Cleaning my Brother XL-5021 Sewing Machine.
My sewing machine has been struggling with feeding fabrics for a while now. I thought it was because it was getting old and it particularly had difficulties with stretch/knit fabrics. I changed the needle a few times which improved the stitch quality but I still felt there was something not quite right. I began to think that I might really need a new machine.
I did some research on feed dogs and found plenty of articles telling me that they are adjustable and there may be a switch to lower or heighten the machine's feed dog. I decided to remove the needle plate and have a look inside incase there was a magic button or at least some means of making an adjustment. Well I didn't find a magic button but I did find a lot of lint!
I often clean out the bobbin site, probably because I am more aware of the lint and threads that accumulate there as I'm often accessing this area. I remove the detachable components and brush it out with an old make-up brush.
I used to oil my machine when I used it in the UK but the little bottle that came with it was long finished. Strangely, the local haberdashery shops here don't sell machine oil. I mentioned this to a fabric shop owner and he gave me his. Admittedly, the bottle sat on my shelf for a good 6 months but after my needle plate lint discovery I felt that now was the time to get oiling. I checked my manual and was shocked to read that the machine should be oiled once a week if it is used more than one hour a day. Whoops!
After cleaning and oiling I ran some fabric through the machine and I really could not believe the difference! It was running smoothly, not skipping stitches and so much more quiet.
I couldn't believe I was contemplating a new machine whereas in reality all it needed was a good clean. I am now making sure that I clean and oil my sewing machine regularly - perhaps I'll get another 20 years out of it!