Sewing Machine Servicing

I recently took my sewing machine in for servicing and thought I’d take a moment to share the experience and the results.

This was the first time the machine was serviced since I bought it two and half years ago. What prompted me to take the machine in was a noticeable drag on the hand wheel on the side of the machine. Every once in a while, it would grind to a halt mid-turn. This post covers the items covered under the service and the project I completed after the machine was returned.

I left my machine at the local sewing store for two weeks. According to my receipt, the following checks were completed as a part of the service:

  • Timing
  • Critical sewing tolerances
  • Buttonhole
  • Balance and stretch stitch balance
  • Recalibrate upper and lower tensions
  • Solvent clean and lubricate critical internal components including motor
  • Detailed exterior clean
  • Oil and lubricate
  • Needle plate smoothed
  • Complete sew-test (see cover image for this post)

I tested out the value of this service by re-doing the skirt from my steampunk costume. The original skirt was poorly constructed because I was in a rush to finish it at 3am the day of SteamCon. The seams and the hemline were all uneven and ragged which made the skirt sit just as unevenly. I started by disassembling the skirt into its individual panels. I had a total of six panels since I also created a lining for the skirt (4 back panels, 2 front panels). I then proceeded to iron and pin the panels together so that I could trimmed the edges.


Once I had the clean pieces, I bought a yard of matching chiffon and followed the tutorial on Grainline Studios blog for working with chiffon and inserting a zipper with a free hanging overlay.

By the time I had completed the first seam, I was surprised by the improvement in my machine. The stitches flowed smoother and came out evener than it had before I took the machine in. Frankly, they were better than when I first bought the machine. The Auto setting for the thread tension did its job for the first time and adjusted according to the fabric. When I had worked with chiffon for the Nyan Cat costume, the stiches were never at the right tension and constantly pulled the threads within the fabric itself. You can see the quality of the stitches in larger pictures below.

In short, was the servicing worth it? Yes, my machine is working significantly better than before.

Would I do it again? Probably not for this machine. The servicing cost me roughly 150 dollars. Given that my machine only cost me $250, I might as well upgrade to something more fantastic when the time comes. I reduced the number of projects I work on in a year so I might be able to get another 2-3 years in before it needs to go in again.

Difficulty Intermediate
Completed July 2013
Pattern several rectangles for the waistband and chiffon
Fabric 1 yard Jo-Ann Fabrics biking red chiffon
Existing skirt from Steampunk costume
Notions 1 invisible barber red zipper
Total cost ~$10
Lesson learned Inserting a zipper with a free hanging overlay

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