How to Repair Singer Sewing Machines

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Some sewing machine repairs can be done at home, especially with older Singer sewing machines. If you have an older machine in need of work, or perhaps have inherited or purchased a vintage Singer sewing machine, learn the basic steps to take your machine from clanking and rattling to purring along. Repairing a mechanical Singer sewing machine is a useful do-it-yourself project.

Things You'll Need

  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Compressed air
  • Emery cloth
  • WD-40 or Liquid Wrench
  • Sewing machine oil
  • Old rags
  • Basic soap

Repair a Singer Sewing Machine

Determine the model of your sewing machine. Look on and under the machine for this information. Visit Singerco.com to purchase a manual if you do not have one. The manual will include schematics, threading diagrams and information on how to use your Singer sewing machine. This information can make it much easier to diagnose and repair your sewing machine.

Use the handwheel to make the needle rise and fall. Repeat this process with the foot pedal, treadle or knee press. Wind a bobbin and thread your sewing machine. Sew several test seams to assess the problems with your machine. The most common problem is a tight or sticking handwheel and machine movement.

Unplug your Singer sewing machine and dismantle it. Remove visible screws and take the machine apart as far as you are able. If the motor is mounted on the back of the machine, remove it. Repairing a Singer sewing machine, regardless of the problem, will start by taking apart the machine, cleaning it and oiling it.

Use tweezers to remove any loose threads from the bobbin area and threading assemblies. Compressed air may also be used in small amounts; however, you should be wary of pushing lint further into the machine.

Use a rag with a lubricant like WD-40 or Liquid Wrench to clean all accessible gears and moving parts. Wipe the lubricant away thoroughly and apply a drop of sewing machine oil on moving parts of the machine. Examine your Singer sewing machine carefully for broken gears or pieces. Check the belt, if visible, for signs of wear.

Use an emery cloth to smooth away any burrs or rough spots on the bobbin assembly or feed plate. Often a small burr can cause significant problems with thread breakage.

Reassemble you Singer sewing machine, assuming you cannot see any visible broken parts or damage. Try sewing with your machine again. If you have noted problems with the motor or gears, your local Singer repair shop may be able to order parts for you if you want to handle a more involved sewing machine repair on your own.

Use a mild solution of water and a basic soap, such as Dr. Bronner's or Ivory dish liquid, and a clean, well-wrung rag to wipe down the outside surfaces of your Singer sewing machine. Dry the sewing machine well. Very old machines may benefit from an application of sewing machine oil to the exterior of the metal sewing machine casing. Rub in well and wipe away the excess.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase a repair manual (see Resources) if you want to handle more complex Singer repairs.
  • Be sure to note where each screw goes on your Singer sewing machine when you dismantle it to allow for easy reassembly.

References

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