Sewing: Necchi Lydia 3 sewing machine

Sewing: Necchi Lydia 3  sewing machine

I’ve recently taken up sewing again. My great aunt taught me to sew as a teenager and I also took classes at school. Apart from making a cushion for the ladybird’s nursery, 2 and a half years ago, I’ve not used a sewing machine in at least 15 years. Now that we have a bit more space, I have borrowed my great aunt’s sewing machine and I am teaching myself to sew again. I’ve had a few difficulties getting started with this vintage sewing machine so this post is a cumulation of all the advice I have found for this sewing machine.IMG_1979

This sewing machine is a Necchi Lydia 3 and from the internet I have discovered they were last made in 1977. This machine is older than I am! I learnt to sew on this machine and it might sound odd but when I use this machine it has a slight smell which takes me right back to my childhood. We spent a great deal of time with my great aunt when I was growing up. We cooked, baked, went on days out and did lots of crafts. She taught me to sew and attempted to teach me to knit (I remember a lot of scarfs with holes!).

I started using the machine a couple of weeks ago, following the only diagram on the internet I could find for threading this machine and I found the tension to be completely off. My sister-in-law had a look at the machine and we tried and tried to get the tension right with no success. We eventually got it working ok enough to sew but over the next few times I used it the tension was all over the place. Unfortunately my great aunt now has dementia and the instruction book is nowhere to be seen. So I took to the internet. I found a really useful sewing forum, full of friendly and knowledgeable people who helped me out a lot so I am going to share what I found below for future reference and for anyone else who owns a Necchi Lydia 3.

First off I found this useful video on you tube of how to load the bobbin.

This is a really useful four part series that talks you through all the basics (part 2 is the one that helped with my tension problem). Part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

This is a link to the PDF file of the manual.

An american facebook group for Necchi sewing machine users.

Two options have been suggested to me as alternatives to Necchi oil for oiling the machine – TriFlow, an equivalent synthetic oil with telfon added or Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube.

I hope this is useful to someone else. I’ll be back soon to share some of the things I’ve made. Starting with an adorable dress and skirt for my daughter.


  1. malgay651
    August 21, 2016 / 12:55 am

    I clicked your link to the PDF manual & all I get is a Facebook link?
    Would really appreciate if you could restore link and make it available.

  2. September 12, 2017 / 9:25 am

    Great post. Really nice review. Thanks for sharing!

    • Claire
      September 12, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it useful.

  3. Mike
    June 17, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Many thanks for sharing. I have a problem with the upper thread tensioner. It seems to be missing a spring somewhere as it doesn’t seem to tension the thread no matter what the tension is set to. Your link to the videos has confirmed that I am not doing anything wrong. Thanks again.

  4. Carole Childs
    October 29, 2018 / 9:54 pm

    where can I buy necchi lydia 3 542-544 bobbins in uk

    • Claire
      November 2, 2018 / 7:44 pm

      Sorry I don’t know

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.