Friday, March 25, 2011

some history

mother had a singer machine and i learned to sew with a singer machine in homec class. when i moved to europe there were of course no singer machines, at least in my circles and i came in contact with elna sewing machines.
my first elna was the grasshopper pictured left, a gift from a colleague repatriating back to the states. little did i know that it was a collector's item and i, playing the ignorant fool, happily gave it way when moving up the sewing machine ladder.
it was simple, very well built, sturdy and came with many presser feet. in fact i still have and use some of them in my newer models. amazing what that little machine was able to do !

having had such good experience with elnas, which by the way  coming full circle
were the brainchild of a spanish civil war refugee named ramon casas, not to be confused with the painter. i bought an elna  jubilee put out to commemorate their 50th aniversary. again, sturdy, made of metal so it stayed in place, a workhorse of a machine has only had the light bulb changed. it has some very nice features such as air pedal, overlock stitch, speed control button , clip on foot and best of all never skips a stitch.  if you're on the market for a simple workhorse if you see one even second hand grab it. i've had second thoughts on trading it and i'm holding on to it as if my life depended on it. imo the only drawback is that it doesn't have drop feed dogs. nobody's perfect.

that feature when i got interested in free motion embroidery   prompted me into buying another machine. well, and the idea of having a couple of fancy stitches. again, after such great experiences with elnas i went back to them and got a 5200. i had so far lived in a world of simple buttonholes and threading by yourself and was taken by the 1 step buttonhole capacity which makes perfect buttonholes and self threading capability. no, there isn't an arm with 20-20 eyesight that threads for you, but the next best thing.

however i was puzzled by some design flaws. the machine seems to be lighter and it is because its body is  made of plastic. although it is conceptually irritating for me, i can live with that. what i can't live with is the placement of the end of pattern-lock stitch. i have small hands and it gets hit when threading, changing needles or sometimes during holding the fabric while sewing. the screw of the presser foot shank   loosens up during sewing and has to be tightened more than occasionally. and coming from the air cushion pedal on the jubilee, the pedal  mechanism is almost old fashioned in a pedestrian sort of way. all in all very un elna. why so? i am aware that nothing is the way it used to be made anymore everything has the look feel and performance  of cutting corners, but so much as to compromise a good reputation?

consequently i went to st. google and as ever found the answer 1994 a cooperation was established between elna and janome and  some years later tavaro s.a. the manufacturers of elna, filed for  bankruptcy. in other words the machines ceased to be swiss made. janome also bought husqvarna so basically the market is divided among them and bernina, with juki competing. i would not be surprised if juki being japanese as janome is would be a division of janome.
i'm thinking about getting an embroidery machine, but honestly doubt i'll go the elna route. berninas are insanely expensive,  therefore so far  it is not clear which route to take .
if you're on the market for a sewing machine and have dilemmas here are some helpful links : 

have a spring fest of a weekend!

neki desu
Creative Commons License


  1. Anche io ho imparato a cucire su una Singer, quella di mia nonna che ha quasi 100 anni. Mia madre la usa ancora!

  2. I think you're wrong about Janome and Husqvarna. Husqvarna bought Pfaff and regrouped into the VSM Group in Sweden. Some years later, VSM was bought by Kohlberg & COmpany, a private equitey fund, who already owned Singer. Nowadays they are calles SVP Group (for Singer, Husqvarna Viking, Pfaff) and manage the company from Sweden and the US.
    There still are differences between Singer, Husqvarna and Pfaff machines, so I strongly suppose they are manufactured differently.


interaction appreciated!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...