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Prevent Sewing Machine Malfunctions And Protect Your Safety!
Debbie Colgrove
11/02/01

This past week I was volunteering to help in my daughter's class while they made Halloween crafts. One of the projects was bean bags and the children ended up sewing them by hand because the sewing machine that was brought in to the class room, decided to malfunction. The owner knows the machine was working fine the last time she used it but admitted she doesn't use it that often. That's a very familiar story for most sewing machine owners.

This machine decided it didn't need the foot control and would just keep running. The janitor took apart the foot pedal thinking there might be something in there that was making it stick, but that didn't solve the problem.

Knowing a bit about sewing machines I offered to take the machine home, look it over and hopefully find the problem. What I found is a VERY important safety issue and one that could have caused serious injury.

portable sewing machine caseAll portable sewing machines have a specific area where the wires to the plug and foot pedal should be fed through. It is very important to keep the wires going through that opening, even if everything seems to operate fine with the wire squeezed through another part on the case. In this case, the wire to the foot pedal was squeezed between the machine head and the case. It had been that way since it had been serviced by a reputable technician a few years before the problem surfaced.

When I lifted the machine head I discovered that the insulation on the wiring that leads to the foot pedal was stripped and making contact with the metal machine head, causing the foot pedal to "think" it was being powered. My husband is an electrician and used his knowledge to tape the stripped wire. We then found the proper opening to feed the wire through and tested the machine. The problem was solved.

The more I thought about this the more I felt I had to write about this problem and make everyone aware how important it is to treat the wires correctly and use the design of the machine to preserve them. There is a very good chance that if the plug wire had been the damaged wire, and there had been a chip in the enamel coating on the sewing machine head, someone could have been injured by straying electrical current. There is also the possibility that the machine, especially the new electronic machines, could have been permanently damaged by the unharnessed electrical current.

In this case my husband is an electrician and it was safe to allow him to make repairs. Electricity is a powerful and dangerous tool! Never attempt electrical repairs without the necessary knowledge. Please consider replacing any wire that has cracks in the covering, and especially wires that allow the copper to show through, for your own safety as well as anyone else who might come in contact with the machine.

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