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Sewing machine repair training class click here

Learn how to service sewing machines through hands on training and open a profitable business or save money on your own repairs.

This is not a book, video or home study course.

This course is the same type of "hands on" training offered to authorized sewing machine dealers

Shipping Sewing Machines

NOTE: There are many sellers who do know how to pack a sewing machine for safe shipping, and will accept responsibility for their packing method. However, the buyer will never know until the sewing machine arrives and it's too late to ask questions.

Over half the sewing machines we buy arrive with damage caused by poor packaging.

Buyers, if you plan to buy a sewing machine, make sure the seller agrees to package it properly according to the carriers minimum packing requirement, and agrees to assume responsibility for their packaging, BEFORE you buy.

More sellers now answer with "I package well and have never had a problem." Maybe they have shipped numerous pillows or cast iron paperweights without damage. Your next question should be: How many sewing machines have you packaged and shipped?

, the insurance you pay for will cover a lost package or one that arrives with tire tracks, but it WILL NOT cover damage due to a poorly packaged machine.

The typical disclaimer "I am not responsible for shipping damage" usually indicates the seller has had a high number of damage claims and should set off a loud warning bell. It simply means the seller will not assume any responsibility for their packing, and you, the buyer, must agree to accept the loss IF the seller doesn't pack it well. Always have a clear understanding who is responsible if the sewing machine is damaged due to poor packaging and the carrier denies the insurance claim ............BEFORE you buy.

Also, NEVER assume the "professional" third party shippers know how to package a sewing machine. Many times, the buyer pays a rediculous premium for so called "professional" packing and the machine still arrives in pieces mixed among a few loose styrofoam peanuts.

Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware)

Damage caused by poor packaging.

The damaged machine shown above was shipped in the portable case without sufficient packing between the machine and case. In addition to the motor damage, the foot control, spool pin and bobbin winder were broken and the loose accessories caused numerous chips to the machine finish. The portable case was destroyed. This damage could have been prevented with about $3.00 in bubble wrap.

This is two valuable original Elna foot controls. These are hard to obtain in good condition because most have been damaged by being dropped or shipped with no protection (Allowed to bang around inside the machine or box). This damage could have been prevented in both cases with 50 cents in bubble wrap around the control.

This Elna was damaged by loose packing, including wadded newspaper and empty cardboard boxes. The damaged parts included most of the parts our customers need when they receive a similarly damaged machine. This damage could have been prevented with $3.00 in bubble wrap around the machine, then packed tightly so the machine could not move around within the box.

There is no excuse for any seller to pack like this!

If a sewing machine can move around in the box or if anything rattles after packing, it WILL be damaged when it arrives. If the foot control and other loose parts are not padded, they WILL arrive broken and damage the machine.
Well padded and tight packing are the key words!

Remember: Insurance from USPS, UPS or any other carrier will not pay for damage if the machine is not packaged to their published minimum guidelines. The seller  has a legal obligation to package so your item arrives undamaged. If the box shows damage or rattles when shaken, have the delivery person to note the damage, then file a dispute with ebay, contact the attorney general in the sellers state, or proceed with legal action. Do not allow the seller to avoid responsibility because they packaged poorly or failed to insure for a lost package.

I have shipped over 100 sewing machines, well padded/ tightly packed and never had one arrive with shipping damage.

 Sellers, think of it this way. If I kick it down the stairs, would it survive without damage? If the answer is yes, ship it. If the answer is no, re-pack it or be prepared to pay the buyer for their loss.

Safe packaging for an Elna inside the steel case
This Elna 62 was received from a reliable ebay seller and packaged by one of the few reliable third party shippers.
Click on image for a larger picture

The original Elna shipping screws to bolt the machine securely inside the case. Almost all Elna's shipped without these screws will arrive damaged. They are metric screws about 1/2" long and available at most hardware stores, or you may contact me to buy the original screws.

Foot control is wrapped in bubble wrap and fitted tightly inside the machine opening.
NOTE: This is a must. The original elna foot control straps inside the case may break during shipping and allow the control to bang around, breaking the control and the machine. Additional bubble wrap in front of the machine, to protect it from any possible contact with the case, was removed for this photo.

Steel case wrapped in bubble wrap and securely taped.

Peanuts used only to fill small voids and assure a tight fit inside the solid styrofoam so nothing can move around.

1" styrofoam cut to fit the box.

The secret to safe packaging for sewing machines is to pack it tight so nothing can move around and pad everything well. Also parts/accessories must not be allowed to come in direct contact with the machine, as vibration from moving trucks will cause constant rubbing, resulting in paint damage. This method works well for light weight sewing machines such as the Singer featherweights or Elna Lotus machines.

NOTE: Air pillows (plastic bags filled with air) used to protect the machine, will guarantee the machine will be destroyed. You gently set the package on the shippers counter. Minutes later, your package, stamped "FRAGILE" is tossed across the room onto the concrete, bursting the air pillows and punching a hole in the box. The package continues it's journey while the machine slams around and broken parts exit the hole in the box.

Loose styrofoam peanuts alone will shift and offer no protection as the machine will settle and break through the bottom of the box.

Wadded newspaper used as packing will guarantee damage during shipment.

Packing Elna (and other) sewing machines
Especially the Elna SU (star series) , Supermatic, Lotus, Stella, Elnita and Air Electronic models
Most shipping damage is caused by poor protection of the foot control and the machine being loosly packed inside the portable case.

REMEMBER: None of the shipping companies will pay a claim for poorly packaged items. The general rule is at least 2 inches of approved protective material surrounding the machine. Wadded newspaper or empty cardboard boxes are not approved packing materials and damage claims will be refused. That package you so carefully carried to the shipper will soon be dropped 6 feet from conveyor belts and thrown from truck to truck.
Will it survive in the packaging you provided?

Step 1. Start by turning the handwheel until the takeup lever is down. Lower the pressor foot.

Step 2. Wrap the foot control with enough bubble wrap so it fits snug into the machine opening. The idea is to assure the foot control won't move around and break or rub to wear the paint from vibration during shipping. (Be sure the flaps close completely without too much pressure.)

Step 3: Fold and trim a paper towel to cover the accessories and close the cover. This keeps the accessories from scratching the inside of the cover.

Step 4: Insert a small piece of folded paper towel under each end of the handle to protect the rear flap from shock damage.

Step 5: Wrap the machine with bubble wrap until the wrap is 1 inch thick.

Step 5: Wrap the machine with another 1 inch of bubble wrap from end to end and tape tightly. The total thickness of bubble wrap must be at least 2 inches thick.

Step 6: Pack the wrapped machine in a suitable box and fill any voids with more packing so nothing can move. Double boxing may be used for added protection.

Step 7: Shake the box. If anything rattles, pack it again.

Cost for bubble wrap and other packing material, under $5.00
Time required to package properly 1 hour.

Packing Singer featherweight sewing machines

Step 1. Start by turning the handwheel until the takeup lever is down. Lower the pressor foot. Push the bobbin winder to the winding position (tight against the handwheel). Push the stitch length lever all the way down.

Step 2. (Featherweight machines) Put 1 inch of bubble wrap between the extension bed and the face plate.

Step 3. Wrap the foot control with enough bubble wrap so it fits snug into the machine opening.

Step 4. Wrap the machine, tightly, with 1 inch of bubble wrap from end to end.

Step 5. Wrap the machine with another 1 inch of bubble wrap in the opposite direction (top to bottom). The machine should have a total 2 inches (minimum) of bubble wrap around the machine.

Step 6. The wrapped machine should fit in a 12 X 12 X 16 inch box. (Styrofoam peanuts may be used to fill corners). The box should be labled with the shipper and recipients address.

Step 7. For added safety, this box should be enclosed in a second box about 16 X 16 X 20 with 2 inches of packing material (styrofoam sheets, bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts) between the inner and outer boxes. Shake the box and if you hear anything move or rattle, start over. Add the shipping label and you're finished.

If shipping inside a portable case, the risk of damage is slightly higher, but the rule of packing everything tightly (especially the machine inside the case) is very important.

Cost for bubble wrap and other packing material, under $5.00
Time required to package properly 1 hour.

This method works well for small, lightweight machines. Heavy cast iron, industrial or valuable antique machines must be protected with a minimum two inches of SOLID foam packing, then double boxed with another two inches of packing between the boxes.

Ray White
White Sewing Center
3972 Highway O             
Middle Brook, Mo. 63656

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updated 06/15/21

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