supermatic

I had planned to do this meme from Michelle at Buttontree Lane before heading off for another Sewjourn experience, but just ran out of time. As you do. Anyway as I still have some of that Sewjourn/craft camp vibe happening in my heart.....

What brand and model do you have?I have an Elna Supermatic, which judging from the information on this site is from the 1964 - 1971 Elna Star Series. It's all metal, made in Switzerland, and has machined rather than cast parts. It also weighs a ton. And is rather cold to touch right now.

How long have you had it?I've had this sewing machine for nearly twenty three years. I think it was a twenty-third birthday present.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?I think it cost my mum and dad about $200 which was a lot for a second hand, at least fifteen year old, machine at the time. My mum, as well as being an accomplished sewer, worked for Elna as a demonstrator in the seventies and knew all about sewing machines. As I remember, she had very definite opinions on which machines were worth buying.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
Mostly I sew clothing for me and the odd thing for Grace. I do some mending for all of us. I've also made curtains, cushion covers, a leather bag (not good) and recently my first foray into quilting (also involving some degree of swearing). The picture above is of my temporary sewing set up in the study, if I'm doing a good long stretch of sewing, then I'll move my machine out to the kitchen and sew by the window. Much better.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
At craft weekends, the machine goes night and day. Other times it can go weeks without being used, or I'll go on a sewing binge and sew whenever I can. Or in dribs and drabs. Quite unpredictable really. My machine really is due for a proper service, but whenever it goes away, I feel totally bereft. So I've been keeping the oil up to her and making sure I brush away as much lint from the insides as I can.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I love my machine. Adore her. Like I said before I feel bereft when she's gone. Kind of like having a part of my body removed. A useful part. But she doesn't have a name.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?I love that she goes really, really fast. And that she does a really good, high quality straight stitch, nearly as good as an industrial machine, or so I've been told. I also use the wavy three step zig zag alot. And the pretend overlock stitch. Both of these stitches are excellent for knits. Which I like to sew because then I can get away without doing to many boring things like zips or buttonholes. There's also an instruction book that features elves. Sometimes they are good elves, sometimes they are bad elves..... (apologies for the blur, I think those elves are in my camera this month).



Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
Apart from the occasional bad elf, the no-turn button hole. Not at all automatic and it takes practice to get a good result, even then it can be unreliable. If I was making a coat or something, I wouldn't risk the no turn buttonhole, because I'd get them all right, except for one which would be totally nasty and would wreck whatever project I was working on. So if the stakes were high, I would do bound or hand sewn button holes or figure out a design without button holes. I've seen these newfangled machines that do real automatic button holes to the point of making them the exact size. That would be nice. It would also be nice to be able to regulate the presser foot. It's supposed to self adjust with thick fabric, but that didn't cut it with quilting, even with the walking foot. So the stitches were a bit uneven. Still there might be things I don't know, so it might be worth trying some quilting with my mum. And I'm sure the spray basting stuff would help. But yeah, the old superamatic ain't totally perfect. Even so, it would take a lot to convince me that there is a better machine for me out there.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! I've already told you about getting it for my birthday all those years ago. Umm, I took it took it to my first ever craft camp and forgot the foot and had to crochet instead!



Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Well, yes I would. Especially if someone was looking for a good basic straight stitch machine and didn't have a lot to spend. I saw one that looked like it had been well maintained for $49 on ebay just recently. But in my opinion, you'd want to get a metal one, not a plastic one.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?Speed, reliability and a good sound. Personally I don't care about fancy stitches or good looks because I'm not that kind of sewer. Kind of like how I feel about cars really.

Do you have a dream machine?No, I'm perfectly happy with my Elna Supermatic. Although I've often thought an overlocker would be good as well. Maybe when I have my planned for craft/computer room. But I'm in no hurry.

3 comments:

  1. Hey! Nice post! I'm glad you have a lovely machine. I have always heard good things about the supermatics (it's Grease Lightning!!).

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  2. That was lovely. I wish I had the same attatchment to my machine but it is hard to get fond of the more modern ones, they don't have the same character as the oldies. May you sew on and on.

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  3. The Swiss made Elnas are hard to beat. My first sewing machine was a brand-new Elna (talking 25 years ago now!) and it was brilliant - such a work horse. I eventually wore out some vital metal parts and the local sewing machine mechanic convinced me that, no, it wasn't worth replacing them (big mistake).
    Next thing he's sold me a basic Janome - I didn't want a fancy machine, and definitely not an embroidery machine. Unfortunately, the Janome and I didn't bond (it was crap, basically).
    So I saved and saved to buy another European number. Since checking out and possibly buying such machines means a minimum of three hour round trip, I bought a Pfaff. Very "nice", but rather more fancy than I required. I bought a model which was way above my needs (quilting - no, lots of fancy stitches - no).
    Fortunately I was able to sell the Pfaff on ebay and recoup most of the cost.
    Enter a longer trip - five hour round trip -to buy a Bernina. I'd done rather a lot of online research by this stage, and was very sure of the the machine I wanted.
    The Bernina has been a top little number. I also replaced my twelve-year-old Singer overlocker with a Bernina (a dream to work with).
    To end the sewing machine saga: if Elna was still made in Switzerland, of metal parts, that would've been my choice for sure. But now Elnas are made in other countries and are predominantly plastic. Sigh.
    Ha! But now I'm faced with the five hour round trip to replace the (really good) light globe in the machine. They wouldn't sell me one so I could do it myself.
    Long live old Elnas!

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