I often get asked for suggestions for buying a new sewing machine. In a nutshell, my answer is to go to at least one sewing machine dealer or sewing shop to test out some machines and find out more about their features. (For a more detailed answer, read my post on the best sewing machine for beginners.) However, I definitely suggest my current machine, the New Elna Lotus*, for beginners who want some extra features without going overboard. This machine is a bit unusual, so today I want to take you on a brief tour of the machine’s layout as well as threading Elna Lotus sewing machine.
A little bit of history. The very first Lotus was created in 1968 as a piece of practical design. It has a compact and self-contained design, but the side flaps that open up create a larger working space. Conceived by a Parisian designer and manufactured by a Swiss company (Elna), you can’t get much better. Believe it or not, the original Lotus is actually in the Architecture and Design permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
The New Elna Lotus* was created to celebrate the Lotus’ 50th anniversary. It is a simple electronic sewing machine, perfect for beginners, but excellent even for advanced sewists. I’ve been using it for 4-5 years now and am quite happy with it.
Elna just came out with a new Lotus 2, which I haven’t used but, judging from the description on the Elna website, it looks pretty similar to mine, but with a lot more stitches. The New Elna Lotus has 18 stitches, which include 2 automatic buttonholes. The Lotus 2 has 100 stitches, including 7 buttonhole stitches. To be perfectly honest, I don’t see much point for all those extra stitches, so I’m perfectly happy with mine.
Anyhoo, you can see right from the start that the Elna Lotus is not your ordinary sewing machine. It features three side flaps that close up, protecting the machine and making is really easy to transport.
You can watch this video, where I take you on a quick tour of the machine’s layout and show the slightly unusual threading of the Elna Lotus sewing machine. Or continue to read!
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There’s a little button to pull over at the top to release the side flaps and open the machine. The open flaps create a larger work space, which is very convenient when working with large projects. The flaps slide off to work with the free arm. (Not sure what a free arm is? I love it! Find out what a free arm is here!)
The needle is in the center of the workspace to offer more support for your project, which is a nice feature, though is less practical when using the free arm.
The tension is regulated manually, but stitch length and width and stitch selection are all regulated electronically. There are also some other very useful electronic features, such as setting the machine to always stop sewing with the needle down and an automatic cutting tool, which are both awesome. There’s a slider to set the maximum speed, which is very useful if you have a “heavy foot”. You can even use the start/stop button to sew without a pedal. These are all very nice extra touches.
Open up the top to see a storage area for the included sewing feet and the compartment for the spool of thread. Here is another notable difference between the Elna Lotus and most other sewing machines; the spool is held on the left of the machine, rather than the right, meaning that it gets threaded in a slightly different way.
Insert the spool of thread in the holder and pop it down. Pull the lever into the center, then pull the thread through the lever (1) and through the metal coil (2). Open up the piece to the right of the spool, and pull the thread over the top of the circle piece (3) and through the little hook (4). Then start manually winding an empty bobbin with the thread (just a few turns to hold the thread in place) and stick it onto the bobbin winder (out of the image above, 5). Push the winder to the right and press the pedal or the start/stop button to wind the bobbin.
When you’re done, cut the thread and pop the bobbin into the bobbin holder under the needle.
Now let’s look at threading Elna Lotus sewing machine. The thread must go through 1 and 2 in the same way as winding the bobbin. That part to the right of the spool must be closed now, though. Next pull the thread around the circular part (3), then down through the slot (4).
The tension disks are in this slot and it’s very important to have them opened up, so make sure to raise the presser foot to open them. Pull the thread through the slit, around part 5 and back up. At the top, pull the thread inside the metal part sticking up (6). If it isn’t sticking up, turn the hand wheel to raise the needle, or press the button with the two triangle, and that part will come up, too. Then pull the thread back down through the same slot, down to the bottom (7).
The thread now goes through the large metal hook (8), then the small metal hook (9). My small metal hook got a little pulled out of shape, so don’t pay any attention to that. I need to get that adjusted.
Finally, lick the tip of the thread and put it through the eye of the needle (10). Pull the thread under the presser foot and to the left, and then you’re ready to fish up the bobbin thread. Make sure you do this! If you don’t know how, see this post of mine on pulling up the bobbin thread.
If you are a beginner and are just starting to learn sewing, or you just need to brush up on your skills, check out my “Learn to Machine Sew” FREE sewing course for beginners! Each technical lesson is followed by a practical tutorial using only that technique and the ones taught previous to that lesson.
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