The most important part of maintaining your sewing machines is to keep them clean and lubricated. Each machine should be wiped down daily with a clean rag to remove oil and dirt. The amount of use each machine gets will dictate the cleaning required. However, on at least a weekly schedule the moving parts should be cleaned with a small brush to remove dust, lint, dirt, and threads. An air hose or bottle is useful in blowing dirt out of places the brush cannot reach. Be careful when doing this as small particles can be propelled through the air and can strike the eyes. At the very least, the dirt can be blown onto other machines and work.

After cleaning, each machine should be lubricated to ensure smooth operation. For those machines which are self-lubricating, check the level and condition of the oil in the reservoir. For these machines, a #1 white oil, with a higher viscosity should be used. Depending on the amount of use, the oil should be changed every 6 months to a year. In no case should the oil be changed less than once a year. For machines that require manual lubrication, a #2 white oil should be used as it has a lower viscosity to better adhere to the moving parts. This should be done daily at the end of the workday. Oiling the machine at this time allows the oil to seep downward through the mechanisms and collect on the bottom. In the morning before use, take a clean rag and wipe off the excess oil so it does not stain the parachute materials. Pay particular attention to the shuttle race. Keeping this well lubricated will ensure smooth operation and a quieter machine. One item that tends to get overlooked is the bobbin winder. The shaft of the winder has a small hole in the top and a drop of oil should be added at least once a week to keep it free.


The most common attachment that the rigger will use is a tape folder or “binder.” This attachment folds tape, typically 3/4" Ty-3, used for binding the edges of container, bags, or any material needing an edge binder. Used in conjunction with a double needle machine, it folds the tape in half for a professional appearance and greatly speeds up the work.

[Figure 6-79] There are two types of folders. One is a straight folder where the tape is fed straight into the machine under the presser foot.

[Figure 6-80] This folder is used for most straight binding, has minimal adjustments, and is the least expensive usually costing around $35. The second type of folder is a right angle folder.

[Figure 6-81 on page 6-22] The best models of these are custom built by companies that specialize in attachments. They utilize special feed dogs, throat plates, and presser feet in addition to the folder. This type of folder is hinged to swing out of the way for changing bobbins. Most machines have several adjustments that allow for fine tuning the folder for optimum performance depending on the tape used. Folders cost several hundred dollars.

Another type of attachment is used to feed reinforcing tape such as 3/8" Ty-3 onto a canopy seam. This is a simple guide, which is attached to the presser foot and feeds the tape evenly to the needles. Yet another attachment is a seam folder used to make a French fell seam in canopy construction.

Figure 6-82 on page 6-22 shows both of the above attachments used in conjunction with each other. Over the years, the sewing industry has developed literally

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