder:
The shame! The shame!
Put a new needle in the machine:
Then rethread the machine and do a bit of sewing on a scrap to a) get rid of any residual oil and b) make sure your sewing machine still works.
Yep, still works!
Finally, the most charming reader tip came from LinB. She told me how she draped her machine with an old silk scarf when she wasn’t sewing. How lovely! I don’t have spare silk scarves hanging around, but I did have an off cut from a recent make:
Aw. Why wouldn’t you protect your machine from dust if it meant gazing at a sight as lovely as this?
I feel all saintly now – and liberated. I hadn’t attempted this exercise for two whole years because I was afraid. It’s technology, innit? But turns out this was yet another thing I had no reason to fear. Who knows what I’ll attempt next? Bunji jumping? Sky diving? Streaking at this year’s Wimbledon?
Watch this space. Or don’t. You may not have the stomach for white, wobbly flesh that hasn’t seen the sun in six months…