We may live in an age of ‘fast fashion’ and throwaway culture, but many people realise this is unsustainable in an age when recycling and making the most of our resources is an environmental imperative.
To an older generation, the idea that you don’t throw things away so readily became ingrained for a different reason; because economic necessity ensured folk had to make things last.
The use of sewing machines was a part of this, of course, because repairing existing clothes always offered an alternative to going out and buying new ones. But whether your sewing machine is being used to repair existing items or help stitch together new ones, you might consider the question of how long the machine itself will last.
According to Sewing is Cool, just how long anyone can expect a sewing machine to last depends first and foremost on the quality of the model. Many if not most sewing machines are not built to last and their lifespan is around five years.
However, it noted, some high-quality machines are designed for longevity and in these cases, it is possible for them to still be in use 40 years after they threaded their first stitch in a piece of cloth. Some modern computer models last for 25 years.
Clearly, therefore, the first issue is the machine you buy in the first place. One that lasts a long time will help justify the investment, as well as ensure that you have to spend less time looking for a new one after an untimely malfunction at the end of the device’s working life.
Ensuring your machine does last, however, will depend on some smart and regular maintenance. In this respect, it is the same as any other machine, such as a car; you need lubricants and periodic repairs, with some parts needing to be replaced or fixed if they wear out or get damaged.
Some elements will last longer depending on what material they are made of. For instance, metal feed dogs will not last forever, but they will outlast those made from plastic or rubber.
Although there are a few self-lubricating machines in existence, in most there is a need for a small number of moving parts to be oiled. You should always hang on to your user manual and follow the instructions on where exactly to oil the machine and how much you need, taking care to wipe away any excess.
It is important to make sure you never use anything other than sewing machine oil for this purpose, because other substances can cause damage and impede performance. Some substances will not work properly as a lubricant, while others can degrade machine parts made from substances like plastic or rubber.
Just as you would take extra care with a top-of-the-range car compared to an old banger, so it is with a high-quality sewing machine. By giving it the TLC it needs, you may get many long years of high-performance usage from it.