Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Necchi Lelia 513

I collect sewing machines.  More often than not I get extra treasures included in drawers of cabinets or accessory boxes.    Lelia Model 513 was manufactured in Italy between 1963 - 1971.
There were three packages of needles priced at 29 cents per package as well as three little oil cans.  I find the oil cans especially interesting because when I got this machine it would only straight stitch in one needle position and the feed-dogs would not drop.  The needle bar and feed-dogs were bone dry.
I scanned and uploaded the manual to google docs.   Feel free to download it and enjoy.  Would you please leave a comment here, so I know this was helpful.
Please visit Colorado Lady's blog for more vintage treasures.


  1. Nice machine. Seems I've started a collection without knowing it and was going to show my latest acquisition. Maybe next week...I agree the the best part is finding all the goodies with the machine.

  2. How many do you have in your collection? What's your favorite?

  3. Oh, Tammy, you know how much I love an old machine. And, you have quite the collection. This one is great! Take care. Lane

  4. How many sewing machines do I have?

    1. 1910 Bernard Stoewer treadle made in Germany
    2. 1940s or 50s Domestic Automatic by White made in Japan
    3. 1963-1970 Necchi Lelia 513 made in Italy
    4. 1950's or 60s Piedmont made in Japan
    5. Identical Piedmont (there's a story for blog post)
    6. 1970s Elna Special made in Switzerland (pink trim)
    7. 1981 Elna Stella the small but mighty machine.
    8. 1979 Husqvarna/Viking 6570 made in Sweden (it's red)
    9. 1951 Husvarna Class 10 VS made in Sweden.
    10. 1995 Pfaff 7510 made in Germany.
    11. 1997 Husqvarna Computer 500 made in Sweden.
    12. 2009 Pfaff QE4 made in China (German Engineered)

    I know I am trying to scale down to 8 machines but recently I find myself longing for a Bernina Record 730 or a Nova 900.

  5. What a beauty! I want one! Old sewing machines are the best! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow...what a great machine, I have my grandma's old Necchi, had it serviced, but have not used it yet, I need to redo the yours, so classic in style of the 60's. Happy VTT!

  7. That's a great machine! I've never heard of that brand before. I don't know why, but I like little oil cans too. Maybe it reminds me of my Mom sewing all the time. I really need to get my machine fixed. It's been broken for years, and I've been sewing everything by hand!
    Happy VTT!

  8. What a lovely old ma chine! I bet it words better than a lot of the new ones they make these days. I just scrolled down through some of your old posts and see that you have quits a collection of sewing machines and some beautiful quilts too! WOW!!

  9. Wow Tammy! What an awesome find! And your collection sounds wonderful! love these old machines!

  10. You have an expensive and vintage collections in those machines. Very well done for VTT.

  11. How neat! I wish I had just ONE sewing machine, lol, lucky gal!

  12. awesome machines! fit for VTT.. and to have it working is double awesome!

  13. What a great thing to collect, I always enjoy seeing what other people cherish.

  14. Loved reading about your machines. Did you get this one to work well for you? The oil cans are great--what a bonus!

  15. Hi P,
    Once I was done tinkering, cleaning and oiling my Necchi she was purring like a kitten. Sewing with Lelia is like driving a Ferrari. Lelia has a powerful 1 amp motor and she is very quiet. Those folks in Italy make good sewing machines and cars.

  16. What a wonderful collection of sewing machines you have. I have collected them all my life with the first being a treadle that belonged to my grandmother. I have my first sewing machine, a 1965 Kenmore my parents gave me for high school graduation. I've posted about it and others including several Featherweights. I hope you'll come back and visit...we have lots in common and things to share. I've become a follower of your blog and am looking forward to seeing more of your machines and beautiful quilts....Sue

  17. I love your sweing machines. I know nothing about sewing though sadly. I recently rescued one from the trash that is beautiful aqua singer clone from Japan. Sadly in spite of being in great condition cosmetically and having her carry case, she had no motor. (It took me several days to figure this out too lol) I told ya I know nothing about sewing machines. Your collection is really beautiful. Thanks for coming by my blog
    -Karina aka thas nifty

  18. What a great vintage machine...and from reading your comment, it seems as if you have quite a few! I love seeing what different people collect!

    Blessings, Grace

  19. Love your sewing machines! How talented you are, Tammy. I look forward to visiting again in the future.
    God bless - Beth

  20. oh Tammy that machine in your blog header took my breath away, literally!!
    I love your 'new' Necchi too. These old machines are so faithful.
    Thanks also for the comment on my blog about my 'new' Singer, I can see a trend starting with me, after seeing all your loveliness here, pity our house is so small. ;)

  21. I just got a Necchi Lelia 513 when I bought the cabinet. I was thinking of selling the machine, but with what I saw here, I may just have it serviced and keep it. My collection is not that large (yet). I have two 1950's - 60's singers, a 1970's singer, and three newer Vikings (one is for my quilting frame).

    Now I just have to figure out how much the servicing will cost!

  22. Oh, I'm so glad I found this post with such big, clear pictures! I just got a Necchi Lelia 513 and I couldn't find a proper threading diagram anywhere. You've saved me!

  23. יHi Tammy
    my name is Ora and I'm from Israel. I've just got this necchi machine and I also have the manual but I'm not an expert . could you tell me how do I fix the stitch length? (simple, I know, but not for me..) Thanks a lot,

  24. Hello Ora,
    On my Necchi Lelia the stitch length is controlled by the dial immediately below the button marked "R". Stitch length is zero to 4, 4 being the longest stitch, zero to 1 are the shortest stitches. The white lever to the left of the stitch length dial is to adjust the stitch width from "0" for straight and "4" for wide zig zag stitch. The metal lever just above the white lever is to set your needle position "left", "centre" and "right". If moving these levers don't change your needle position and stitch width, then your needle bar is frozen up and desperately needs oil.

    Good luck this is a great sewing machine.

  25. Hi I have a vintage Necchi Lelia 513, well over 35 years old.Unfortunately the bobbin winder ring has disintegrated and I cannot find anywhere that does replacements.Do you know where I can get a new one.I'd hate to not have my Necchi working.

  26. Hi Tammy,
    It's me again- Ora. thank you for your helpfull advice, though I still can't change the stitch length (not working) but I have another problem now: the thread under the fabric becomes intangled and the machine gets stuck. Do you have any idea what's the problem??
    Thanks a lot for your help.
    ora, Jerusalem

  27. Hello Ora,
    It is difficult to trouble shoot a sewing machine virtually because I can't actually see what the machine is doing. First check the bobbin to see if it wound evenly. Go back to manual to ensure you have loaded the bobbin correctly in the bobbin casing and threaded it properly through the bobbin spring. Re-thread the upper needle as well follow the threading instructions in the manual. Also read the causes of minor difficulties on page 12 of the manual. Also please check out Jenny's blog sew classic as she is an expert at trouble shooting mechanic sewing machines.

    Good luck and please let me how you fixed it?

  28. Hello Tammy, I have a Necchi Lelia 513 machine with a
    cracked top cover and minus the motor but the other parts and accessories are fine, Is there any demand
    for spare parts for these machines as I am thinking about pulling it apart for spares.

  29. Hi Dave,
    There most likely is a demand for Necchi Lelia parts. I suggest you contact Ed at Vintage Sewing Machines, Jenny at Sew Classic and Robbie at From my Hands to Yours. All three of these folks collect and fix vintage sewing machines. Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog.

  30. Hello!
    As this article has been up for a while I have no idea if you will even see this, but I really wanted to let you know that I have just purchased a Necchi Lelia, and your blog and article about the Lelia were really helpful in the decision making process. I grew up watching my mother make all her clothes and mine on a Necchi and I cannot believe that I have also acquired one of these beauties! I am hoping this will be one of my main machines until I have to purchase the industrial one recommended for my Masters in Fashion program that I will be starting next year.
    I did have two question; does the Lelia take twin needles; and where do you recommend for parts, feet etc for the Lelia?
    Thanks again for helping me make my mind up about the Lelia. :)

  31. Hey there!

    I just purchased my first ever Necchi, the Lelia 513, and I really wanted to leave a comment to thank you because your article, both here and at zigzaggers, really helped me during the decision making process. I grew up watching my mother make all her own clothes and mine on a Necchi. I can't believe I'm about to become an owner of one of these beauties.
    I did have two questions; where do you recommend for parts, feet, accessories etc for the Lelia, and does the Lelia take twin needles?
    I have been sewing on a bottom of the line, plastic Brother sewing machine and recently have been getting frustrated at its inability to handle the bigger jobs. I am hoping that the Necchi will become my main machine until I have to get the industrial straight stitch machine recommended for my Masters course next year.
    Thanks again for this article for helping me make up my mind about the Lelia.

  32. Hello Dakshini,
    Congratulations on purchasing a Necchi Lelia. Lelia is a most excellent sewing machine and a major step up from the bottom of the line plastic Brother. I'm sure you will enjoy years of smooth sewing with it.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting on the lovely Necchi Lelia. Yes, Lelia will sew with twin needles. Lelia uses standard screw on high shank feet. The domestic Japanese machines and industrial machines use high shank feet.

    If you need replacement parts start will a local sewing machine dealer. I got the bobbin winder tire this way. Also Ed at is an avid Necchi collector, if he doesn't have a part you need he may be able to steer you in the right direction to get it.

    I also have a 1954 Necchi Mira BU complete with a wonder wheel to make fancy decorative stitches. Please feel free to check it out here.

  33. Thanks so much for your super-quick response, and for all the advice. Not to be a bother but I did have one last question; do you know of a straight stitch/ single hole needle plate that would be compatible with the Lelia 513? I have looked and looked on Google and haven't come up with anything yet. I sew on a fair amount of lightweight fabrics (silk, batiste, chiffon) and was wondering if I might need the feed dogs covered to prevent puckered seams and to get perfectly straight stitches.
    Thanks again for your reply, I really appreciate it. :)

  34. I do not have a straight stitch needle plate for my Lelia. I suggest that you contact Ed at to ask him if there is a straight stitch needle plate for the Lelia. He may have an extra one he is willing to sell you. Next check with your local sewing machine store. It is possible that a straight stitch needle plate from a vintage domestic Japanese machine or a generic plate that will fit.

    I don't think covering the feed-dogs would work because they move your fabric, unless you are darning or free motion quilting. Besides that the Lelia 513 has a lever to drop the feed dogs.

  35. Thanks Tammy. I left a comment for Ed on his blog to see if he might have any insights. And I think you're right, I have been looking at some other straight stitch needle plates that 'look' like they might fit the Lelia. Either way, if all else fails I only have to hold out till Spring next year when I'll be getting my industrial straight stitch for Grad school. Thanks again, you've been great!

  36. Hi, I bought a Necchi a few years ago and never got around to seeing if it works or anything. Until recently I had just been using it as side table. I cleaned it up and found that someone had spliced the power cord and I believe extended it. would like some information on it and any suggestion as to whether I should try to see if it works. Thank you for your time and assistance.

  37. Hello CLH,
    What Necchi model to you have?

    You said you cleaned up your Necchi, did you oil it with sewing machine oil? If no, please oil it every where the metal moving parts meet. Can you turn the hand wheel freely? Does the needle bar to up and down when you turn the hand wheel? You mentioned the someone has spliced the power cord. Do the power cords look safe to operate? If the electrical cords are cracked, broken or brittle replace the wiring before plugging it in.

    If your wiring is safe, then try it out. Do you have the operator's manual? The machine will not sew unless it is threaded correctly.

    Good luck and have fun with your Necchi.

  38. Tammy,
    Thanks for all the information I really just gave it a good cleaning. I haven't tried to turn the hand wheel or anything else. I think the power cord is safe I actually untaped it because it was taped so far I was curious. It really didn't all the tape that had been placed on it. Where I would begin to look for oil,needles, etc.? I downloaded the manual you have here on your site. Any ideal what the machine might be worth? Your site is very helpful and I thank you again for everything.

  39. Hello Again CLH,
    Where do you live? In Canada I purchase sewing machine oil, needles and parts from the Brandon Sewing Centre which is a Singer/Pfaff/Husqvarna sewing machine dealer. I've also purchased parts from Dominion Sewing in Sudbury and a fellow machine collector/fixer in Brandon.

    Without knowing where you live, seeing photos of the machine, cabinet and stitch samples...I have no idea what your Necchi is worth. I bought Lelia online in Winnipeg for $50 CAD. I also own a Necchi Mira BU which I bought for $125 CAD.

    It is usually a good idea to check ebay to see what they are selling for. Also please visit Ed's blog
    as he is an expert on vintage Necchi machines.

  40. Good Evening Tammy,
    I live in Indiana and I have realized by looking at your photos that my machine is missing the Tension button. So I will not be trying it out until I can find that part. I will check ebay for possible parts and see what the machines are going for. Thanks again you have been very helpful.

  41. Hi. Thanks so much for posting the link to the Necchi Lelia 513 manual. I just bought one of these machines at a thrift store and it does not have a manual.

  42. I just started using this sewing machine that was my grandmother's and had looked unsuccessfully for a manual in the past--thanks! I'm a non-sewer guy but am mechanically skilled & nothing was very obvious except what I remembered from whenI was a kid(the foot button & the lever for the depressor foot).
    Now I am stuck. :)
    How is the bobbin threaded? I have it in the casing right, & understand how that is re-installed, but am unclear on how to thread it back out/through the rest. (I was however able to see from your pics that it exits the plate in that center hole/slot.)
    I am trying to make a dog jacket w/nylon & polyfill. :)
    Thanks in adv.

  43. Thank you so much for making the Necchi Lelia 513 manual available for downloading. My husband picked up the pink and cream model at an auction this week. I was not sure of the machine's quality, but when I started it up, it purred beautifully. I love how the older, heavier machines feel and sound when they are stitching. Thank you again - the manual will be extremely helpful when I dig into more sewing in the next few days.

  44. Thanks so much. I found this treasure in a consignment shop.And it still works. However, being in SC I'd never heard of the brand before. Your blog cleared up all my questions. Thanks


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