Just before you sit down to begin all those back to school and holiday sewing projects, it is a good time to take a moment to do some rountine maintenance on your sewing machine. If your like me, I normally don’t think to do anything with the machine other that sew with it until it decides not to work properly. The easiest thing to do to keep your machine running smoothly is do some cleaning. The bobbin area and the area around the feed dogs usually get clogged up with lint and need to be cleaned at least once every 3 months.
Since all sewing machines were not created equal, consult your user manual to see just exactly where to clean and how to get at it. Most times there is a screw or two in the plate where the feed dogs are that you must take out in order to clean in that area. The bobbin area could be in the same spot if you have a drop in bobbin. If your bobbin loads underneath then you probably have to raise the needle up to its highest point and push back a couple of levers on either side of the bobbin case. Be careful with the bobbin assembly and take note on how the pieces go together.
Take a lint brush (usually some come with your machine) and clean the areas. I like to open up the side of my machine that is above the needle assembly. This is where the lightbulb goes in on my Kenmore. Sometimes this area needs a bit of cleaning too. Most anywhere your thread passes through that you can get at is suspect for lint and potentially needs cleaning.
This would be a good time to oil your machine too. Use good quality sewing machine oil. Consult the book to see what areas need oil. You generally only have to put one drop of oil in each spot. Make sure to clean up any spills or runs because the oil can stain fabrics. You should oil your machine one a year (more frequently if you use it a lot) or else it could act sluggish or produce a knocking noise.
Find those manuals and do your yearly maintenance!