I bought an old blue Elna the other day. I had one just like it... I wore the old one out years ago. I couldn't afford to fix it... Anyway, I found one on CL Sunday. Happy Dance. I finally checked over the Elna today - everything runs smooth and nice. I cleaned out lint and old oil then oiled her. Then I got to looking at the bling she came with. She came with a two speed foot control - sweet. I found an original kit she came with. All but 2 bobbins, I got a dozen discs, there isn't a scratch on that machine. BUT somebody dropped a bunch of green paint all over her cord. Then I dug into the old sewing basket the lady gave me. When I got it I just sort of glanced around it a little. Many of the spools for thread are wooden. There was some quilting thread. There was a spool of silk thread. Old packs of 35 cent needles some quilt scraps and some wide bias tape. Dried up un-opened Fray Check still in the package. I got a real nice pair of pinking shears too. In the bottom of the basket buried deep in the thread tangles was a free motion foot. The rest of the feet were in the kit. I wonder if she was a quilter? I haven't named my Elna yet - we haven't gotten THAT familiar...
I'm probably not naturally mechanically inclined. I've had to be - I've had repair shops botch up the machine. Now days you can get service manuals on line. There is a lot of advice right here on this site!!! And I've practiced on machines that were so far gone I had nothing to lose.
Then I looked at the Bernina I got at GW a few weeks ago. I used heat and got the knobs and levers to turn - yeah. I had oiled it but to no avail. The power cord doesn't work and the knee control doesn't have much play. It'll take time but she'll be a fine machine again one day. The table is VERY nice. Again a lot of old wooden spools of thread old packs of needles and pins. Old, forgotten and neglected.
I was given a dead Elna almost identical to the one I just bought - it's been a while back and I finally worked up the courage to see if I could fix her up... so I got out the dead Elna today. I read the service manual. AH I can do this. Worked up all that courage and the screws holding the plate wouldn't come out. I oiled a few times today. Maybe tomorrow if it doesn't unscrew I'll try heat - just now thought of it.
I'd say the two machines are a decade or so apart in age. The Bernina is a bit older. It amazes me to look at the engineering in those old machines. They were so intricate and yet they have held up over such a long time. Then I looked at my old Singer 403 of the same time frame. It was all metal even the gears. I also have an old Necchi Nora - it has a broken plastic stitch length adjuster - The Bernina and the Elna have nylon gears. I guess the sewing machine companies were fooling around with plastics and nylon back then - The machine works are a wonder though. Each of them is different in how they work. It totally fascinates me. Then I look at an old Japanese straight stitch. No nonsense there. It is so amazing how these are put together!!! You sure don't see much when you look in the new plastic and stamped metal machines - is it any wonder they don't hold up and you can't get anybody to repair them??? Yeah I have a bunch of old machines. Yeah the DILs think I'm a hoarder... well, they are correct. (AND I hoard fabric too - OH, the shame of it all...) I guess I can't bear to see those old machines discarded by the same people that talk about everything being 'green'... Wanna go green? Get a vintage sewing machine and learn to use it - re-make some clothes instead of discarding them. Ok you might have to piece them together or make t shirt quilts or make some quilts out of old clothes or buy fabric at a yard sale - BUT go green!
You know I got by for YEARS with just that Elna I bought used in 1975. Now days, nobody wants to sew. They want to hug trees though. Sewing is so VERY green. I think about the old sewing books my MIL passed on to me. They had all kinds of stuff about how to remodel a dress. Change the cuffs, the collar, re-do this re-do that. These days if we are tired of it we toss the clothes and the machines are pretty much long gone. No room for that gotta have a big screen tv or what ever is important. I love Dolly Pardon's song about the coat of many colors her momma made. My mom made me one when I was in the 8th grade. There was a box of old clothes turned up at our house. In the box was a hideously ugly old coat. It was green, red, blue, gold plaid wool. Humongous and did I mention UGLY??? We were living in northern Wisconsin at the time and I out grew my coat. My mom managed to work out a coat out of that horrid thing. When she got done it had bias sleeves, bias pockets and it was double breasted. She re-lined it with bits of her wedding dress (her wedding dress was made out of a WWII surplus parachute) AND that coat was WARM. To this day when ever I get a coat I wonder if it will be as good as that coat. Well, one day we were sitting around yacking about something and I mentioned that coat. My mom kind of snickered and apologized for not being able to come up with anything any better. I gawked at her and said, gee mom it was the best coat I ever had. I compare all the coats I buy to that coat. It was warm. So my sister said, "Was it that plaid coat with bias sleeves and pockets and double breasted?" I said, "Yeah" She said, "I remember that coat. I wore it too. I loved that coat - yeah I look for one that warm too." Then my other sister said she wore it too. We had a big group hug. Nobody knows where it is. BUT how green can you get - an old discarded coat out of old thick wool. Yeah mom had to work around the holes... Sewed it on her FW. BUT the coat kept 3 girls warm. I'd say we each wore it two years. How is that for going green??? Oh yeah the cost was a spool of thread and 6 or 8 shiny new brass buttons and some time and love. Kind of off season to be thinking about a coat... what ever - go green... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zJzr-kWsI
Coat of many colors - Dolly Pardon.