DIY :: Servicing our Sewing Machine

by flowers on November 19, 2009 · 10 comments

Congratulations to Tara who just won the turquoise earrings from noon. Thanks to everyone who participated and don’t forget to check back in on Monday for our next small business holiday give-away.


I just did something that felt really good.

1. I serviced my sewing machine DIY style.
2. I collaborated with Solshine on the project.

I’ve always brought my machine to be professionally serviced. (For no other reason than that’s what I’d always seen people do.) I hadn’t done so since moving to Ithaca, so when I started to hear a small squeak I panicked and referred to my yellow pages. When I couldn’t find a service there, I implored amongst playgroups, on local listserves and finally, I called Sew Green.

Sew Green is this awesome, local and non-profit group that is dedicated to teaching people how to sew, refurbishing old machines and sewing with recycled fabrics. The answer I got from them was, “Do it yourself!”


Now I’m good at doing a lot of thing myself–like birthing babies, home projects, making kombucha, and growing vegetables and such. But I have never been one to take apart small machinery.

Sew Green encouraged me to buy some oil, find a small brush and follow the directions in my manual. Sensing my hesitation, they told me I could come down for some moral support, but at that point I decided to put on my big girl underpants and get the job done.

I called on my trusty, yet small, sidekick Solshine who promptly arrived with his tool bag, his inherent curiosity of how things work and his enthusiasm for taking things apart.

We got to work.

Sewing Machine Maintenance

Sol unscrewed most of the screws and dusted of the machinery. I followed up with a second dusting and then oiled the points as shown in the simple, step-by-step instructions given in the manual.

sewing machine

Together we oooh’d and ahhh’d over the mechanics within the machine. We asked questions out loud. We turned the needle with the top open to see what happened between here and there. We found the motor and commented on how many pieces it takes to work that machine.

sewing machine 2

I’m really glad there was no one to do it for me. What at first seemed like a big pain turned into a rewarding and feel good experience. Now, when I push the pedal on the machine, not only does she whiz and hum, but I’m reminded to expand outside my comfort zone, to try new things and to reach towards a deeper sense of self-sufficiency.

I want my children to grow up feeling capable, approaching situations with curiosity and confidence and I know I need to model those very things if I wish to share those gifts with them. Working together with Solshine was fun and I love learning alongside him.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

jupiter November 19, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Excellent :) DIY is always so satisfying.
Years ago (YEARS ago…more than a decade) , the Sewing Machine Repairman only came to town once a month…and I was doing seamstress work at home so that didn’t exactly work for me if something went wrong. Gods bless that man, he gave me a crash course in sewing machine repair. I owe him.
.-= jupiter´s last blog ..Trying to get my mansions green, After I’ve Grey Gardens seen =-.


Imene November 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I have to service my machine and I would rather do it than drive and have someone do it for me
.-= Imene´s last blog ..WIP Wednesday =-.


exhale. return to center. November 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm

i have the same sewing machine and mine is in need of service. i’ve been calling around trying to find a place to bring it but now…i think i’ll give it a go myself!!!

thanks, as always, for the inspiration!!!!

.-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..a poem for papa =-.


miranda November 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Congrats on pushing those comfort zones! Feels good, doesn’t it?


Tara @ TheOrganicSister November 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Big *duh* for me too. And I totally chuckled at your underpants. ;)

I bought my machine used and don’t have my manual but I did find it online. I’ll have to check it out to see what’s needed. I think I might *need* to take it in because it’s old and funky and may be beyond simple repair. I hope not! It’d be great to DIMyself.
.-= Tara @ TheOrganicSister´s last blog ..Lessons with GG =-.


flowers November 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Jupiter-It’s probably the same guy who still only comes around once in a while. lol. So glad he hooked you up….what great skills.

Erin & Imene! Rock on! I’d love to hear you did it. We can start a movement. Mama Bloggers service your sewing machines! lol

Miranda- It’s always so uncomfortable at the beginning and then feels *so * good afterwards! When are you going to have a sewing night in your craft room? :-)


flowers November 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Tara- Is it broken or just need to be cleaned and oil? I just cleaned and oiled mine. If it needed repair I think I would need some extra help.

I would almost think older ones would be simpler, kwim?


Kate November 20, 2009 at 8:27 am

Geesh! I’d feel accomplished just learning how to USE sewing machine! ;)
.-= Kate´s last blog ..My Everyday Magic 11/19/2009 =-.


Leah November 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Sweet! Nice work and nice post :) Inspiring as always :) I had to take apart the bobbin and the casing around it and unscrew the plate for the foot (? is that what it’s called?) the last time I sewed b/c I got elastic stuck inside my bobbin case (ai yi yi!). It was an experience getting all the mechanics apart and back together. And you are right, it felt good!

I’d agree too that older machines are probably easier to work on. The machinery is more accessible and more straightforward. Kind of like how older cars are much easier to work on :)


kate November 21, 2009 at 5:01 pm

1) could that child be any cuter????
2) rock on for fixing it yourself.
3) the photos are beautiful.

hope you are feeling well!


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