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Topic: Anyone else have an old Kenmore (sewing machine)?  (Read 30222 times)
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TheDishclothQueen
« on: September 27, 2006 04:47:33 PM »

I got a Kenmore sewing machine today, similar to this:



(Not the same, but this was the closest thing I could find on Ebay.)

Does anyone else have a Kenmore of the same era?  What bobbins do you use?

I'm using my plastic Singer bobbins, and they work fine IN the machine... they don't work so well when I want to wind the bobbin.  The space in the middle (where it actually winds on) must be slightly too small, so the knob you push over (that should fit into that space), won't lock into place.  Thus, I have to hold that knob over to make the bobbin wind.  This does work remarkably well, but I could tell after I had wound the bobbin that I have shaved off part of the bobbin doing this.

Any suggestions?  (Maybe I should be using the metal bobbins...hmmm.)
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2006 05:57:27 PM »

im pretty sure that most older machines use metal bobbins.

my older one uses metal... my new one only uses plastic... can cause damage to the machine if you use the wrong type.
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paroper
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006 07:08:46 PM »

That's my baby that Sears broke!!!!  One of the best machines ever made!  That particular one was TOL in 1974 and was made by a Taiwan (I think) company called Jaguar.  The company was later purchased by another company...name starts with M...and is a major commercial sewing machine even now.  She is a GREAT machine!!!!  I was sick when SEARS broke the take up lever during a routine cleaning. 

That line of machines was sold by Sears for at least 5 years and there were several machines in the line.  The one in the picture took pattern cams and did monograms.  I still have my 4 boxes of attachments and cams...but wouldn't you know it?  The only ones I can't reach are the ones that have the bobbins in them.  I'm almost certain that the bobbin was metal and had several holes..but it has been a long time.  When you are on e-bay, look for under sewing machine, Kenmore.  You will see Gray boxes.  Those go with that vintage machine.  If you don't have the cam door you would not be interested in the cams and monogram(er) and monogram templates... but the button hole, button hole templates and attachments should work.  The needle on that machine was a little longer than the "usual" needle.  I only bought Kenmore needles but suspect that it took the Singer needles.  When I bought my Bernie to replace it (I was NOT a happy camper), the needles that it used made terrible noises in the Bernina...I think they were too long.  I'm sorry I can't get to the bobbins but maybe I gave you enough info that you can find what you need.  Around 1975-78 they phased out these machines and they were replaced by New Home (Janome) machines.  You don't have to be a brain surgeon to know that these two machines were made by two different companies. The Janome machines are very round looking. 

The machine in the picture is one of the last of its kind in that at the time it was made, the entire Sears line was mechanical..after that, to varying degrees, the sears line became electronic and then computerized.  The cams had the designs they would make drawn out in a long line.  The machine had something that moved in the head that "drew" the line by going around the cam.  The button holer was a gear that was on a slide plate.  You replaced the slide plate and the button hole was drawn as the gear traced the design in a plastic template....pretty ingenious!
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TheDishclothQueen
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006 09:53:47 PM »

I know it's not necessarily true that all old machines use the metal bobbins--my grandma's 50s Singer will NOT work with the metal bobbins I've tried.  But, it works happily with the plastic ones.  Strange and totally counter intuitive, since the rest of the machine is solid metal, but, whatever works I guess.

I was wondering if it wasn't the metal kind with all the holes going around.  Sadly, I think that when I cleaned my room the other day, I tossed out a package of those (that I had once mistakenly bought), b/c I thought, "Oh, I'm never going to use these!"  I'll pick up a package of those tomorrow.

paroper, did they offer you any kind of remuneration for destroying your machine?  How sad!  I just got mine today ($35!), but I'm totally in love.  This summer, I've been picking up machines at rummage sales (usually between $5-$10) in an effort to find my "dream" machine.  (Honestly, I'm dying to find a Singer Touch and Sew, but no luck so far.)  There's always SOMETHING wrong with them, though (usually, it seems, really f@$%ed up tension)...and since I have 2 machines that function just fine and one that's pretty much fine, I have a hard time rationalizing spending $50+ to fix a machine I spent $5 on.  So the search continued.

In addition to my "dream" Touch and Sew, I've been looking for a Kenmore like I got today.  I used on in a costuming class once, and it was my absolute favorite machine.  There were newer machines in the classroom, but I wanted nothing to do with them (in fact, another girl and I fought over this particular machine Cheesy).  So when I saw this one in a second hand shop, I nearly died.  $35 was a lot to spend on a machine that didn't work, though, so I asked if I could try it out.  They were very helpful and said no problem.  It sewed like a dream from the start (well, I did some minor adj. on the bobbin tension b/c I could tell right off that was a bit too tight).

All the attachments came with it...several feet, the button holer thing (which makes no sense to me right now...I need to sit down and mess with it), screwdriver.  I didn't see any bobbins in the bag, but I'll dump it out to make sure (damn, I'm gonna be pissed if there were some in there the whole time and I was just too stupid to see it).

It comes with several built in stitches, but no cams.  I don't use most of the fancy sts anyway, so I'm not heartbroken.  I'm just so damn excited to have a machine that works!  (My one machine, there's something wonky about the reverse that can't be fixed, the other one, a Pfaff, needs to be taken in for some tension issues, and the other one, a newer Singer, the needle moves to one side or the other seemingly on its own.)

I love the manuals that come with the older sewing machines...the new ones basically assume that you are a moron and not capable of the most basic cleaning and maintainance.  Even my new Singer (well, new as of 02 or so) has directions like this:  "Bobbin Tension Adjustment:  Don't."  This baby not only tells you how to adjust the tension, but how to take apart the bobbin shuttle and everything to really clean in there.  I love it!

Wow...guess I rambled on, huh?  Anyway, thanks for the help!
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paroper
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2006 04:53:05 AM »

No they did not offer compensation.  I actually didn't want compensation.  The machine was about 15 years old and I wanted it replaced with the same machine or repaired.  I fought but they just blew me off...and it is hard to get above the district manager with Sears.  There has never been a machine that I loved more than that.  At the time I searched everywhere thinking that I would be able to find a replacement machine just like it but I guess everyone that had that machine felt the way I did.  I keep a (loose) eye on E-bay but the shipping on those things is horrible plue someone has decided it is a "professional" machine (which it NEVER was) so most people on E-bay ask way too much for them to start out with. 

Forget the Touch and Sew.   I've sewn on almost every type of T&S that was ever made.  Mom had a grey one.  The schools got each of them all the way up through the golden touch and sew and I used them through college.  I never was just terribly fond of anything about them except for the bobbin mechanism  (yes, they only used a small plastic bobbin that was larger on top than the bottom and you could unscrew to remove the thread).  I've had many a frusterating moment with the T&S.  I didn't even argue when Mom decided to give hers to a niece-in-law.  Now, my sister had a Kenmore like mine and I would have done almost anything to get it....but of course, that was not possible because she had children.  The T&S machines weren't  nearly the machine this Kenmore is.  It doesn't matter if you have the cam machine or not. 

The button hole on this machine is easy.  You just replace the slide plate with the one that has a gear.  There is a long piece in the your box that has a "toothed" area and a knob.  You choose your buttonhole templace and just turn the knob to dial it into this attachment.  Place the attachment so that you are at one end of the button hole.  I think you place it so that it is closest to you (been a while).  Start the machine.  The gears will turn the button hole template as the machine runs and your button hole will be perfect!!!  It has been a while but I think that the button hole attachment screws into a hole behind the presser foot. 
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TheDishclothQueen
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2006 09:16:27 AM »

Okay, it's a Kenmore 1410.  Here's an ebay picture of the actual machine:



I mainly just feel better knowing the model number.  (And from looking at the pictures in the manual and attachments and such on ebay, I'm going to try the metal bobbins with the holes all around).
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Sharypat
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2006 09:52:07 AM »

Yes, I have that machine too.  I buy the cheapy metal bobbins
at Walmart and they work just fine.
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Oops Creations
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006 11:17:42 AM »

I just got a Kenmore 158 series model 1341.  I can't figure out how old it is though.  Does kenmore have one of those sites where you plug in the serial number and they tell you when it was made (like Singer does)
see my previous post 
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=34786.msg1215069#msg1215069

I did find a good site with the FREE threading diagrams for kenmore machines (and manual for sale)

http://www.sewusa.com/index.htm
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paroper
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2006 03:45:43 PM »

Chances are better than average that it will have been made between about 1970 and 1976 or so.  My baby was made in 1973 and given to me in March, 1974 as a first gift from my new husband.  So it is probably 30-35 years or so old.
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batspit
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2006 01:30:22 PM »

that's my sewing machine!  It's the best one I've ever used, too.  Since i really like my equipment to never need anything ever and to work every time i want it to, this is the only machine i haven't wanted to throw against a wall!  My boyfriend's parents gave it to me when they got a new fancy one, and everyonce in a while his mom will ask about it-- it was good to them, and now, it is good for us... so cool, I just got really excited when i saw this topic, sorry for rambling
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purlychick
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2006 06:17:41 PM »

I just bought a Kenmore 158.14301 sewing machine today at the Goodwill for $19.99, looks just the one in the picture above. I was so happy because I wanted an older machine and this looked so nice. However, I can't sew and know nothing about sewing machines.  Grin

One of those vertical spool pins is broken off completely - the one on the left - and there's no presser foot, no manual, no bobbins. I had some metal bobbins at home and they fit. I managed to put in the bobbin. Threading went a bit harder but I think I got it, except for the final step. The final step, right where you get the thread to the needle is fuzzy, can't really tell where to put the thread.

I can't sew because of the no foot situation, but I did turn it on and it runs, I just don't know if it sews at all. Got 10 days to test it out and I can return it if it's no good.

So far I'm in love and I want it to work. Is that broken spool pin going to be a problem? Can I just use the one on the right?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2006 06:20:15 PM by purlychick » THIS ROCKS   Logged
paroper
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2006 09:24:46 PM »

The spool pin is usually pretty easy to replace.  However, you shouldn't need it until you do twin needle top stitching, which probably won't be just every day.  It is a wonderful machine and you should be able to get the parts you need.  The feet can be purchased often on e-bay.  The foot pedal may be a little harder but can probably be ordered from Sears.  It is probably a keeper as far as machines go.  They are wonderful machines that are built like a tank. 
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purlychick
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2006 03:09:40 PM »

The spool pin is usually pretty easy to replace.  However, you shouldn't need it until you do twin needle top stitching, which probably won't be just every day.  It is a wonderful machine and you should be able to get the parts you need.  The feet can be purchased often on e-bay.  The foot pedal may be a little harder but can probably be ordered from Sears.  It is probably a keeper as far as machines go.  They are wonderful machines that are built like a tank. 

 Grin Thanks, I already love this thing and I haven't even sewn a stitch with it yet.

Maybe my terminology wasn't right. I do have a foot pedal, the thing you push with your foot, and I plugged the thing in and the machine runs when I push the pedal and it "sews". That is I see the needle go up and down, doing all the right motions, or what I think is right.

What I don't have is the presser foot, the thingy that keeps the fabric flat under the needle. It's just missing, so I have to buy a new one I guess. The reason I don't know if it really sews is because I can't test it really without the presser foot. Or am I wrong about that? Can I sew without a presser foot (at least on a swatch to test it)?

I haven't tried winding a bobbin yet, but according to threading diagrams I've seen online, the "inner wheel" - or is that the clutch? -, that you can turn by hand (not the big outside manual wheel) is supposed to come out and then be pushed back in as part of the bobbin winding process. Mine turns nicely, but does not come out. Is it supposed to come out?



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paroper
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2006 03:49:56 PM »

Hold the ouside wheel and then turn the inside wheel.  It should disengage your needle when it is loosened.  It is more like turning it on and off...I don't think you'll notice a big difference.  When you start to sew, you tighten it back up and the needle will go up and down again. 

I've never tried sewing without a presser foot but you shouldn't have that big of a problem getting those.  It's the powered foot that might be hard to get (and that isn't a problem)...so you are almost there. 
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fadette
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2006 09:24:18 AM »

I have the kenmore 1410 which I got from my late mother and I am having trouble getting the right tension, can anyone help.
I just want to do hems and simple sewing repairs and am unable to find a tension that works.
Thanks.
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purlychick
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2006 12:39:20 PM »

Hold the ouside wheel and then turn the inside wheel.  It should disengage your needle when it is loosened.  It is more like turning it on and off...I don't think you'll notice a big difference.  When you start to sew, you tighten it back up and the needle will go up and down again. 

I've never tried sewing without a presser foot but you shouldn't have that big of a problem getting those.  It's the powered foot that might be hard to get (and that isn't a problem)...so you are almost there. 

Thanks for all your help!

A bit of an update: I had to abandon the old Kenmore unfortunately. I took it in to a local sewing machine repair place and they said that the needle bar was broken and they wanted $80 to fix it, clean the thing and oil it. That was a bit more than I wanted spend on it and after I took a look at the manual from Sears, it just seemed like too much trouble. Making a buttonhole had a four page long explanation. I took it back to the Goodwill  Cry.

I bought a Euro-Pro Shark 7133 from Target and I love it so far. Metal parts, adjustable presser foot pressure, 80 st. functions, almost as heavy as the old Kenmore and sews very nicely. Has some nice stitches and best of all making a buttonhole is easy even for a complete beginner like me. I already made a couple of pillows, bags and coasters with it. Happy so far but sad that that nice old Kenmore didn't work out.
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TheDishclothQueen
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2006 09:47:45 PM »

 Cry  I'm sad you abandoned the Kenmore.  Of course, I'm partial to old machines, particularly Kenmores, but I think the $80 was reasonable and a worthwhile investment, considering the amount of life you would have gotten out of that machine.

BUT, it's not my pocketbook, and I'm not the one sewing on it, so as long as you're happy, that's all that matters!
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2006 12:01:26 PM »

I have a wonderful old Kenmore that my friend's mom found for $10 at a garage sale. It only has one foot, and it's heavier than a satchelful of bricks, but I wouldn't trade it for the world--it's an awesome old beast and incredibly durable (survived a cross-country move boxless in the back of a truck!).

As for the initial question--mine uses metal bobbins ONLY...
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ORNurse
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2008 10:37:13 AM »

Hello Everyone,

I am now the proud owner of my grandmothers circa 1969 Kenmore sewing machine!  It looks exactly like the one that has been pictured on this page, but it is that lovely green color that was so in vogue at the time!  I learned to sew on this machine at age 8...but now I am a middle-aged mom...and have forgotten much of this machine's capabilities.  What I was wondering....if any of you out there have this machine's monogramming disks.  I only have 10 letters of the alphabet.
My e-mail is jggmgg@windstream.net
Thanks so much!
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sapphire_distortion
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2008 11:33:53 AM »

ORNurse, you should be able to find some on eBay. That's where I found the pattern cams and buttonholer/accessories kit, for $20 w/shipping for both of 'em. Smiley

I have a 1703, this is the only picture I have of it:



I decided to name it Vivienne...after Westwood...haha. Smiley I'm still getting the cams to work but it sews sooooo much better than my plastic Brother. Nice and smooth. I can't wait to get the cams working.
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ORNurse
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2008 06:26:40 PM »

Hi Sapphire!
Thanks so much I have been looking, but no luck yet.  Actually I just had the sewing machine repair guy come out and repair my machine...works like new! 

Good luck with your yours!
-A Very Tired OR Nurse!
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chamby
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2010 06:43:01 AM »

I have the very machine that you have pictured from Ebay. However I have lost the attachments. I trying very hard to find these somewhere that I can purchase. I just love this machine. So if you know where I can get them please let me know. And yes they do take the metal bobbins.
chamby
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« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2010 05:39:29 AM »

Well, instead of looking for "kenmore" feet, determine what the shank style of your machine is.

Identify the Type of Feet for Your Sewing Machine



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sewnutzz
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2010 02:39:27 PM »

You may still be able to get parts for your old Kenmore sewing machines from Sears.  You need to know the part number (you can often find it in the manual, or your service tech can help you with that). 

I bought an old Kenmore just like pictured, just like the one I learned on in 1969, at a garage sale (complete with accessories, monogram discs, and decorative stitch cams).  While I was taking it to the service tech for a good servicing, it tipped over and broke the bobbin winder assembly.  The tech said call Kenmore, and $25 later, I had the part and for another $75, the machine was fixed good as new.  The tech said I would have to pay $700 for a modern machine that was of similar quality.

Love, love, love the old Kenmores (which I have been told were manufactured by Pfaff, current ones are manufactured by Janome).

SewNutzz
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Miztic01
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2010 05:24:19 PM »

I have the Kenmore 158.1410, I bought it in 1972.  Have never had a single problem with it, and it's still going strong. I kept an eye open on Craigslist and bought a similar model in like new condition, carry case and accessories for $15. Just so that if I ever needed parts I would have them. I definitely like the older machines better. I also have acquired a Singer 401, 500, 301 and a 221 in the last year or so. I've gotten to the point I enjoy working on them more than sewing.LOL
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« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2010 07:59:25 AM »



Love, love, love the old Kenmores (which I have been told were manufactured by Pfaff, current ones are manufactured by Janome).

SewNutzz

None of the Kenmores where ever manufacturered by Pfaff.   The 3 digit prefix on the model number (aka "source code") will indicate from whom Sears aquired the machine.

117 - White
148- Soryu
158- Maruzen/Jaguar
340 - Necchi
385 - Janome
516- Gritzner Kaiser
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Misscritta
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2010 07:27:08 AM »

So glad to find this thread! Over the past few years, I have been "promised" three sewing machines if I wanted them. I just was bitten with the sewing bug, so I'm going to pick up one this weekend...and it is a 1974 or 1975 Kenmore! (My mom has the one in the first picture on this thread...bought it new and still uses it!) I have been lurking on the sewing threads for ideas, so I'll probably be in here asking questions. I haven't sewn a stitch in 15 years, so I'm a re-newbie!
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« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2010 11:40:37 PM »

My machine is very close to these that have been posted. I got it in 1976 from my soon to be husband.  I've sewn millions of miles of thread through my baby.  It has external parts broken, but keeps on sewing!  No face cams, just basic stitches.  But I can't help wanting a newer machine that embroiders!  Ah, one of these days! LOL!
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ratfiend
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2010 07:13:06 AM »

I have a Kenmore 1341/158 zigzag. Which unfortunately needs a new lower belt. (T__T). This was my moms machine that she got in the 80's. I really <3 this machine, it's such a workhorse and can handle almost any fabric that I put through it.  Hopefully I can find a belt for it today {it was screeching and making whiring noises/not wanting to sew}, not looking forward to price tag if I have to take it to a shop. But over all one of the best machines I have used.
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lizcrafts
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2010 11:03:46 AM »

I'm just about to start using my grandmother's old Kenmore 1410 Zig Zag machine. I wasn't sure what kind it was, but found the manual with it & this Craftster thread came up in my Google search! I've already learned a lot.
I sewed very little when I was in the 6th grade(about 20 yrs ago) so I'm completely new at it. I wasn't very good at it then, but I really want to get to know this machine & try to use it. I'm going to bring it to a place nearby that cleans & fixes sewing machines. I'm sure it hasn't been used in at least 15 years, so it must need a bit of care. It's in really good shape otherwise. My grandmother had kept everything that went with it, I think.
Sadly, she passed away 5 years ago & I never thought about asking her about the machine when she was alive. Ah well...
Anyway, I'm excited to get started with my first project. Wish me luck! Smiley
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MsCampbellSoup
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2010 07:20:11 PM »

I just bought my first sewing machine and it is a Kenmore.  I checked the model number on the back and it says 385. 1584180.

It didn't come with a manual, and I'm curious if anybody knows where I would be able to find one.  I'm anxious to get started, and I haven't touched a sewing machine in over 10 years (since home-ed class in junior high!) and I don't want to break something before I even get started!

Any help would be mucho appreciated!

Cheers.
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ddancergirl
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2013 05:13:27 PM »

I have a Kenmore 1703 sewing machine.  The belt recently broke.  Does anyone know how to change the belt?
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