New toy or another fad?

A while back Mark and I were pounding the pavements and thinking longingly of camping/glamping. I made some comment about taking some sewing along and he (very rashly!) suggested I buy a lightweight sewing machine that we can pack alongside all his fancy cooking gadgets. I’m sure he could have bitten his tongue out because, no sooner said than done, and I was busy bidding on eBay!

I knew exactly what I wanted – a vintage Elna Lotus. My sister had one of these and I had always admired it. They are tiny, beautifully designed (there is one in MoMA) and are brilliantly engineered.


My sister sold hers and has lived to regret it. These machines are really hard to find and eBay had a couple, but mostly pick up, rather than post, which was an issue for me.

Now I have welcomed into my home my very own vintage Elna Lotus SP. I was very anxious about this sewing machine because after I bought it, typical of me,  I started looking at reviews and found one by Male Pattern Boldness, describing how he bought one on eBay, with dodgy pictures and when it arrived it was not in good condition and he had to send it back. Now I was in a bit of a lather because I did the exact same thing. The pictures were fuzzy, there was no photo of the front of the machine, I had no idea which model I had bought, etc. The description said that it ran well, had no scratches, dents or rust, and I got it for a goodish price. I am a risk taker, but I was having a bit of a conniption waiting for it to arrive.

Well it did finally arrive, and I knew it looked dirty in the photographs, so was not surprised by the fact that it was really, really dirty and looking very unloved.



To my delight it was the exact model that I wanted. But I wasn’t sure about the condition… I could see that there was a dial cover missing, the light didn’t work, the bobbin extractor was broken, the tools were all missing, but it did run, albeit slowly. Luckily there was a bobbin left in the machine so I could check out the stitches – not too bad at all. I set to work to give it a good clean; wiped it with a damp cloth and then wiped over it with some car polish. It’s not pristine, but it’s ok, and it is only for camping! Having said that, I will leave it in the sweatshop and use it for when I am wanting to use different coloured thread on a garment – will save me rethreading my main machine constantly.

Of course this purchase has spawned a whole new fad – I am now trawling the web looking for bits and bobs for my new toy! I decided to bite the bullet and get it serviced. I found the Elna dealer in Subiaco and asked him if he could get it running faster. He has got it to go a bit faster and I now have a working light and all the missing or broken parts are sorted out. He did tell me that the motor probably needs rewinding, but it costs $150 so it might be better to buy another machine. He then went on to tell me that I won’t be able to  buy another machine because they are as scarce as hen’s teeth – doh! I’ll just put up with it running a tad slowly I think. I did note that the dealer had a couple of the “ZZ” model, which is one model down from mine and he was asking $250 and $350 for them (not sure what constitutes the $100 difference), so am feeling that I am still way in front with my eBay risky purchase.


All in all I am ecstatic with this buy. It will do everything that I want and I already have a few projects that I will begin when we next go camping (pretty difficult to get away with a 98 year old in the house!).


Average is still just over 23,000, and I have just begun the 10,000 step mini challenge. Seems easy, but I’m off to Melbourne next week so may be forced to window shop at night just to get my steps up!!


7 thoughts on “New toy or another fad?

  1. You will thoroughly enjoy having that Elna Sue – I bought one for the boat and plan to take it on the big Grey Nomad journey in October. You might not use it every day but it will be there when you need it! Enjoy

    1. Wow, I had no idea that you had one! I haven’t made anything with it yet, but do give it a stroke as I walk past!! We have to catch up before you leave for your Grey Nomad adventure!!

  2. I have had that machine since it was first sold. My parents gave it time for HighSchool graduation. I made all the curtains for the 11 homes we have lived in, all my children’s early clothing , just so much. I still have it and use it regularly. Over 45 years of sewing.

    1. It’s so brilliant. Unfortunately we have had to leave it in Tasmania as it was too heavy to bring home but I adore the colour and the way it sees is magnificent. May you have many more years of happy sewing with yours!

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