Elna Elnita 255i Sewing Machine – A Review Revised 11-17-11


  • Front Loading Bobbin
  • Feed Dog Control
  • Reverse Stitch Control
  • Double Needle Stitching
  • Adjustable Stitch Length Dial
  • Decorative Stitch Dial
  • Uses Standard Class 15 Bobbins and Standard Needles
  • Low Shank Foot
  • Uses Snap-on Feet
  • Convenient Built-in Hidden Accessory Box
  • Built-in Anti-Glare Light
  • Built-in Carrying Handle

Elna is a Swiss brand that is apparently now Asian-made.  The Elna Elnitas with the pastel colors on the front came out in the early 1990’s and this machine was made in Taiwan.  I do not know the exact date though.  Supposedly these models (Elnitas) were an entry-level affordable good quality machine but further research is required to verify this.

My research revealed that this machine, as well as even the older, much-loved vintage Elna sewing machines with the exception of a couple of models, have nylon gears.  The combination of nylon gears and metal parts the 255i has makes this mechanical sewing machine a bit lighter than some of my vintage all metal machines.  My machine did not come with a carrying case but it has a carrying handle attached to it as I believe most other 1990’s Elnitas did also.

   This is a full-sized machine, see photos below to get an idea of the dimensions.

The sewing table can be removed from the machine to make it a free-arm which is very useful when sewing sleeves, pant legs or tubular fabrics.

Here is a top view

The feed dogs on this machine can be dropped for free-motion sewing or drawing, and darning.  It has the very useful Quick Reverse Lever great for securing seams.  It uses regular Class 15 Bobbins and Standard 15×1 needles (sizes 10 – 16).  The 255i can do twin needle stitching as well.

This machine also has a Presser Foot Regulator Lever that you access by opening the Front Lamp Cover.

This lever allows you to control the foot pressure you need for specific fabrics.  When it is at zero as it is above on the photo, this is the setting one should use for darning or sewing freehand.

AS per the manual, set the lever to:

  • 1 – for light fabrics – nylon, tricot, silk, wool silk
  • 2 – for medium fabrics – ginham, thin jersey, gabardine
  • 3 – for heavy fabrics – denim, jersey, tweed

The 255i front controls are pretty easy to use and provide the minimum utility and decorative stitches anyone would want in a basic sewing machine.

The 255i can do the following stitches:

  • Straight
  • Zigzag
  • Blind Hem
  • Reverse Blind Hem
  • 3 Step Zig Zag
  • Slant Overage
  • Pullover Stitch
  • Smocking Stitch
  • Straight Stretch Stitch
  • 4 Step Buttonhole
  • Twin Needle
  • Freehand Embroidery
  • Automatic Embroidery (as the manual I have calls it) which includes Satin, Scallop, etc.
Below is a partial sampling of the capable stitching of this machine.
This sewing machine can also do twin needle stitching but only on a few Stitch Patterns which are the following: 1,2,3 (Straight & Zig Zag), and 13 (Straight Stretch for knit/stretchy fabric).
This is what the needles look like.
For twin needle stitching, insert the needle with the flat side facing/toward the back, use the zig zag foot, and the Stitch Length between 1 to 4.
The machine has an On/Off switch on the side and the coupling knob for winding bobbins.
The Elnita 255i sewing machine has a 0.64 amp motor, some of my sewing machines have motors that are 0.75 amps,  1 amp, 1.2 amps.  My Singer Featherweight has a 0.4 amp motor!
What is all this business about amps you wonder?
Although it is more complicated than this, it basically means:  more amps = more power.
The foot controller does not have any identifying numbers or model number on it but it has a 3-prong connection in case you happen to be searching for one for your machine.

The 255i has a hidden accessory box in the sewing table, you have to remove the sewing table to get access to it.

Below are the accessories that came with my machine.

If one had purchased this machine back in the 1990’s, the original accessories included with the machine would have been the following:  a set of needles, 2 felt washers, 3 bobbins, cleaning brush, seam ripper, 2 screwdrivers, zigzag foot, zipper foot, rolled hem foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam guide, satin stitch foot , blind hem foot, quilting guide, and an oiling  tube.

Did I mention it uses snap-on feet?  I have many snap-on feet for a Sears Kenmore that fit perfectly on this machine!

Below is the label attached to the back of the machine.

The replacement bulb required for the 255i is a 15W bulb max.

The Elna Elnita 255i

Although I prefer the older all metal sewing machines, I bought this machine because it was extremely cheap and in really good condition.  I think the owner may have dumped it if I had not picked it up.  I am glad that it has turned out to be a really good and reliable sewing machine and that I did not waste my money.  Wish I had the original case and manual for it though.

If you have this machine or are able to purchase one cheap, I think you will be pleased with it.   The Elnita 255i is a decent sewing machine.

If you are a beginner sewist this sewing machine will do just fine; I believe that an experienced sewist would probably pass this one up.  ♥

* Did I miss something, or have a question about this review, please leave a comment.

ADDED 11-17-11


Hopefully you have already read my post “How to Oil a Vintage Sewing Machine”; it will tell you what oil to use and oiling instructions, read it here.

The following information simply shows the oiling points on the bottom of this machine.

Remove the extension/accessory box off of the machine.

The bottom covers will need to be removed by removing the screws.

In the next photo, you may or may not have to remove the screws with the black arrows.  The entire plate must come off.

Right side of the bottom of the machine houses the motor.  Be careful to not get any oil on/in the motor, the electrical plug, or on the wires.

Here is a view of the bottom without the covers.  On the far left side under the hook race / bobbin area, there is a gear that may need grease.

The next photo shows oiling points located just below the sewing machine motor.

This photo shows oiling points on the bottom left of the sewing machine.

If you decide to grease the gear, a small gob of grease will do.

Once you apply it, rotate the hand wheel (fly wheel) to distribute the grease on the piece.  You can also just apply it with your finger or a chop stick.

36 thoughts on “Elna Elnita 255i Sewing Machine – A Review Revised 11-17-11

  1. Hi!
    I Own a machine like this, and I like it wery much. I got it from my parents, when I was 14-15 years old. My only problem is, that I’ve lost it’s user’s manual. If you stil have it, could you scann it or take a photo of it’s pages, and send it to me? Thank you.
    An other question. Did you ever tried to use it with a twin needle? Is it possible? I’m planning to buy a pair of it.

  2. I have this machine and can’t get it to baste?? Ever since I bought it brand new when I turn the stitch length dial nothing changes….any suggestions. I really want to be able to baste or gather with this machine. any help is greatly appreciated. my email tooiec@hotmail.com

    • Hi Tooie,
      To baste, the machine needs to be set up just as it would if you were using a straight stitch. Here is how to set it up:
      The Zig Zag Width Dial needs to be at 0
      The Stitch Selection Dial needs to be at 1 to 5, just like the picture on my review, and The Stitch Length Dial at 4 since it is the longest stitch this machine will do.
      Also, make sure the feed dogs are up and that the Pressure Foot Pressure Regulator Lever is at least at 1.
      Photos of all these dials and levers are pictured on my review. Let me know if you get it to baste.

      • Thank you so much Sonia. I was reading the stitch length all backwards!! heehee.. I got it to baste!! And I OILED the machine and it is like a brand new one. I love your review, the pictures really help!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I really appreciate it. I was sewing up a storm today!! Making all different sizes of cloth bags for lunch boxes and odds and ends.
        Have a great day
        Tooie 🙂

  3. Hi.
    Can you please tell me how to ‘raise’ the spool pin in order to put the thread on? Thank you! Anne

  4. Hi Anne,

    The spool pin is probably just stuck as one of them was on my machine. I just got some pliers from the toolbox and pulled it up; I can now lift it and press it down when not in use. Let me know if this works for you.


    • Hi Bruna,

      To use the Twin Needle, use the zig zag foot, and Stitch Length can be set from 1 to 4. This machine will do twin needle stitching but only on the following Stitch Patterns: 1,2,3, and 13, basically straight, zig zag, and the straight stretch stitch (#13) for knit fabric. Let me know if you need additional information.


  5. Hi,
    I have a chance to buy an Elnita 250 for $40 and I’m wondering if you think this may be a similar model to yours….I can’t find much of anything on it at all. The seller says it’s a good running machine, and I can see that the Elna brand is a very good brand. This is for my daughter who wants it so that she can make her flannel baby quilts and for mending. I’m still waiting to get more info from the seller too, but anything you might be able to add would be appreciated…thanks.


    • HI Kathy,

      There is not a whole lot of information on this series of Elnitas. I think the Elnita 250 & 255i are very similar and the differences are the following:

      1) the 250 (I believe) can do 14 stitches and the 255i can do an additional 3 (total of 17 stitches)
      2) the exterior colors

      Swiss-made Elnas are great according to people I’ve known that use them; not one of them wants to sell me theirs. The early 1990’s Asian-made Elna models such as the 250 & 255i are decent machines and fine for what you mentioned your daughter wants to use it for.

      Parts for these models are challenging to find and I have found that vac and sew shops in my area do not want to repair these machines or hassle with trying to find parts for them.

      I would probably try to get the price lowered a bit more on that machine, especially if it does not include any accessories, manual, etc. but $40 would be the maximum price I’d pay for it. Hope this helps.


  6. I have a 1991 model of the Elna Elnita. I think the model is a 225 or maybe a 255. Anyway, I am a beginner quilter and need a walking foot for my machine. Will any generic walking foot work or does Elna make a walking foot for this model?

    I have just started searching the web and came across your site. The instructions and pictures are very helpful….thank you so much.

    Thank you,

  7. Hi…
    I bought a machine( Elnita 250) silimar to this one, but it did not come with the user’s manual. Could you please email( lebo.masia@gmail.com ) me a scanned copy of the manual if you still have one? i bought the manual earlier this week and since i don’t a thing about sewing, the manual would be really helpful.
    Thanks in advance, Lebo

  8. I just recently purchase a elnita 255i from my local Goodwill store and not only does it have all the accessories it also has the original manual . if anyone needs a copy just like me know whom to mail it to and your address


    • I am so happy to find this posting, I too have just found an Elnita 225i – I would really love a copy of that manual! Thanks so much for this detailed posting – this has been so helpful!

    • If you still have are willing to send out a copy of this mannual I would LOVE one. I recently got may machine back out but can’t find the manual.

  9. I have an Elnita 225 in brand new condition. Only used a few times. How much do you think I could sell it for? (in Canada)

    • Hi Yvonne,

      I really have no idea how much; it just depends on how much a buyer is willing to pay. I would list it for the minimum amount you are willing to accept.

  10. I just inherited an Elnita 250 from my mother-in-law, and I can’t get the zig-zag stitch to work. What am I not doing right?

    thank you!!

    • Hi Chris,
      Sorry for the really late response. This machine uses standard 15×1 sewing needles sizes 10-16. You can find these needles online at Amazon, Ebay, etc and places like Target or Walmart carry them sometimes.

  11. I just got a elnita 250 for $10 at a garage sale. Lol. WITH a cabinet! Crazy, I know. I am missing the bobbin case for it, which may cost me another $15ish.
    Does anyone have a manual for me? I’m hoping I threaded it right….

  12. Thank you, thank you for this wonderful review and info on the Elnita 255i. I have an Elnita 230 that was given to me that wasn’t working properly and came with no information. Altho it looks a bit different than the 255i, it appears to be similar enough. So I am wondering if there is any additional info beyond what you have posted here (excellent job!) in the manual that would make it helpful to have a copy of the manual. One difference I noticed is that the feed dogs don’t appear to lower on the 230 as I would love to try free motion quilting on it. Thanks, Carol

    • Hi Carol,

      Thank you. I believe you can do fine without the manual, unless you are very new to sewing. Setting the stitch length and width is pretty simple to figure out since these Elnitas are color coded. The manual is helpful if you need to get a specific part number or need to oil your machine.


  13. You are an angel sent…I have an Elnita 245 sewing machine that was given to me. It has been in storage for years until my husband asked me to make him a bath robe. I was doing fine until the needle just stuck and nothing moves after. Thank God i was able to get the material out from the feeder. Now…i cannot do anything. Help.

    • Hi Loudy,

      The needle may be bent not allowing it to go through its proper path, you should remove it and replace it with a new needle. Since you mentioned you are making a robe, I am assuming you are using thicker material so your needle may need to be a size 12 or 14. Also the thickness of the fabric may be a reason why it got stuck. For best results, you can also adjust the Presser Foot Pressure on the machine, this ensures that the fabric feeds smoothly when sewing. If your fabric is medium to heavy, then the pressure should be set at 2 or 3. See my post here EIGHTH PHOTO from the top, to view a close up photo of the Presser Foot Pressure lever.


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