Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Machine for Michael!

The Emdeko, a vintage Japanese machine
This blog post continues the previous posts in which I searched for a machine for my friend Michael.  Scroll on down to see the earlier posts.

After the green Dressmaker fiasco it finally dawned on me that I had an almost identical machine in my hoard that I  had forgotten about.

A year ago I restored my MIL’s Singer 66 Red Head treadle and fell in love with the whole process of bringing an old machine back to life.  I was beginning to read vintage sewing machine bulletin boards and was in search of another machine to play with.  The Emdeko came my way at the Good Samaritan thrift shop, $15.  I brought it home, opened it up and LO! It was pristine.  I’m talking factory-fresh. 

The fact that the exterior was immaculate and you could do your hair and makeup while looking into the chrome should have been a clue.  Oiled it, put in a new needle, and it sewed perfectly.  Built in zig-zag and the possibility for decorative stitches with cams. 

Now it’s not really possible to be disappointed that a $15 machine turns out to be a gem, but I will say that I was nonplussed.  It didn’t come with cams, but by now SMAD* fever had set in and cams started coming home with me—finally one set of them did the trick.  One of the cams is a blind stitch, and the machine has a built in zig-zag.

*Sewing Machine Acquisition Disorder

This fall will be the 50th anniversary of my journey as a seamstress, and it has been fun thinking about what a newbie would like in a sewing machine.  The Emdeko seems to go out of its way to communicate clearly with the operator (unlike, say, a Singer 401).  The stitch length dial says “stitches per inch” in nice large letters.  There is a giant button marked R for reverse. 

The zig-zag  selector has icons showing the size range of the zigs (or zags).

I just love this machine.  There are other nice touches:  a marked throat plate, AND it came with a seam guide.  There’s a button to drop the feed dogs down, and another one that changes the height—all the way up is for normal fabrics, and halfway up is for lightweight fabrics.  The cam operation is fairly intuitive and the cams are easy to insert and remove.  The thread spool pins are metal and hinged so they fold down.  There is a needle position lever.  All of these things make sewing easier and all are working flawlessly.  And miraculously I found a manual online for free.  Now a generic manual for Japanese machines is fairly easy to find, but this is the exact manual for this model. 

I think this machine could take Michael anywhere he wants to go.   Two thread spindles allow for twin needle sewing.  A 1.3 amp motor and the solid steel construction ought to handle any home dec project up through occasional upholstery.  Put a roller foot on it and I’m betting it could handle leather.

Which leads to the single drawback to this machine:  it is high shank.  It came with a zig-zag foot.  I bought an adjustable zipper foot for it.  If Michael comes up with any needs beyond that he is in the realm of full-retail-price.  I have only ever seen one set of high shank attachments at a thrift shop, and needless to say I bagged them for my Lady Kenmore 89 (Queen Of The Studio, a Pfaff 280 in disguise). 

and, oh yes:  Michael was quite pleased with his new machine.


  1. Very handsome machine! It is nice that you found some cams that work with this machine.

  2. Love this post. The pictures are great. It was great to see the company name too. I had until recently a space age looking vacuum made by Emdeko which I used for years and years. With sadness I gave it to someone, but am pleased he is rebuilding it. He was into vacuums like we like sewing machines!
    Let your friend Michael know it is not too hard to find attachments for a high shank machine. I got some cheaply at a industrial machine supplier.

  3. Nice looking machine. I've never heard of that brand. I'm sure Michael will have fun with it.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. what neddle can I use for EMDEKO sewing machine?

    1. It uses regular sewing machine needles, the same kind that modern domestic or home use sewing machines use.

  6. I think I have a set of cams for this machine. So hard to research...

  7. I think I have a set of cams for this machine. So hard to research...

  8. Hi Cheryl! Love this post! I was wondering, can you tell me about the hinges on this machine - could it be put in a Singer treadle cabinet? I saw one at a thrift and am wondering if I could do that... Thanks! Kim


Say hello or leave a comment here. I would love to hear from you! If your own settings are set to receive a comment back, I will write to you. If you don't hear back from me, you will know that your own settings are set to "no reply".

I have to block anonymous posts to prevent spam. I am really sorry if this excludes you.