Taking Care of Your Tools

Every year we focus on cleaning up and organizing our sewing room, but what about all of our nifty tools and gadgets? Let’s talk about the top five steps to take today to take care of your tools so you can keep stitching.

Do basic care and cleaning of your machine in between its annual maintenance.

Each machine has its own needs in between trips to the shop for annual maintenance, refer to your machine’s manual to get specific details to what the manufacturer recommends. We recommend not to use wet cloths or canned air, we don’t want to introduce water to mechanical or computer parts. Start by removing your pressure foot, needle, needle plate, and the bobbin case and/or hook to be able to have access to your bobbin area. Use a small machine brush to remove any fuzz that’s accumulated in this area. Small tweezers are also helpful to get to hard into hard to reach places. Follow machine manufacturer recommendations on where to apply oil if any.

Clean the fuzzies off of your cutting mat.

Self healing cutting mats will last a long time but only if they’re wiped off regularly. You can use this Martelli Mat Scrubber to pick up lots of the stray fibers on your mat. Brush away the debris, then gently wipe over the mat with a damp cloth in circular motions and let dry flat.

Get your scissors sharpened.

Before you pull out that scissor sharpener, make sure the scissors you’re thinking of are ones that can be sharpened. If they have a serrated edge, think of a bread knife, then sharpening them will ruin the scissor. Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Scissors cannot be sharpened

If your scissors are not serrated, get to it! Or use a local knife and scissor sharpening service.

Clean your iron.

We love to use these Iron Clean sheets to get fusible web and other sticky residues off the sole plate of our irons.

Personally we prefer not to use water in our irons but if you like to remember, residue can build up and cause the steam function in your iron to not work as it should. We recommend you always check the manufacturer recommendations when deciding how to clean those irons but one suggestion is to fill the reservoir with a half cup of white vinegar and a half cup of distilled water. Plug in and turn on the iron with the steam setting on. Over an old towel, press the steam button at full blast until the steam stream is back to normal, you can possibly expect some nasty stuff to come out so make sure you are protecting your ironing surface.. Turn off the iron and let it cool. Once cool, make sure you empty out the vinegar mixture from the reservoir!

Create a storage system that keeps your tools in great shape when they’re not in use.

The last thing you want is to have all these cool tools and then not be able to use them because you stored them wrong! Cutting mats should always be stored flat; under the couch or the bed is a great place to put them if they’re not in use. Hanging embroidery hoops makes sure they don’t get bent. Sharp smaller objects like small scissors or seam rippers can be stored in a small box like a pencil case to make sure they don’t fall off a table and get out of alignment.

Bonus: Can you remember the last time you changed the blade in your rotary cutter or the needle on your machine? Go do it now!