October 21, 2012

Elna Supermatic (1956)

Currently my quest is for the more eclectic, stylish, and revered. So along came the Supermatic model 722010. It came with the standard grime covering the whole exterior and reassurances that it worked. There were many frozen parts and mechanisms that would keep it from sewing so it was a major search and destroy refurbish job.

Weight: The machine weighs only 18 lbs but the all metal case weighs 10lbs making the combination feel heavier than one would think.
Speed Control: The knee control isn't hard to get used to but I think I would miss the fine control of the foot pedal.
Presser foot: The presser foot uses the short shank but there is NO WAY TO ADJUST THE PRESSURE! Now, anyone using it for any fabrics I think would never miss it, however, for leather you often need to wind up the tension because the leather grips the needle on the way out and can lift the foot.
Bobbin load: The bobbin is standard but the access is not; you have to learn the tricks of finger placement and what things look like when it's correct. Without a great deal of inspection and contemplation you would never see the details of how the thread comes out of the tension spring, but  once correct it is there for good. Just like the Lotus the bobbin thread tension is made to be adjusted instead of the "Oh my, what have I done" method used on all other machines.
Sewing: Having a rub wheel instead of a pulley I expected that the start up would be terrible, but no, it is quite good, even thru leather. The hand wheel however takes getting used to. It is a noisy machine, this may be (like the 301) a function partly of being made of aluminum?

It's an easy machine to thread the upper and the thread tension are easy to use. I can see why the following is so strong it is a nice clean machine. I don't have the discs but I don't care for anything but straight, ZZ, and  left & right of center, these are what I need and use.

For my automotive reference nothing could come closer than the irreverent SAAB 96; different in every way loved by its fans, laughed at by the uninformed. I of course had two of these little gems in my younger days. It is Swedish not Swiss and 70's not 50's illustrating again how Elna was ahead of its time. The 96 really is crazy and that's why we love it. It was a North / South front engine, front wheel drive, had those large diameter wheels, a V4 Ford tractor engine, had lots of interior space, and was Spartan, just to name a few. Revered for its toughness it was the go to choice for Moto-Cross in Europe back in its day. 

Circa 1975 



  1. hmmm no shiny car to go with your olive green Elna? Well I have owned a half dozen Elnas in the past five years. I've either sold or given them away. They sew fine but I couldn't get used to the bobbin located behind the presser foot. It is a very pretty machine. My green Elna had all the disks which made lovely stitches. Happy sewing.

  2. Great car Tom, the perfect match to your Elna.

  3. How much are you asking for your Elna?

  4. Replies
    1. That one is long gone, there are plenty of them out there

  5. I have this sewing machine, cams and all. Brought it in for service around 2001 and when I finally got it back never sewed right. Now its in its case on a shelf. Very sad.

    1. Yeah, I avoid them now, the real Elna enthusiasts can have them.

    2. Hello CYN, would you be interested in selling it?

  6. Agghh, the sight of this brings back some very weird memories, with a knot in the pit of my stomach! My mother had one of these, although I can't say exactly which model. I do have happy childhood memories of watching her make some really lovely couture quality clothing on it, including some of my most favorite dresses ever - but it also represents her incredible impatience teaching me to sew and thus one of the more unhappy experiences of my growing up years. I finally took a class at school - and wouldn't you know it, the machine broke right in the middle of the very first seam I tried to sew (which followed having to buy a pattern she wanted that my teacher said wouldn't fit me, and then her not letting me adjust or cut it out myself, because OMG, I might make a mistake, gawd forbid. Such a battle ).

    She said she tried to get it fixed but wasn't able to (this was in the early 70s), and then flatly refused to buy a new machine for gawd only knows what reason, so that was the end of my sewing career. The whole thing was so traumatic that I still won't even sew on a button myself. I never did understand why she would have cut her own self out of what had been one of her favorite hobbies, either.

    The things people do to their children, eh?

    1. Please try again!
      I find sewing so rewarding, there is a huge amount to learn to do things well, and I am no expert in garment. I tell my students "any excuse to use the machine is a good excuse"
      All you can do is practice, make mistakes, and carry on. Good Luck, Tom

  7. Hello I am looking for wiring diagram for an elna supermatic model 722010 for the cord and switch showing where all the wires go thank for any help you could send my way...