Hi! Here I am, a new blogger, I’m a time served female sewing machine engineer for the last 12 years and still learning, I hope to help anyone with any machine problems they may encounter no matter how trivial they seem. Obviously without seeing the machine in the flesh, it will only be a guide to help. I’ve started my first blog with the type of questions we are asked all the time with the solutions. I’ll be using my cousin frequently for anything I can’t answer as he is my boss/teacher/mentor and been at the job for over 50 years as was his dad (and mine) before him.

Some basic questions & answers to help you give your machine some tlc:

Q: The last time I used my machine it was working but not great, got it out today, it’s missing stitches?

A:Firstly, replace your needle, making sure you insert it the correct way for your model as per the instructions. If that fails, remove the needle plate, clean between the feed dog, check there is no debris in the rotary hook or shuttle depending on model. Wind a new bobbin making sure the thread is running on the correct route from the cotton pin to the tension control so bobbin is wound evenly.

Q: How do I know if I should be using a metal or plastic bobbin?

A: In most cases, machines use plastic bobbins. Many shuttle bobbin cases have magnetic bases to catch stray needle tips or pins, the magnetic force from a metal bobbin can also slow the bobbin, creating an artificial tension.



Q: What should I use to oil my machine with and where do I oil it?

A:Use a mineral based iso 15 viscosity sewing machine oil like singer, small amounts, do not oil belts or motor & keep away from any circuit boards if your machine has them.

Q: How often should I get it serviced?

A:Assuming it is a domestic machine, ideally it should be done yearly with yourself giving it some tlc in between i.e. light oiling/cleaning etc. as advised in your particular machine’s instruction manual

Q: What size/type needle should I use?

A:10/70 – Light silks, 12/80 – Light cotton, 14/90 – Medium to heavy fabrics, 16/100 – Heavy drill, denim.      Then there are special needles for woven fabrics – Ballpoint.  Stretch/Lycra. Leather ball point for Leather.


Disclaimer: Advice given is general and without seeing the machine or fabric being used, should only be taken as general advice.


  1. Corinne Curtis

    I always used to self-maintain my old mechanical Husqvarna (21e, 1960’s). It has been serviced twice in its life (other than home maintenance). If I took it in to a service person, what could I expect them to do on this very old (but still working) machine that wouldn’t be part of my normal cleaning and oiling routine? In particular, would a qualified person do things like check belts, motor brushes, etc, and could I expect them to know if there were other oil points that needed less regular attention, particularly in a machine this age?

    1. Mandi Post author

      Sorry for late response! Especially previous one, didn’t see it there! I can only confirm what I do on a basic service and really it’s what any engineer should, we strip it, clean it out, blow it out with a compressor, check belts, fuses (in the plug etc) timing, feed timing, grease the gears, oil it (my motto, if it moves, oil it!) put it all back together, sew test, job done! With your dxl, you should also take the needle plate off and remove any gathered lint. The manual you got with the machine should have basic maintenance in there too. Just be careful with the piling because of the electrics!

      1. Corinne Curtis

        Thanks Mandi. I will be working on my Husqvarna myself now (having recently taken it somewhere where none of that was done, and the person didn’t even notice the tension knob assembly had been put back in the machine the wrong way round with take up spring on the wrong side!) . I already do remove the needle plate of the DXL603 regularly for de-fluffing. Not happy that the 603 came back from servicing with the needle drop position way off (now needs manually moving 2 positions to centre it), so might have to make a complaint there.

      2. Mandi Post author

        Sorry to hear of your bad experience, I’d definitely take it back, may even be worth getting a second opinion from elsewhere first for a report on it.

      3. Corinne Curtis

        If it had been one machine, I’d have taken it back, but same guy messed up four different machines, including leaving a puddle of oil in the bobbin case in the other DXL603. Definitely not giving him a second chance!

      4. Mandi Post author

        4 machines! That’s a big ouch and puts us other engineers to shame unfortunately, hopefully you’ll regain trust in others near to you, try and have a good google first or get feedback from others that you know that have had theirs serviced elsewhere.

  2. Corinne Curtis

    Great to have you blogging here. I used to happily maintain (including cleaning and oiling) my old 1960’s Husqvarna, and in 30 years it went to the serviceman once. I now have a computerised Janome (DXL603) that isn’t anywhere near as easy to access inside. Is there more I can do with self-servicing than just clean around the bobbin race? Is there a service manual I could obtain that would show me how I could do more?