Tip & How-To about Elna Sewing Machines
There are still many of these Elna Supermatic sewing machines around and being used; they might not have all the electronic bells and whistles of a new model but they are a very well made solid metal case machine, parts can still be found and they will produce a good quality stitch and handle a wide range of fabric types.
Maintaining these early models means regular cleaning and oiling. Each time you get your Elna out to sew you need to remove the needle plate and open up the bobbin cover, take out the bobbin then using a little brush carefully remove all lint and fluff that you can see from the race, around the feed dogs and in the surrounding area. Your model may have marked red dots for oiling points, usually one in the middle of the bobbin holder, and often another red dot nearby in the race area. Plus a couple on the body area sometimes or top of the machine. Oil these marked points with a drop of good quality clear sewing machine oil when you get the machine out to sew, especially into the bobbin holder, then run the machine slowly without a bobbin or thread for a few seconds to spread the oil through the moving parts.
Use Swiss Elna metal bobbins only, they are very distinctive and only have holes on the top with a smooth underside and are slightly dished. Always wind the bobbin with holes on top and load it into bobbin holder same way; this way you always have the thread coming off the bobbin in the right direction.
It is important to always click the bobbin thread into the tension spring on the outside of the bobbin holder, there is usually an audible sound as you get it into tension. Just hold the thread tail with one hand and pull it around into the groove on the outside of the bobbin case, then put a finger onto the bobbin to hold it still, and push down on the thread tail with your index finger to push it down into the tension spring, you should hear it click in. Lift the thread tail vertically to check, the thread wont come out if its in fully.
Whenever you start a new seam ALWAYS hold the two threads at the back of the needle plate firmly as you start stitching until you've completed 4 or 5 stitches, to keep them clear of getting pulled back into the bobbin race. This saves those horrible jam ups happening when you start a seam.
Change your needle regularly to ensure it is sharp and use the right sized needle and type for the fabric you are sewing; these machines take the standard 130/7H needle system, and always install flat shank to the back of the needle bar.
Happy sewing on your vintage Elna.
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