Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grasshopper Green Machine

Have I ever expressed my love of antique and vintage sewing machines here? Particularly colorful machines? If I haven't, shame on me. I adore them, and I adore sharing this love with others. I browse ebay and etsy for machines, even though I have no reason (beyond distant dreams of a collection) to even think about purchasing any. Hey, as far as collections go, sewing machines would at least be useful, wouldn't they?

I was given the most beautiful machine about two years ago by a close friend of the family. It's a green vintage Elna, with a metal body and those disk things that you have to switch around to change the stitches. It never really worked for me, so I brought it in for a servicing. It did work right after I got it back, but not for long--something happened with the upper thread getting caught in the tension dial and snapping, and the bobbin case could get loose. I sadly packed it up with plans to maybe try again another time, perhaps after I became a sewing machine repair guru--an eventual plan of mine, for real.

It sat, lonely and boxed up, under the table in my sewing room for a year and a half, save the one time I tried unsuccessfully to get it to work properly. Then, yesterday, I wanted to sew. However, my sturdy Pfaff is in my dorm room, and it would've been pretty ridiculous to lug it home for spring break. So I pulled out the Elna, oiled and threaded it, and put a piece of scrap fabric under the presserfoot. I hesitantly nudged the knee lever. With a cheery whirring noise, the machine sprang to life and took the fabric perfectly. The thread fed smoothly, without getting stuck or snapping. I was delighted!

IMG_0418.jpg picture by MateyCouture

(Ain't she lovely?)
So to make a very long story much shorter, it works. There were a few hiccups, but I'm pretty sure I was just threading it improperly before, because everything works wonderfully now. This little machine feels like it can do anything! It came with a bunch of doodads (including a massive ruffler foot that I'm psyched to try!), stitch disks, and the original manual. I'm completely set! I do miss a few things about my Pfaff (measurement markings on the plate, invisible zip ability, actual petal, etc.), but I'm so relieved and excited this works. It's also ideal for those 50's-housewife-moods, if you were wondering.

IMG_0419.jpg picture by MateyCouture

I won't give it away until I take nice pictures tomorrow, but I made something today with my new fabric. Here's a teaser.

IMG_0422.jpg picture by MateyCouture

Can you take a guess?


  1. oooh is it a fabulous dress? can't wait for proper pics.

    i was also given an elna a few years ago (though it is not quite as adorably vintage) and i was met with some similar problems! hmm, i should try it out again. they are gorgeous machines aren't they?

  2. I want pics of the discs, I have a older "Montgomery Ward" that takes "cams" to sew anything other than a straight line. I gave it to DD#1 last year for her Bday. it was built in the 70's, I have the book for it (complete in it's 70's pictures) also I bought it (um, 6ish years ago) for $5 at a yard sale! it is the first sewing machine I ever bought. and is HEAVY.
    also I think you sewed a empire waist-ed, gathered, with a ribbon/contrasting fabric, ribbon/belt detail. I"m guessing also that it's got either small cap sleeves or some sort of WIDE shoulder thing happening and is sleeveless. but I'm guessing (or fantasizing)

  3. Carly - Yes! :) Oo, I'd love to see pictures! I think I was threading mine wrong, so looking over the manual carefully helped a lot, as well as just trying new things. Do you have the manual for yours? & yes, yes they are!

    Jessica - I can get photos of the discs tomorrow morning for you! I'm sure it's the same thing. Oh man, what a great find! Those metal machines, I swear, they'll last forever.

    Haha, you are so spot on about everything except the wide shoulder! I'm about to post photos.

  4. Yup!!! She's phychic!:) LOL!

    How did I miss this post? Arg! I live for vintage metal sewing machines
    and your lovely avocado green beauty is amazing Addie!!
    I'd be jumping up and down (jiggling) hee...when you found out it worked!!

    The first sewing machine I learned to use was my grandmamis 1954 Singer!
    She was shiny black with a huge pedal you had to manually work with your feet
    and gold lettering on it...with gilded edges at the bottom:)
    trully a dream! Ahhhh....* long sigh*

  5. Oh my goodness! Your machine is adorable!

  6. Love that machine! So cute.

    Thera Joyce


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