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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

A Little TLC for Your Machine

Many embroiderers ask how to maintain their embroidery machine. It is always best to get a quick lesson from your machine dealer on how to properly care for your machine. A guided tour of the inside of the machine bed by an experienced machine repair person will give you added confidence when tackling this on your own. However, I’m happy to share what I do to keep my machines in tiptop shape.

Prepare the machine to be cleaned. Turn the machine off. Remove the foot and needle. Remove the bobbin cover and throat plate. If you’ve never done this before, take a photograph of the bobbin basket in the machine bed BEFORE you remove it. Use the photograph as a reference when reinserting the basket.

Remove the bobbin and the basket. Yikes! Talk about airing your dirty laundry!

Take a pipe cleaner and bend the tip over about 1″. Twist the double layer to smooth into one form.

Clean the between the toes of the feed dogs.

Swipe the inside of the bobbin area and around the perimeter of the bobbin area.

Rotate the hand wheel a half turn and swipe the area again. Remove any fuzz from the pipe cleaner before sticking it back into the machine. If there are some stubborn fibers, place one drop of oil on the tip of the piper cleaner. Make sure the pipe cleaner absorbs most of the oil and continue to swab the inside of the basket. Finish by wiping the basket with a clean pipe cleaner – oil free – to collect any excess oil.

Reinsert the bobbin basket and bobbin. Screw the needle plate back in position and snap the bobbin cover in place. Your machine is now ready to stitch for hours of embroidery enjoyment!




  • Jean Beckstrom

    Comment about embroidery that men are wearing: I am lucky to have a very adventurous husband who will wear nice embroidery on his clothes. On his travel jacket which is a lot like others wear, he likes good bold initials or his name which is short (Ed). For last Thanksgiving I made him a large combined design for across the entire front of his bright orange sweat shirt. It had a cute Turkey dressed in a pilgram’s hat, leaning on a sign which said “Eat Beef”. A nice horn of plenty and reversed horn flanked each side of the turkey. Underneath these designs were three pairs of fall leaves narrowly outline stitched in brown with a deep golden color lightly stitched around the veigns with a lot of the orange shirt showing through. It looked great with the combined design for lots of great comments which he bragged on me for the work. Christmas saw him wearing stacked riendeers (tree shaped) with Xmas tree lights and wreaths in their antlers. Mardi Gras saw him wearing fanciful masks, halloween ghosts, pumpkins and wasking mummies. He is fun to sew for.

  • Jean Beckstrom

    Reply about the machine cleaning: I teach people to put the items they remove during cleaning in a line in the order they came off. It is easy to replace them in the correct order by going in reverse when the cleaning is finished.

  • Jean Beckstrom

    Comment on oversized bags: I’ll go for medium. I like to be able to find what I am looking for quickly and I take only absolute necessities. Have you stood in line at a check out while people look for money, cards, or checkbooks all the while unloading half of their “unnecessary” necessities on the counter? Funny if you are not in a hurry. I spent 23 days in Turdey and found that the Turkish women are hooked on oversized bags and have them stuffed to the brim. They are going to have one shoulder lower than the other, no doubt. I became very wary of these bags during my 23 days of travel walking through crowded market places, musieums, historic sites and so forth. I felt like a battered tourist as they plowed through with these “dolmouch” bags never realizing they were pushing you off a curve or down the steps or just off balance. Dolmouch means “stuffed” in Turkish. So there you have it. I do not like the large bags, but I had the most wonderful time touring all over the wonderful and interesting country of Turkey. I highly recomment the destination. (But maybe you should consider your own defensive “dolmouch bag”.)

  • Sherrie

    I have done a ball cap and fishing cap. He is not into having any typr of embroidery on his clothes. So I save that for the girls and the house.

  • Nancy

    Comment about what men will wear. Hubby just likes it plain and simple, a nice monogram on the cuff thank you very much. However, and much to my surprise and delight, one of my grown sons LOVES big, bold, applique. Especially anything to do with the fraternity he belonged to in college. Since I don’t have any daughters this is my little reward from the sewing gods.

  • jane moffitt

    my husband is outdoor man love fishing & eagles. his embriodery is fish & eagles, salmon is his favorite.