Saturday, June 10, 2017


I just realized my whole business is based on trust: people trust in my ability to make a sewing machine work and work well enough for them to take it home and sew with some amount of success. This week I had an opportunity to buy a sewing machine and the seller operated on her own premise that she could trust me to pay her...if and when I wanted to. What? If? That's right, if it didn't work I could do what I wanted with her sewing machine. Here's the story:

I spotted and ad for an Elna 8000 sewing machine, an early computerized model whose reputation has struggled a bit. I was brought to this series of models through a friend who has an Elna 7000 that could not be fixed, or so the shop told her and we had an adventure trying to get a working model for her. From there I bought a couple Elna 5000's as I wrote about in Ebay Elna 5000, the very basic model, and started to wonder about the later models, the 8000 and the 9000 they called the "Diva". It was on my wish list to work on one some day and it looked like this was going to be it. But the price was so low I feared it was going to be missing  parts or didn't fully function so I asked the seller if it still worked. She was selling it for her mother who used it recently so the answer was "probably". I explained this model suffered from having a step motor where part of it was for the belt and part was for the feed dogs and that was the part that usually failed. Well, she didn't sew and didn't understand but here's what she could do for me: She would leave it at the bottom of the steps by the garage door at her house and I should just come pick it up. If I liked it I could send her the money in the envelope she would provide, if I didn't like it I could do what I wanted with it. Fair enough? I told her it was more than fair and she was too trusting. She LOL's me a few times and said she had been accused of that before but this was what she wanted to do.
Elna 8000: note the top bar with one of the three rows of possible stitches
I stopped on my why home to find a decent looking model sewing machine along with a bag of bobbins and workbook in a bin at the front of her house. It had to wait until my grandson's softball game was over but when I got home and plugged it in it appeared to work and even moved an envelope across the feed dogs so that step motor seemed to be working. The next morning I threaded it up and it sewed great! Here's a sample of what it can do:
Elna 8000 stitch sample
There are three rolling bars across the top of the machine with illustrations of the stitches with their respective numbers. Row 1 holds 1-24 for basic stitches, buttonholes, and a small selection of decorative stitches like scallops. Row 2 holds 25-60 for block letters and numbers and row 3 holds 61-84, some pretty cool decorative stitches as shown in the sample. I really liked the feather stitch of actual feathers, one I have never seen before. Remember, Elna had all those really cool cams with a huge number of decorative stitches that others copied.

Mine came without a plate on the bed that would give you a smooth sewing surface but I actually had one from the Elna 5000 or 7000 as parts:
Gray plate is removable: see accessory tray in place?
It also came with the accessory tray full of goodies, plenty of bobbins and even the original needle threader:
Accessory tray with lid open
When the lid closes, it slips under the free arm and actually stays in place, very handy! There was no manual and I fear I will have to buy one because it just isn't as intuitive as I would like: this is not a beginners sewing machine either and a manual  is necessary. It did come with a workbook
where they will take you through a series of lessons to learn how to use all of the feet and features. Here's a sample page:
Of course, the previous owner did all of the lessons and attached her sample but you could still use it as a self-paced learning module. I've seen a few others that do this and I wish more would consider a workbook approach. Maybe classes were also held and you brought your workbook with you? Someone is going to have to let me know how that worked and if they still have this type of learning because it's pretty neat.

The Elna 8000 is one of the last ones that were actually made in Switzerland and it says right on the front"Swiss Made" whereas now they say "Swiss by Design." Who are they kidding? Janome bought them out so now you are getting a Janome sewing machine, which also has a solid reputation.

We have a heat advisory out for today so I mowed the lawn last night in anticipation of staying indoors today. It's a grand day to stay in the cool basement sewing up things I've cut out and working my stash down. Won't you join me?

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