Hall Of Shame...

On this Page, you will find pictures of sewing machines who have been abused, or neglected or who have been the victims of "User Error."  It ain't pretty!  You can click on the photo for a better view.

What's wrong with this picture?  See the sticky label on the spool?  It's stuck on the spool pin, and will cause drag as the spool unwinds.  Also, the spool cap is on backwards.  The smooth side of the cap should be next to the spool.  Whenever possible (despite whether it's cross-wound or not), use the vertical spool pin.  It just feeds the thread better.

You need to see this as a bigger image.  Not only are there an assortment of pins and needles, there's a 6" needle behind the left side of the pulley, and a lovely miller moth.


This machine was froze-up.  Do you see what I see?   How does thread get behind there?  It took me a little while to find the problem.  Then it took about 20 minutes to remove the thread.

I don't know what she was sewing on, but it's pretty gummy in there.

Yes, YOU really do need to clean under your needle plate!

Yes, YOU really do need to clean under your feed dogs!  Her complaint, "stitch #36 doesn't work."

"I didn't even know that part came off!"

 On top-loading (drop-in) bobbins, you should be comfortable with removing the needle plate and bobbin case.  This should be cleaned out and oiled every-once-in-a-while.
"It's alright to sew over pins, right?"
 I've seen the bent pin under the bobbin case several times.  As you can imagine, the machine doesn't sew very well with a bent pin underneath the bobbin case.  The lint doesn't help either.
"I didn't know I was supposed to clean the bobbin area!"
 With an oscillating bobbin, you need to clean and oil the bobbin area about every 3 hours of sewing time.  
That includes the feed dogs underneath the needle plate.

Here are some good reasons to 
get your machine serviced regularly.
"My machine sounds really rough."
 After so much sewing, the driver gear can get packed with greasy lint.  It really makes your machine sound bad, and can damage the gears on some machines.
"I don't remember the last time I brought it in for a service."
Please don't go more than 5 years without a service.

"I sew EVERY day!"

If you sew every day, get your machine serviced every year.
"My husband used the same oil that he uses on his car."
 Only use clear "sewing machine" oil.

 "My machine won't sew through 2 layers of denim."
The orange pieces are chunks of her lower belt. 

Wouldn't you notice if this much thread was... just gone?

All those fuzzies were packed inside this one bobbin area!  
As you can imagine, she was complaining about her stitch quality.


  1. We are amazed every time we encounter one of these situations. My grandmother in particular. She has been sewing & quilting for YEARS. We sold her belongings last summer so they could move to Florida. I brought the sewing machine home. I was ashamed of her! I was surprised. I guess I assumed she knew to clean out the lint. Her machine was one of the dirtiest that we've ever encountered.

  2. There are so many times when just a quick clean and oil of the bobbin area would take care of the problem. It does amaze me when people don't realize this simple thing.

  3. A picture is worth a thousand words...more true than ever as I look at these pictures. Wow...I wish I was a sewing machine mechanic. :)

  4. I am always amazed by how much lint is in my machines after just a short amount of time. Since I rotate through the machines in my collection, I'm always cleaning and oiling them. I do have my grandmother's sewing machine that is locked up tight, I haven't opened it up yet but I'm sure it will look like much of the pictures above.

  5. Sounds like you take good care of your machines! When a sewing machine is locked up tight, it's usually the old oil that has turned into glue. To remove the old oil, we use WD-40. Then work the hand wheel and knobs until they're loosened, then run the machine. When everything is moving, remove the WD-40 and re-oil. We use an air compressor to remove the WD-40. You may need to use a can of air and some flannel rags. Keep up the good work!

  6. These machines look like some of the ones I have cleaned. I never thought of taking pictures of what I removed and how clean they can be when it is finished, but I will say a picture is worth a thousand words for certain.

  7. i just found your blog and I have to say I am very happy I did. Bless your heart, have you ever heard (I just step on the pedal and sew :) keep up the good work.

  8. This made my day! Thank you!

  9. I was taught to sew in middle school, not once did we discuss maintenance!

    1. Same Here. My Mom had told me a few things, but I found out how to take parts off through trial and error and lack of money to take to shop. This is a Great Blog

  10. I am So Happy I found this blog. My clutch stopped disengaging for the bobbin winder when I had about 20 hours to go to finish a quilt for a Christmas present. I was taking the needle out to wind the bobbin and was going to take it to the shop in Jan. Something in my head told me in the middle of the night to check the internet first.....Your instructions were SO thorough and in less than an hour had it up and working. While I had it apart I cleaned and oiled all the Grunge out. There had been 3 quilts made since it was cleaned good. Thank You, Thank You from the Bottom of my Heart

  11. Thanks, Vickie! I hope you got your quilt finished in time.

  12. One of my favorite things has always been to clean and oil my machine. But I never knew how to take the top off my 930...and now i do! thank you, so much. sandy

  13. Thanks for the fun! I do my best to remove lint and oil my machines on a regular basis. Just bought a new foot pedal for my old Singer Zig Zag machine and went to wind up a bobbin. Found your site looking for a way to fix the little "hand" that stops the bobbin went it's full. One or more of my daughters used this machine in their teens and I have never been able to figure out how they managed to loosen this from the machine-it won't tighten and stay in place. Your site has given me the courage to dig in and figure this little mystery out. Thanks!

  14. As I searched Google Images, there are several different Singer Zig-Zag machines. They all look like the plastic wonders that you can’t take the top off of. If you could take the top off, you would probably find a nut on the bottom of the “hand.” If you could remove the nut and add a lock washer, that might keep it in place.

  15. I have a Singer Golden Touch and Sew, Model 758. Just wondering if the rubber feed dogs can be replaced with metal.

  16. Hi Texas Mom,

    There is a metal replacement for your feed dogs. The Brewer part number is M181843. The retail price is $3.20. You could probably get any sewing machine shop to order them for you.

  17. Thanks! I am thrilled that I found your site. You are a wonderful resource.