Thursday, April 19, 2012

Elna Supermatic and Cam Embroidery

Elna Supermatic Cam Mechanism
As I mention before in the "Dial a Stitch" post below, before the advent of built-in embroidery mechanisms, sewing machine manufacturers developed a series of drop-in cams that would allow precise embroidery stitching. Each cam would provide you with a unique stitch.

Elna Supermatic Cams (Elna-discs)
By 1952 Elna, a Swiss sewing machine manufacturer, developed a cute green machine that would rival all others in the embroidery cam business. The Elna Supermatic.

This 1957 ad campaign boldly asserted the ease of making an embroidered blouse, by implying it was as easy as boiling an egg.

The great thing about the Elna-discs and machines were their ability to sew backwards, thereby giving the egg boiling capable woman the ability to make beautiful embroidery patterns not possible with all the other machines that could only sew embroidery forward.

The Pfaff 360/362 as well as many other sewing machines of the 1960s were not capable of sewing embroidery stitches that required sewing in reverse direction.

Click on the image at the bottom of this post to see the amazing amount of fancy stitches available for the Elna machines.

See if you can tell which ones are forward only and which ones go forward and backward.

To be honest I have had bad luck with the older green Supermatics. Motor failures on more than one unit scared me off.

Don't be disappointed though, I'm sure there are sound working examples out there. I can tell you I  have had great luck with Elna's later models like the SU (1972). 

Advanced design and reliability; this is what I hear from other sewing machine enthusiasts.  Below is the Elna SU I had about a year ago - she worked flawlessly and was one of the smoothest running machines I've had. Same cams as the old 1957 Supermatic, go figure...



  1. I was given an Elna Supermatic green machine and I'm using it to embroider on applique projects. I believe its a 1951 - a year older than me. I'm actually looking for some more discs. No motor burn out.

  2. Would love to get my hands on another Elna machine either SP or the supermatic. I bought the one I am using now in 1976 and the little darling is still going.