Small PleasuresThe Finer Things

This micro elite sewing machine is the latest addition to a growing collection of vintage sewing machines. It is a collection that has gathered of its own accord over the last few months. There will be another post shortly going through the whole collection (now 5 machines). They’ve featured on my Instagram if you can’t wait.

I found it in a house clearance place close by. Of course I wasn’t looking for it, but couldn’t leave it behind. It was in immaculate condition, apart from a few small stains on the case. It also had the instruction booklet and its little bag of spare bobbins, needles, screw drivers etc. All good signs. And the price was for nothing. Plus I had never seen one before. So of course I bought it.


The Micro Elite Sewing Machine is completely new to me, I have never seen one before. The neat vinyl case it lives in gives off late 50s early 60s vanity case vibes. It measures 34 x 24 x 16cm. The machine itself is just 28 x 20 x 15cm. The body is steel , no plastic to be seen. The machine itself weighs in at about 3.7kg, over 5 kg with the case and pedal. So compact but not particularly lightweight.

There was no further information on the machine itself. Just some patent numbers. The only clue was the Instruction Manual having ‘Printed in Japan’ in the corner of the back cover.

Internet research didn’t reveal much more. Only that the Micro Elite was made by a Saitama, a Japanese company. There are a few out there on Ebay etc generally described as ‘RARE’ and asking £££.


So far so all very well. It looked good but did it work?

I plugged it in. The motor was running fine, which was a relief, I know nothing about motors. But it wasn’t driving. It wasn’t totally seized but stiff as old boots. Time to take a look inside.

Taking a machine apart is a worrying thing. But by taking things step by step I could get back off without removing the whole case. I then set to work. I brushed out the fluff, followed by copious amounts of oil and scrubbing with an old toothbrush around all the moving parts. Slowly it began to loosen up. Oil, scrub, oil again, leave to soak, test, repeat. I also removed the base plate and did the same to the under carriage. In the end the last sticking point seemed to be around the bobbin mechanism.

After a couple of hours it was running like a dream. For such a small machine the Micro Elite has a very powerful motor. Now just the stressful bit of putting it all back together correctly.

After a fair bit of faffing about with the tension and a new needle it was up and sewing. As the manual states, the Micro Elite is:




The Micro Elite sewing machine isn’t the easiest to use. It’s a bit fiddly to thread up and get the tension correct. The teeth don’t quite grab enough and the presser foot could be higher. The stitches are tiny even at the longest setting, but that could be to do with the presser foot needing adjusting for more bite and drive. That being said it is mighty powerful. And with some pulling through from the back to help the fabric along it works just fine.

Now it’s found a home alongside a Singer Treadle machine from many decades earlier.