DIY Machine Cleaning -
Can we reshape an industry?
You’ve been tempted to take the covers off your sewing machine, to see what’s in there, haven’t you? I bet some of you have even tried it when something was going on with your machine and you were sure you could figure it out if you could just get inside.
I know, because some of you HAVE done it, then brought it to me to put back together.
Before I was servicing machines, I had to have my machine serviced, too.
And I hated it. I hated it for the same reasons you do – giving up my machine for the standard 6 weeks at most places (if you’re lucky!) really sucks. It costs money, and while necessary to keep your machine in good condition, it just feels… well, who wouldn’t want to spend that money on fabric instead? It has always felt like you should only have to part with your beloved only when something is really wrong, right?
Since Hancock’s closed, countless numbers of small towns in rural America have lost the one and only independent service shop they had. What’s left are a few old sewing machine guys on the verge of retiring, and dealers. And while dealers have their worth and place in this world, they do not approach machine service the same way the independent technicians do, am I right?
That means many, many people have to drive hours to find someone to handle their routine service, which means time, money, travel, and, did I mention losing your machine for weeks or months?
In most cases, machines really just need cleaning and lubrication to keep them in tip-top working condition. Yes, they often need timing and other minor adjustments, but in truth, most just need cleaning and lubrication.
Can you imagine having the knowledge, ability, and guidance to take the covers off, clean it out, check your computer connections, and lubricate it yourself? At your convenience? In your own home? At 5 in the evening or 3 in the morning? And only take it in when something is actually wrong?
I can tell you now, the industry isn’t going to like me for this.
But this is something that weighs on me constantly. From the bottom of my heart, I truly believe in empowering people to do things they are capable of, and with the right knowledge, I KNOW this is something you can do as well.
As you may know, the Sewing Doc Academy is just getting underway. It is geared toward hobbyists that want the knowledge of fixing and restoring machines, but also for those interested in a full-on career or side gig in servicing machine. Eventually there will be franchise opportunities to provide independent service again!
But the Remove Your Covers program… this is for everyone.
This series is meant to teach home sewists how to clean and lubricate their machines to keep them running, extend their life, and stay armed with more knowledge to avoid spending time and money unnecessarily. I’m not implying that dealers are trying to pull one over on you, per se, I’m saying that this industry has been working one way for eternity, and that way is not at all designed in your favor. The less knowledge you have, the more power they keep. Let’s work on shifting this paradigm together.
In 2019, we’ll start rolling out this series as quickly as we can.
What does this mean?
We’ll start producing a video series, each one centered around a certain family of machines – for example, the following Singer Heavy Duty models are all similar:
4452 – 4432 – 4423 – 4411 - 44s – 5511 - 5523
Each “family” of machine is almost the same in mechanics except for a few minor feature changes. So one video class will be made for that family teaching you how to clean, lubricate, and deal with minor issues. We’ll do this for just about very brand and model of machine.
But won’t this put you out of business?
I think this will be the most-asked question as word spreads. I’m sure I’ll see a drop on machine service, but these are NOT full service or repair classes – they will not address the bigger issues such as timing adjustments and repairs. But also, the main reason people do not service their machines as often as they should is because of time, money, and travel. Which means those most interested in this program likely aren’t having their machine serviced often enough anyway. Then those machine die faster due to lack of care.
Besides, this isn’t about my business.
This is about you taking charge of the care and feeding of your machine.
I know you’re curious about what something like this will cost. There is a lot of work ahead to produce this program and roll it out, so I can only estimate that you can expect to pay around $39 for a class on a basic mechanical machine (such as the Singers listed above) to around $109 for a fancier, computerized, high-end machine. But think about this – in our reasonably-priced service shop, service for a mechanical machine is $67 and service for a computerized machine is $82. Let that sink in. We also plan to cover sergers and embroidery machines, and as we find easy fixes to common issues with each family of machine, we’ll add those in.
Oh, and when you purchase Remove Your Covers classes, you have access to them for life. It’s a one-time purchase, and eventually, you can have a subscription access pass to the whole kit and caboodle. Not only that, there will be options for extra support and technical help.
I promise you, this isn’t a pipe dream.
This is my promise to you that independent sewing machine technicians will not die with the information on how to keep your favorite machine going without being pressured into an upgrade you probably weren’t ready for.
Join me on this mission. Please help me spread the word, as there is power in numbers. One very kind supporter said to me recently:
“[Dealers] might be slow to change, but one machine at a time
you will change us, so we can change them.”
Do you believe that to be true? Together, can we make such a change?
Below is a form that will help us formulate a roll out – I PROMISE YOU, I will never spam you or sell your information. This form is to add you to our mailing list so that you can be informed of our progress and the roll out of these classes. The other questions are to help us gauge the machine classes in the highest demand.
Would you also consider sharing this page with your sewing friends to help spread the word?