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Bobbins and Thread

October 6, 2012

When my sewing machine needs to be serviced I take it to Bob – the one and only person I’m willing to let service my machine.  I’ve purchased all my machines from him and he’s been in the business forever (35 years I think?) and although he’s retired, still services machines once or twice a week for a few hours.

So earlier this month when my machine was making a huge racket AND it couldn’t sew a zigzag correctly, even after I used every trick in the book, I took it to Bob take a look at it.  A couple hours after dropping off my machine, Bob calls and tells me my machine is ready to be picked up and there will be no charge – IF I promise to start oiling my machine, using the right bobbins AND stop using junky thread.

Pay $80 in service fees four times a year (rather than my standard two), or be obedient and make some small changes.  Hummm … yeah, I’m finally listening and opting to be obedient.


Bob show me how to oil my machine … something I should be doing after 6-8 hours of sewing.  10 years I’ve had that machine and I’ve never oiled it.  Never.  Do you have any idea how many hours of sewing I do in a year!  No wonder that poor machine was clanking around.  

Apparently my machine can’t use the bobbins that look identical to Bernina bobbins that I can purchase by the dozen at the fabric store.  Oh no.  No.  No, I need the $2 bobbins from the Bernina shop.  $2 each.  I will be obedient.  It will save me in the long run.

I went through all my bobbins.  All of them.  I unwound and put all the non-Bernina bobbins in a baggie.  20 went in a find-a-new-home baggie, and 6 went back in my bobbin holder.  I’m not sure how long 6 bobbins is going to last me … maybe Santa will order me a couple dozen for Christmas (BTW Santa, purchase these online (>$1/bobbin), and not from the Bernina store, xxoo).

I’m also clearing out my thread and migrating over to Mettler thread.  This is probably the hardest.  I have jars and jars of spools and spools of beautiful thread, leftovers from years of sewing projects.  But I’ve finally decided to phase out the old thread.  Throw out spools with just a few yards left, or colors I will never likely sew with again, use up remaining spools and only purchasing Mettler when I need new thread.  Thankfully, my local Hancock carries a nice selection of Mettler thread and occasionally puts it on sale.  Why do you ask am I needing to use a different brand of thread?  Isn’t thread, thread?  Apparently, other thread companies, including Gutterman, have started using materials that cause a lot of lint and make it hard for your machine to stay clean and run properly.

So there you have it.  Here’s to fewer trips to the repair shop and here’s to a happier, healthier sewing machine!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2013 9:29 am

    My machines are picky about bobbins too! They key to getting by on just a few bobbins is to never fully wind it. Wind only enough thread to finish your project (except white-load that one up). It is a bit of a pain, but it makes it easier.

    Have never heard of Mettler- will have to look for it the next time I’m out. I thought I was being good by phasing out coats/clark thread for Guttermans! sigh.

    Yes, OIL YOUR MACHINE. It will make a huge difference in how smoothly and quiet it runs. I oil mine every few months, you have to be careful though, too much oiling can cause problems too.

  2. February 24, 2013 9:00 pm

    heh – my Bernina manual explicitly says not to oil the machine… the Bernina lady said to oil it anyway 🙂

    I recently switched to my mother’s Bernina from my 25 year old Kenmore that was never serviced (and oiled once), and I feel like it’s the adage about a Jaguar – nice car when it’s not in the shop. Sure, it’s great when it’s treated with kid gloves and taken in for regular tune-ups that cost as much as a cheap machine… I do like the buttonhole function, the fancy feet, and the embroidery stitch options, but I miss my workhorse that I didn’t have to spend constant money on or take special care of! Too bad my mother doesn’t want to trade back…

    • February 27, 2013 8:40 pm

      I should clarify to say that my Bernina guy told me to put one drop of oil (Bernina oil only) right at the bottom of the cradle that holds the bobbin case and rocks back and forth. Nowhere else. It does make a world of difference. It cuts down on the noise significantly when I clean and oil the cradle after 8 hours of sewing.

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