I sew with an Elna TSP. It was my mothers, purchased early in her marriage, so probably 1975-77. (This website suggests the series it was part of was made in 1971-78). I love this machine and it’s the only one I’ve ever sewn with.
Around the traps this week I saw another sewist refer this exact machine as a ‘vintage’ machine, in not exactly glowing terms. And another sewist refer to using a similar machine and how crazy that it was to change the bobbin tension with a screwdriver. Well I have to say I am rather offended on my dear old machine’s behalf. Vintage? Really? When I think of a vintage sewing machine I think of my grandmothers old black Singer treadle that had been converted to electric, which was sadly sold or given away when I was a teenager and did not have the foresight to claim it. I wish I had it now!
My Elna however is a modern sewing machine in my view. It is a very heavy metal bodied machine with mechanical not electronic stitch control. To make buttonholes you use the buttonhole foot and go through a series of steps changing the stitch settings for each part of the buttonhole. You can do a no-turn buttonhole but get much better results turning the fabric around the needle. You do indeed adjust a bobbin thread tension with a screwdriver – it’s not that hard. It has quite a variety of fancy stitches.
I’ve been happy with the Elna, but I do admit that I have thought of upgrading my machine. Additional features that I would be interested in are: needle up/down, presser foot pressure adjustment, and a fully automatic buttonhole. It seems like an awful lot of money to spend for a few features. I would never sell the Elna, because it was Mum’s and she’s no longer with us, and also because it would be so handy to have a second machine. I’d love to have one for seams and one for topstitching so that I didn’t have to keep rethreading the machine all the time.
I’ve used the machine far more heavily than my mother did. She gathered a lot of crepe paper with this machine. Mum made us a lots of fabulous costumes, and also lots for school shows and the ilk, but they did tend to be the crepe paper and cardboard variety more often than not. I had the machine serviced when I took up sewing seriously a few years ago and it’s still going strong.
It seems that Mum purchased some additional feet, and looking through the manual there seem to be lots of stitches, feet and features that I have yet to explore. But vintage? not really.