Friday, 27 October 2017

The Halloween Dress and The Elna Supermatic

The fabric silliness continues with this Halloween themed dress, because Halloween is definitely my favourite holiday. 


I'd wanted to make a Simplicity 2444 dress, but the bodice needed tweeked, and I couldn't be bothered.  So this bodice is the By Hand London Anna bodice (how many of these have I made?!), and the skirt from Simplicity 2444.  I don't think I've put these two together before, but I will be doing it again.


My fabric is some cotton called "Day of the dead roses and skulls" and was from a seller called "The Cheap Shop" on ebay.  It was £6.60 per metre, and is 57" wide - I bought 2 metres. 


Here's a close-up of the fabric so you can see the details.  I don't think these skulls are too creepy/in your face.  There's not much to say about the construction, so let's talk about the machine I used.   


I seem to have acquired quite a few sewing machines now, some belonged to my Grannies (here and here), and some I've bought.  It seems my machine of choice is Elna, as I have two new Elna sewing machines and an overlocker, and I also have an Elna from the 1970's that was my Granny's.  

Probably my favourite of my old machines is my Singer 306k because I love that it does more than a straight stitch, and I love how it works with the little cams.  Well, Elna made a similar machine around the same time, the 1950s, which is the Elna Supermatic.  I'd been on the lookout for one for a while, and got this one on Ebay during the summer.


This one had five cams with it, and they go into the top of the machine.  The cam rotates as the machine runs, and the shape around the edge of the cam moves the needle to create the stitch. 




 
The stitch length selector is on the right, and the needle position is 0-4 along the bottom.  Here are my experiments with some of the cams.

 

It doesn't have any measurement markings on the foot plate, so I used some masking tape and a marker pen. 



Also, it doesn't have a foot pedal, instead it uses a knee bar to control the machine.  As it's name suggests, you push it with your knee to make the machine run.  The further over to the right, the faster the machine goes.  It's actually very easy to use, and I find it easiest of all my old machines to control the speed on. 


This machine is very conveniently dated on the bottom as 8th October 1954.  Wish the old Singers were so easy to date! I'd love to know if anybody else has a Supermatic, and if so, what do you think of it?

Happy Halloween!

Lynne

20 comments:

  1. The fit on this dress is perfect Lynne, what a great combination of bodice and skirt! Really interesting to read about your old machines too - I am intrigued by the knee press!

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    1. Thanks Helen! I'm loving this bodice/skirt combo. My modern Elna also has a knee bar, but it's just used for raising and lowering the foot, which seems like a bit of a waste to me!

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  2. My Mom's old White sewing machine, 1955, had a knee press. She sewed all of our clothes on it, and there were four of us girls. My sister has it now, as my Mom stopped sewing several years ago. She's 96 years old!! I do so enjoy your blog, and your sewing is lovely.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! I love hearing about people's old machines, and I hope your sister is enjoying using it. I have seen some white and cream Supermatics, but they seem to be from the late 50s and 60s.

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  3. I am a huge Elna fan too and own 2 (not as old as yours but I've been tempted to buy one of these Supermatics for sentiment sake - I was born Nov. 21 1954 - only a month after your machine!) My first machine (that I had to beg my mom to buy since she wasn't a sewist and thought the whole notion was ridiculous) was an Elna Lotus. When I moved away from home and was ready to buy my own machine of course I gravitated to the Elna shop but the price was just too much for me to pay being a university student on a part time income :) So I bought a much cheaper White and regretted it. I really wished I'd thought to buy a used Elna instead which is what I recommend HIGHLY to new sewists. Don't spend money on a cheap sewing machine - it will frustrate you so much and threaten to completely derail your delicate and developing sewing mojo. There are many used excellent used machines available now from reputable sellers and you're far more likely to get your money's worth out of them than a new machine for the same cost.

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    1. Thanks Kathleen! I absolutely agree with you! The first Elna I got (and still have) is an Elna Airtronic from the 70s which belonged to my Granny. She sewed for a living and would definitely have bought the best machine in the shop. And I love that machine. The foot pedal works using air pressure (pneumatic?? - not sure), anyway, it's much smoother and easier to control the speed than on my old Singers.

      So when I bought my first modern machine, I got an Elna 520, then last year I got a 680 which I adore! This summer I bought myself an Elna 664 overlocker. So I think you could say I'm a huge Elna fan too!

      I love the old Lotus's, but I really do not need any more old machines! And I know that Elna now produce a new Lotus, but I haven't tried one myself.

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  4. I want to get an old treadle sewing machine. Does anyone have knowledge of what would be a good one, specifically which one sews the easiest?
    Thank you all!!!

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    1. I've never used a treadle machine (but would love to have a go!), so don't know what they're like. I did see a hand-cranked Singer in a second hand shop a few months ago, but I imagine it would be tricky to use.

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  5. I never knew about Elna - what a fascinating machine you bagged there.
    Cool dress too to wear while trick or treating!!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! I'm really loving using this machine, and made a toile on it yesterday.

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  6. Love the dress, I haven't made a gathered skirt Anna yet as I have so many patterns I haven't used to explore! Love the Elna too. I have one in my parents storage room. The knee bar is snapped - Must search for a replacement.....

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    1. Thanks Colette! Ooo, hope you can find a replacement knee bar. But now I'm wondering what could be used to McGyver together something that would do the job!

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  7. Great dress Lynne - I like the fact that the roses kind of disguise the Halloweeny-ness until you look closer!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! That's what I liked about this fabric too.

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  8. I do not really celebrate Halloween but JUST.LOVE.THIS.FABRIC :-))) And it goes so well with the pattern.

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    1. Thank you! I do love the Anna bodice for a printed fabric. The under bust shaping does a great job of not breaking up the print.

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Thank you for reading my blog! I love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time :) Lynne.