A New Arrival

This is my 'new' old Empisal Model No. 308 sewing machine I've christened Dorothy.

Yes, I KNOW, I didn't need a new machine.  Absolutely every one of my seven, that's right, seven, sewing machines are in perfectly good working order.  But for any of you out there that are sewers, and sewers with a sewing machine crack habit, you'll understand.  When I saw Dorothy on Gumtree it was love at first sight and I had to have her.  Really, isn't she a beauty!  I never knew there were any sewing machines manufactured in the color yellow! (or orange....).

Dorothy is an Empisal 'Honey' (I love that the manufacturing gave it a cute name).  I have no idea at all what her age is but I suspect early 70's as her whole body is metal and her base is heavy weight plastic. She may have been made during the transition period from all metal to almost all plastic for the 'modern' machines.

Before yesterday when I saw Dorothy advertised on Gumtree, I had never heard of a sewing machine maker called Empisal.  After an extensive search on the net I'm still no wiser really as very little information is available on this make and model of machine.  There's been some suggestion that she originates from South Africa (or was a popular brand of machine sold/used there) and that Brother or Janome may have either taken over the company or it was a branch that was part of either of those companies.  Again, this is all guess work from what I could get from the net.  Unfortunately I have no manual for the machine.  The individual I purchased it from was not a sewer and said it was her mothers and had been stored in the shed for years and years.  All the dirt and grime that I painstakingly took off her will attest to that story.  It took me well over 30 minutes to get her cleaned up enough to thread and give a go.  And the result?  Not bad for an old girl.
The access panel opened to the left of the needle.  This is where the light lives (as the light is turned on from the back directly opposite on the outside to where it's positioned
I think I'll probably send her into my favorite sewing machine repair people, Blackmore and Roy, for a good clean and once over.  They do the work on all my old machines and I couldn't be happier with the results.  The funny thing is that Blackburn and Roy have been established in Perth for ions.  And there's a sticker on Dorothy that says Blackburn and Roy so obviously she had been to them for service at some point.  It's nice to see she was loved and maintained over the years.
Her fly wheel band is unusual as its rippled.  I've never seen this before.

Dorothy's underside.  All metal sitting in a heavy weight plastic base.

As with any old machine after the initial clean up and test to see how the stitching is, I wondered about bobbins.  There are still bobbins sold that fit some of the older machines (especially for Singer) but with a brand like this I was worried I wouldn't find anything to fit without going through heaps of tests first.  Much to my delight, during the cleaning process I discovered LOADS of bobbins in the supply compartment along with a couple of extra feet.  So I have plenty of bobbins to keep me happy for a while.

Dorothy has a few issues that I'll have to deal with.  One is her feed dog button.  The Up is broken off.  I'm sure my husband can do something about it as the previous owner kept the broken button.
The feed dog up and down control.  The up is broken off.

This is the feed dog mechanism on the bottom. 
All in all, I LOVE Dorothy.  I'm looking forward to many stitching adventures ahead!

P.S.  If anyone out there in blogging land has one of these machines, and you're fortunate enough to have a manual - could I get a copy!


  1. Here's the thing with vintage sewing machines. Your cutie was probably made in the 60's, in Japan, and probably by janome, or white. Janome took over White at some point. All their machines were built as 'blanks', meaning that there was no brand name. They were shipped to the US and 'badged', by whoever bought them. That is why sometimes you will see machines with Montgomery Ward, Macy's, Western Auto, Dressmaker, etc. I don't have a manual. I just found a green one that I'm sure never got more than a couple hours worth of work, with a Dressmaker badge on it. The motor has a plate that says Riccar. It is a model 308S. Go to my blog and click 'email me' on the right hand side, and maybe I can direct you to some threading instructions, if you haven't already found some. Many of the manuals can work for this type of machine. The main thing to remember is the needle threads from left to right, and the flat side must be to the right. The bobbin thread must be coming off the right (clockwise) when the bobbin is inserted into the bobbin holder. That should pretty much get you going. Of course, you probably already know this if you took it in for a physical. Enjoy your 'new' machine. You only have seven? You need to get looking! I'm WAY ahead of you! ;)

  2. hi:) i just got the same machine! did u manage to get a copy of the manual? mine didn't come with one either:( aint she a beauty!!

  3. YES!! My Dressmaker 308s looks exactly like yours except it's painted cream and minty green! I bought it from a friend of someone who fixes up old sewing machines and collects them. I got it for $68 (I didn't have enough for $75 as the asking price) but it came to be well serviced, oiled, and ready to go! It creates beautiful straight stitches and everything. I didn't know that it was painted by various makers and I certainly have NEVER seen any sewing machine in a citrus color so what you've got is very unique!!

  4. I had one of these (and various other vintage machines) given to me today!! Unfortunately without her foot pedaL....BUT I will find one, I had honestly never seen a machine this colour!
    How did you go sourcing a manual?

  5. I had one of these (and various other vintage machines) given to me today!! Unfortunately without her foot pedaL....BUT I will find one, I had honestly never seen a machine this colour!
    How did you go sourcing a manual?

  6. I found your blog since I also just bought one of these machines on eBay. Did you ever get a manual, mine didn't come with one either. I'm also in Perth, which I assume you are because you mention Blackmore and Roy. I haven't had time to really try mine out yet, but I'd really like to get hold of a manual for it if possible first, and also find out a bit more about it.

  7. Someone from a sewing group on Facebook (Vintage Sewing Machines-non-singer) was kind enough to help me find the manual for mine like this, so I thought I would pass it along for anyone still searching! ✌️️☺️

    No. 3 on this page, the Dressmaker C-55-A :D http://www.dressmakermanuals.com/

  8. Lllllloooovvvveee this girl’s style (what a fab color!) :-)

  9. Lllllloooovvvveee this girl’s style (what a fab color!) :-)


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