Today I got up and was so very excited to start work on sewing a special outfit for Pen. Then it dawned on me that the last time I used my sewing machine and serger I sewed very linty fabric which meant both my machines probably could use at least a good dusting. My serger also was in need of new blades. The current ones were limping along acceptably but they were not working like they used to.
As much as I wanted to charge ahead on my new project, I needed to put on my grownup sewist pants and clean my machines. Boo!
I mean… Yay!
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My biggest sewing machine cleaning tip ever: Sewing machines have odd crevices and because of those crevices I’m with the NO canned air crowd. I’m sure canned air fans would argue their support but I LOVE my Micro Vacuum Attachment Kit*for my household vacuum cleaner. That kit can do no wrong! They kits are not that expensive as well. You need to own one!
Just like the name says, they tools are micro vacuum attachments* attachments that, aided by the included adapter, fit on the hose of an ordinary household vacuum.
My favorite attachment in the set is the tiny brush that is perfect for cleaning off linty bits from a sewing machine. I also use the same attachment to clean both my desktop and laptop keyboards. The set also comes with a slightly bigger brush that works well for the exterior of your sewing machine or things like upholstery crevices in the car.
The included hose extension makes it easier to get up close to things. It also reduces suction to levels where you still pick up dusty bits but you are not absorbing your sewing machine with the intensity of a black hole.
Another quick tip that I often use while cleaning: I do not own one of those fancy screwdrivers with a movable head. When I’m trying to get a screw in a hard to reach place, I use pliers and the proper sized bit from my screwdriver set.
I’ve been sewing with the same set of blades on my Brother 1034D since I bought the machine about 2 years ago. Yes, this machine is about as old as this blog! The upper and lower blades are not something you need to replace all that often, unless you have some sort of mishap, but at one point or another you make notice things are not cutting as cleanly as it used to.
It is way easier than it sounds. The most complicated thing for me was finding the replacement blades. Amazon had a great deal on a set of both upper and lower serger blades* that qualified for Prime shipping. Yay! I worried I’d have to order something that would take weeks for it to arrive on my doorstep.
With the Sew Kitty knife set*, you not only get the upper and lower blades but also a robust lint cleaning brush and a cat trading card. I have to admit that the cat trading card totally made my day!
Disclaimer: If you have any doubts about fiddling around with your machine. Don’t do it. If you follow any of my instructions or those given in any links I’ve posted, do so at your own risk.
Step 1: Unplug your serger. Safety first!
Step 2: Flip the switch to disengage the blade.
Step 3: Take a look at how each blade is positioned and where the screws are. It does not really matter which order you remove the blades but removing them both at this step makes it easier to get the lower blade back in.
Detour: With the blades both removed it makes it super easy to get into a couple of sneaky areas for cleaning!
Step 4: Install your brand spanking new lower blade. The proper direction is pretty self-explanatory but I noted it just to make things extra clear.
Step 5: With the lower blade secured you can now install your upper blade. I had to carefully use my finger to keep it from leaning too much towards the needle plate. Just a smidgen. After the upper blade is in place very GENTLY advance the wheel to make sure that the upper blade does not hit the needle plate. If it does, loosen the screw, adjust the blade, and tighten again.
Not too long after I purchased my Brother 1034D I accidentally sewed over a pin. The resulting noise was horrible and I thought for sure I broke something importing but after an inspection the machine kept sewing like nothing happened. You can see in the above photo the spots where the steel blade got chipped by my little accident. Definitely not a good idea to serge over pins!
Changing the blades on your Brother 4 is just that easy! If you do not own a Brother41030D like me, the procedure is similar enough with other models though everything might not look exactly the same.
Products mentioned in this post I purchased using my research and money. Any affiliate links in this post (marked with an *) may one day generate enough commission where I can buy the kids an ice cream cone but do not influence my support of any product linked to in this post. You can read the full disclosure over here.