Friday, October 17, 2008

The Most Important Part

The most important part on your sewing machine is the needle.

The needle is often overlooked, forgotten, abused, and troublesome.

I remember this old black cast iron Singer a customer brought in. She was bragging about how much sewing she had done on the sewing machine. She listed at least a dozen projects she had completed over the years. She said the machine just stopped making a good stitch. The tensions seemed all messed up. The fabric kept getting stuck. The threads would break. It just was a mess.

I set the machine up on the sewing machine repair bench. As usual, I reached over and took hold of the hand wheel. It seemed to turn freely.

Then I glanced down at the needle. "Oh, my gosh!" The needle was covered with red flakes of powdery dust.

I asked the customer, "How often do you change the needle?"

The customer proudly reponded, "I have never changed the needle. That is the original needle. It was there when I bought this machine forty years ago."

I did not say anything, but I was thinking pretty loudly.

The needle is the one part on a sewing machine that costs only a few pennies, but is worth big dollars in terms of quality stitching and satisfying sewing experiences.

Needles are the most common cause of sewing machine repair problems after faulty threading. Needle often get dull. They develop burrs. They bend and wear. They can even rust.

Solution: Change the needle every three to four hours of sewing. Change the needle after every second project. Change the needle when you change types of fabric. Change the needle whenever you are dissatisfied with the quality of your stitch. Change the needle before you begin sewing machine repair.

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