Sunday, 2 February 2014

Valentines is Coming - Lavish Some Love on Your Machine

I do all of my sewing on an Elna 2003, which I purchased in a hurry from John Lewis about 6 years ago:

 After snooping around on-line, I was surprised to find it seems to have a terrible reputation. After a bit of searching, it transpires that it was made while the Elna company was between ownership and therefore was cobbled together from Janome and Husqvarna parts. I seem to be one of the few who's been happy with it. It does basic stitches well, the buttonhole is pretty reliable and it generally does everything I need.

This was a replacement for a 1960's Frister and Rossmann Cub, which was super cute but far too small for the amount of sewing I did on it. It's now living with my sister who uses it for repairs now and again:

Everything was going fine with the Elna until recently when the light bulb blew. I replaced it but the light still didn't come on, which was frustrating as I had a few projects that needed to be finished. It doesn't matter how many strategic lights you place around your machine, it's very, VERY hard to sew without the in-built light.

I remembered that I'd had a repair done to the Cub a long time ago at a little shop in Camden Town, so off I went with my Elna to see what could be done.

Chapman Sewing Machines is a gem of a shop which I'd recommend to any home sewer in the London area. My parents have always been self-employed, and therefore I always go out of my way to support small businesses wherever I can, but judging by the busy atmosphere in Chapman's they're doing just fine. The shop has been open since 1937, and is still run by Cyril Chapman who was in on the day I dropped off my machine:

Cyril Chapman, 87 years young!
He took my details, wrote them on a little parcel label which was attached to my machine, and let me know I'd receive a call in a few days with details of the price, etc. That's exactly what happened - I got a call letting me know the light was fine, I just wasn't using the right size (doh!). They recommended it also needed a general service as it was a bit noisy. All of this would cost me £58, and I'd have a 2 year guarantee covering any further repairs.

About a week later, I had my machine back and its great! I never realized it was so noisy - now you can hardly hear it! The feeds were a little sluggish, but that's all sorted - it needed a good clean but I couldn't get the plate unscrewed, but they managed to open it up and now I can access it for future cleaning. Best of all there's a light!

It feels like I have a new machine - I can't believe I left it so long. That definitely won't be happening again! And I'll definitely be going to Chapman's for any future sewing needs. I'm off and sewing like mad - expect some finished projects soon!


  1. Great recommendation. Mine could do with a service, and how's a good time as I have a new born baby and sewing has taken a bit of a back seat!

  2. I have an Elna too, it's a 520 and I love it. But now you're making me feel guilty because it needs serviced! In my defense, I did phone the shop where I bought it at the start of January to see about getting it serviced, but apparently the engineer was off sick! I could find somewhere else, I suppose; but the people in the shop were so helpful when I bought my machine, and I wanted to take it back there. I really should phone them again!!


I love comments!