Imperial Sewing Machine Model 535 User Manual

September 14th, 2011 by dontai


Imperial sewing machine model 535, as illustrated in the user manual. May also be branded as New Home 535 or Janome 535.

Imperial sewing machine model 535, as illustrated in the user manual. May also be branded as New Home 535 or Janome 535.

Since I became the custodian of my Imperial 535 sewing machine I have been looking for a user manual. Many people have written in looking for the same. As luck would have it, Gord Bestwick of British Columbia, Canada happened upon my blog page and has kindly cleaned up and offered me an electronic version of his user manual, for free non-commercial distribution. This means no one need pay for this manual and all Imperial, New Home and Janome 535 owners can enjoy it. This manual is applicable to many Japanese sewing machines of similar era. Between us, the world is a better sewing place.

My Imperial 535 sewing machine slightly differs from the user manual, but note the striking family resemblance. Operation is near identical.

My Imperial 535 sewing machine slightly differs from the user manual, but note the striking family resemblance. Operation is near identical.

It looks like when the Japanese were manufacturing sewing machines in the 1950-60s, much “sharing” occurred. Sewing machines of a wide variety of makes and models looked and operated very much the same. Specifically the brands New Home, Janome and Imperial, were made by Janome. Janome had bought the brand New Home in 1960. Janome manufactured many sewing machines that were later branded to suit the needs of retailers.

What this means is that Gord’s Imperial 535 looks exactly the same as the one in his manual, yet my Imperial 535 is just slightly different. Important operational issues such as needle threading, bobbin operation and sewing are identical. Minor differences include how to refill the bobbin and the placement of certain buttons and switches. In almost all other respects the user manual is very applicable.

Differences with my Imperial 535 include:

  • illustration
  • thread guides
  • bobbin winder mechanism
  • drop feed knob: I only have a darn/sew option, no silk
  • winding a bobbin, adjust bobbin winding device (I use my finger)

As stated, this document is provided free for non-commercial use. If you have information on the Imperial, New Home or Janome 535 that would be a good addition to this manual or to my blog post, feel free to contact me or Gord Bestwick at gbestwickatshaw.ca (change the “at” to @).

If you download this document please leave a comment with a valid email address. This document will be amended as we find more information. When it is I will email you, provided you leave a valid email address.

Download here by right click and then “Save Link As” -> Imperial/New Home/Janome 535 Sewing Machine User Manual

Imperial sewing machine, model 535, as depicted in the user manual.

Imperial sewing machine, model 535, as depicted in the user manual.

User Manual Table of Contents      
TO REMOVE BOBBIN CASE 7 TO REGULATE LENGTH OF STITCH AND DIRECTION OF FEED 18
TO WIND BOBBIN 7 STRAIGHT SEWING AND ZIGZAG SEWING 19
TO ADJUST BOBBIN WINDING DEVICE 9 MANUAL ZIGZAG PATTERN SEWING 20
TO THREAD BOBBIN CASE 10 TO REMOVE WORK 20
TO INSERT BOBBIN CASE INTO THE MACHINE 11 BUTTONHOLE SEWING 21
TO INSERT NEEDLE 11 DARNING AND EMBROIDERY 23
RIGHT NEEDLE AND THREAD FOR RIGHT CLOTH 12 HEMMING 24
TO THREAD NEEDLE 13 SEWING IN A ZIPPER 25
TO RAISE LOWER THREAD 14 BUTTON SEWING 26
TO START SEWING 14 BLIND STITCH HEM 27
TO REGULATE TENSION OF UPPER THREAD 15 TO CLEAN SHUTTLE RACE 28
TENSION OF LOWER THREAD 16 CARE AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE MOTOR 30
TO USE BUILT-IN SEWLIGHT 16 Appendix A – Compatible Parts List 34
TO ADJUST PRESSURE ON PRESSER FOOT 17 Appendix B 35
TO USE DROP FEED DEVICE 17

Related: Imperial Sewing Machine Model 562 Zig Zag User Manual

30 Responses to “Imperial Sewing Machine Model 535 User Manual”

  1. El Gordo Says:

    I will be updating the manual in a short while to include better illustrated pictures of the various zig-zags, and if all goes well I’m going to replace the poor picture used for showing the different parts with a cleaned up photo of mine.

    I hope everyone enjoys and gets good use of it.

  2. Donald McCrory Says:

    I just procured a “Happy Home” (Janome) model 535 made in Taiwan. Looks exactly like your “Imperial” except for name tag. I would appreciate it if I could get your download manual for this machine.

    Thanks!

    Don McCrory

  3. dontai Says:

    Hi Donald. The user manual is already online in the blog post and ready for you to download. Right click here and save to your computer. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Plantiemum6 Says:

    Thanks so much! I got a machine that I believe to be the same as this today at a yard sale for 10 bucks. The only difference is mine says SANCO where the one above has IMPERIAL. I haven’t fired her up yet, she needs a good dust cleaning first, but she looks like a nice machine for my girls to learn on!

  5. dontai Says:

    Good on you for getting this sewing machine for only $10. It is worth a whole lot more. Be careful of your back because this machine is all metal and very heavy. Follow the instruction manual for lubricating the machine and it will sew very well.

  6. Dee Cee Says:

    Hi Donald,

    Thanks for for posting this and the .pdf of the manual – I am putting a link to this page on the Yahoo group “Vintage Japan Sewing Machines”

    – I hope you get a lot of hits, as we are always looking for information on different badged machines – Thanks

    Dana

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vintagejapansewingmachines/?yguid=371784805

  7. k9dancer Says:

    Thanks so much for the info!

  8. alofmom Says:

    Thanks

  9. LJ Says:

    that is a picture from my photostream on flickr. you could have asked to use it. i wouldnt have minded.

  10. wanda Says:

    Thank you very much for allowing us to download a free copy of this manual. My grandmother bought this machine new years ago(can’t remember how many years), she has “misplaced” the manual,lol. We are trying to help her sew a new quilt, but alas, no manual. We grew up with watching her sew, we learned to sew on new machines, so we all had no idea what, or even where to start to adjust the tension on the bobbin or the top thread for that matter. So in closing i just want to say THANK YOU!

  11. Pauline Says:

    Hi
    I have a New home Model 535 which I have loved for over 30 years. It has given me no trouble until yesterday, my tention button came flying off: spring and all and I cnnot get it screwed back together. Does anyone have a solution before I pass it to a mender.
    Thanks

  12. Wee Crafty Mags Says:

    Hi There, I was just about to buy a manual on Ebay for my sister as she was given this model of sewing machine but it had no manual or footplate…Do you know where we could source a footplate for it? Thanks so much for the download it has saved her money….Mags Xx

    [Don: I have never seen any parts sold separately for Imperial sewing machines. You could try finding a donor machine and cannibalizing it for parts. I have done this for Singer machines. You might try other brands, such as Janome, New Home, as they might fit. They were all made by the same company or were acquired thereafter. I am happy that you found the manual useful and saved some money.

    Happy sewing!]

  13. Reg |Lloyd Says:

    Many thanks. I would be pleased to hear of any updates.

  14. Denny Says:

    Thanks for the information and manual for the Imperial 535
    I repaid and maintain all manner of sewing machines in 100 Mile House BC Canada. Your manual helped me with set up and operating the machine.
    Agan thanks
    Denny

  15. Bonnie D Says:

    Thanks for the manual. I have an imperial machine that is extremely similar but not quite the same model. Mine has a variety of stitch options (rather than just the straight and zig zag) and the access door to the bobbin case is in front of the pressure foot rather than to the side. I am thinking it might be a slightly newer model. The markings underneath are almost identical.

    [Don: Hi Bonnie, I am glad you found the manual useful. These machines came in such a wide variety of functions, it seems they just mixed and matched as they got orders, then shipped them all out of Japan, badged under a very wide variety of brands. You seemed to have bought a fancier one! May all your sewing be happy.]

  16. Bonnie D Says:

    Collections Canada has some archived copies of old Eaton’s catalogs. Here is a page with a near identical machine to mine in the top left corner. Mine is brander a “Crown” however. You can also find pictures of the Model 535 in the 1965 Eatons catalog on this site.

    [Don: Eaton's Fall/Winter 1967!!??!! That is awesome! How did you find this? You are surely a good sleuth and have mad search skills. Thanks! I need to do some catalogue shopping...in 1967...]

  17. breda Says:

    many thanks for this manual. I have the machine for about 10 yrs and i have learned lots about it from the manual which i didnt know. Thanks again

  18. Rachel Says:

    Many thanks for this manual. I bought a similar Janome machine two days ago but had no manual. Yesterday i noticed it wasn’t sewing well(needle tension)and i spent most of my time blindly troubleshooting. I’m sure this will solve the problem.

    [Don: Hi Rachel, and thanks for commenting on my blog. Gord and I are happy that you find the user manual useful. As for your thread tension, look at your lockstitch seam. If the bottom seam is too loose, then the top seam is too tight, so loosen up the top tension. If the top seam is too loose, then tighten up the top tension. You need not adjust the bobbin tension. Different materials will require more or less top thread tension, so it is best to do a test line and adjust accordingly.

    Happy sewing and may you sew goodness into your family!]

  19. ayesha Says:

    love this machine I got given one by my grandmother and I have had various sewing machines and always went back to this one as its a great reliable machine

  20. David Mullin Says:

    My mother has an Imperial 560, which she prefers to any newer machine. I’m looking for a motor for it now; it’s the same as the Imperial 535, an Electrohome model 67-C5. I hope I can find one for her, because it really is a lot nicer to work with than the newer ones, sews better, easier to use, stronger too.

  21. Randal Says:

    Thanks for posting the manual, Don. My machine is badged as a Maples Bluebird, though there is nothing blue about it; it remains resolutely beige. Maples was a chain of department stores in Victoria (Aus) and Tasmania that vanished about 35 years ago.

    One tip that won’t be in the manual: my machine, although mechanically perfect, was making a very harsh buzzing in the motor. This turned out to be the stator vibrating against the plastic casing. It was easily fixed by inserting a sleeve of insulating tape. Presumably the earlier ones had a steel casing that would probably have been trouble free.

    [don: Hi Randal! Thanks for visiting my site. As I am from Canada and beside the behemoth USA, most of my sewing machine information is North American. It is good to hear from Australia and NZ. Thanks for the history about Maples and the tip about the buzzing stator. I try hard to make my posts very "findable" by Google and Bing, so I am glad you found my post, though I'm unsure how you did it!]

  22. Kat Says:

    Thank you, I have looked high and low for this information.

    [Don: Thanks for downloading the manual. The user manual is free to download and use for non-commercial purposes. Gord Bestwick did a great job of putting the manual together. I maintain its availability on the Internet. Happy sewing!]

  23. Jon A. Says:

    If both of those are model 535, mine must be as well. I can’t find a model number on it anywhere. Mine is incredibly close in appearance to yours, the only visible differences being stacked slide switch controls on the control panel instead of those small knobs, with the numbered window to the right instead of above, and the knob near the front is white. Also, I see that the trim ring is missing from your reverse button. Mine came with a case for portability. I got it for free from a local classifieds site, apparently it just needs a belt. Good to get a manual for it.

    Oh, I see that yours came with a case too, looked like it was mounted in a sewing table at first. Another minor issue with mine, the shaft on one of the slide switches is barely operable as the shaft is bent and it has to be pushed in to move. No big deal, easy fix.

    [Don: Hi Jon, and thanks for stopping by. My Imperial has hinges but sits in the base of the case. The hinges allow the machine to tilt so I can get to the bottom of the machine without removing it from the case base. Good luck with your Imperial!]

  24. Rachel Says:

    Exactly what I was looking for – thank you SO much. Just picked one of these up on Craigslist. Beautiful looking machine, but sadly neglected, so in for some serious TLC now she’s in her new home!

  25. Frances Says:

    I had a janome and lost it in a fire , a woman from church is letting me use her janome 534 serial number 15666
    My problem is , I can’t find the on and off button .. When I plug it in it is sewing. Please help !
    The woman is very ill and I don’t want to bother her with questions.

    [Don: I really cannot help you as I am unfamiliar with that sewing machine. Ensure that the pedal is not depressed. Most sewing machines have no power switch. Press down the pedal and the machine will stitch. Ease off the pedal and the machine will stop. You may need to check and service the pedal.]

  26. Mike Bees Says:

    Thanks so much for the link, I picked up a Winfield 535 a few months ago, this appears to be identical to the Imperial/Newhome machine except for the badge. The manual has been very useful indeed.

    Mike
    Wales, UK

  27. Mike Bees Says:

    Frances, If your machine runs as soon as its plugged in the problem may lay in the foot controller. In the 50’s and 60’s a part was fitted to many foot controllers (I cant think what they are called!) that stopped the machines interfering with televisions etc. As technology has moved on these are no longer required but many have broken resulting in the motor running as soon as plugged in. The part is a small and cylindrical about an inch long and can be cut out using strong snips.. I have done this on a few controllers and it has always worked.

  28. Dana Says:

    Hi there, love your website. I picked up an imperial sewing machine last week and have not been able to find a manual for it anywhere. It loads the bobbin from the front. It wasn’t working at all, so I oiled it and adjusted the belt and now it works like a brand new machine, however I am having a little trouble getting the tension settings right. I can’t find a place for adjusting the tension on the bottom thread.

    My husband also fixed the cord for me because the tongs that plug into the wall actually fell out, yikes. So, he sliced a newer cord in the middle of the older one and I’m back in business with a longer cord.
    It also has a presser foot with a magnet on the bottom, would you happen to know what that would be for?

    It’s in such good condition it looks like a new machine. It’s too bad I can’t upload a picture of it to show you. Would you happen to know how much it might be worth?

  29. Faye Says:

    Thanks for that – my New Home 535 was my 21st birthday present some 34 years ago, and has served me very well over the years. I am currently attempting to make some sails for my husbands classic wooden boat being built in the garage, and have been having trouble with sail cloth/needles/thread – thought a re-read of the manual would be useful.

  30. Laurie Gardner Says:

    Thanks for the manual – I got an Imperial model 310 two days ago for free online and have been looking for a manual. The machine looks pristine. I also enjoyed the brief history of the company. Good info to know when looking for more info. Hopefully this will work for me. Thanks again.

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