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Thread: I love the older Kenmores ....

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I love the older Kenmores ....

    We just traded into two 158-17xxx Kenmore ZZ with cam machines. One really used, dirty and gummed up, the other in much nicer cosmetic condition and less used. Both are now cleaned, serviced and initially tested. Both are soooooooo very quiet compared to the same vintage ( early 70s ) Singers. Both are all metal, no plastic 'cept the cams.

    I'm also testing a Kenmore 158-15000 cam machine with some additional cams that we also got during the trade. This machine isn't quite as good as the others, but it's still all metal and far better than the same vintage Singers.

    We've got several more and now comes the hard part ........ Deciding which "ONE" to keep. All the others must be adopted out.

    (( Wifie just read this and snickered .... think she knows something I don't? ))

    Joe

  2. #2
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I would agree - the Kenmores of the 1970s are much better made than the Singer's of that era. Why do you need to keep one?
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  3. #3
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Joe - I leaned to sew on a Kenmore 158-13010! I don't know what happened to my mothers machine but a couple of years ago I went on a mission to find one just like it. And I was successful! I got it from goodwill.com in a table for $11.00! It was the goodwill in my city so I didn't have to pay shipping. I took it directly to the OSMG and had it cleaned. When I sew on it, it takes me back to when I was 7 yo, sewing simple summer tops and wrap dresses for my dolls. My mother passed away when I was 12 and due to her lifelong battle with severe mental illness, I don't have many happy memories of my mother and me. But this sewing machine helps bring back those happier times that got clouded by the bad. I love how it sews, so quiet too. This machine isn't just a sewing machine to me, it is also a time machine!!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
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  4. #4
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I still have my kenmore from 1977, heavy but runs like a champ...also a 15 year old computer machine that I use for classes...back when I bought the computer you could get home service which was a good feature while it lasted out here in the boonies LOL
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Miriam,

    I need to pick the one with the best features .... IE: patterns and keep that one. Well, I guess there is no "need" to it, we just want the one that makes the best patterns.

    auntpiggylpn,

    I know what you mean. Sometimes memories of pleasant times past can keep us from becoming dull and depressed in the now.

    I have my mom's HOTHER machine, my avatar pic, and when I sew on it I think of her sewing things. She used to make the neatest things. She could just sit down and do it. I'd try to figure out how to do it, and she'd already have it done.

    Linda,
    I find the heavier machines sew better for me. They are quieter, don't vibrate as much, and don't tend to scoot all over the table ( if they are portables ) as the plastic wonders. I'll avoid comment on the computer machines.


    Joe

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I had one once that you could make the cam stitches longer or shorter or something (I can't remember) it was pretty cool - changed the whole pattern - that would be the one I pick. It had the green pattern disks.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    The two we just got can elongate or compress the patterns and they use the blue green large cams. One has all the attachments to do chain stitches too. I haven't tried that yet. I think that's the one were gonna keep.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    The two we just got can elongate or compress the patterns and they use the blue green large cams. One has all the attachments to do chain stitches too. I haven't tried that yet. I think that's the one were gonna keep.

    Joe
    Joe, I think you have made up your mind. That would be my pick, too. Some of them are very heavy - consider a table with a lift built in.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  9. #9
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    I have three Kenmores..A 158-1941. a 158-18000. and another one that is a 37something.....I love them...All were bought at thrift stores and are in great condition....

  10. #10
    Super Member mandyrose's Avatar
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    Here is my pride and joy bought brand new in 1972 been through a lot together and many moves,only needed belts change twice and second set just a few months ago did I say my pride and joy

  11. #11
    Super Member mandyrose's Avatar
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    sorry can't upload my pic of my pride n joy grrrrrrr. a 1972 with cams and a special thingy for chain stitching when my son was growing up I used that stitch a lot .hmmm wonder why I can't upload my picture any suggestions how to do this I have done it once before with no problem

  12. #12
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I sure do want to see how the chain stitch works - I have one.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  13. #13
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I have two that will do the chain stitch. One has the attachments, the other doesn't. I'll have to see if the attachments will fit both then I'll give them a good try.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    I have my Mother's Kenmore still in her sewing cabinet. I kick myself...many years ago I got tired of moving it when we moved (air force) and I threw out the cams. I know crazy thing to do!! I will take a photo of the machine soon and post it. I really have no idea how old it is. But she had it for many years even before she gave it to me.
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

  15. #15
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Joe, here is my 158.1430. It does everything so effortlessly. Hubby picked it up in cabinet for $40.00 last year. I love the different stitches and does great double needle work. Most we have spent on any of my vintage machines, but it was well worth it.Name:  kenmore, morse 001.JPG
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    Kitsy

  16. #16
    Super Member MaryAnnMc's Avatar
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    I have had two Kenmores in my married life, and was frustrated with both because I could never keep the tension right. It seemed like every time I sewed, the machines would mess up and I would have to stop and take it to a shop for repair. I was terrified of messing with the tension! It wasn't until I started quilting two years ago that I learned that it was needles, or thread, or fabric, or me... the poor machines had been taking the blame! They are terrific, sturdy machines and being simple and un-electronic, are great for new sewers. Now that I have a lovely vintage Bernina, I rip her apart frequently for cleaning and oiling (gasp!), change my needles, consider my threads, and play with the tension until it's just right. My last Kenmore is in the hands of a sewing newbie. She has little time to sew with five homeschooled kids, and quits in frustration because "The machine keeps messing up". Now I can smile and assure her it's not the machine, it's probably curious four-year-old fingers. Those Kenmores are a gem!
    aka Chicken McLittle

    If it's true we learn from our mistakes, I'm going to be a genius!

  17. #17
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    With the exception of Betty my 120-491 none of the Kenmores we have has given us any real tension issues. Betty came to us totally seized up and every nook and cranny was packed with reddish wool lint. It took a lot of work to get her to sew at all, and a lot more work to get her tensions right.
    When machines keep screwing up, it's usually operator error.
    Thread will have some effect on tension and you'll have to adjust the machine accordingly. I found that out when using the C&C Dual Duty Heavy thread on my "All Machines Quilt".

    Joe

  18. #18
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Kitsy,

    Nice machine. Very close to the two I just got.
    Do you have the owners manual? That is the one thing that I think is really needed with a Kenmore, the manual.
    With the manual you can make perfect stitches easily. Without it, you're up the creek. The controls are not intuitive or self explanatory.

    Joe

  19. #19
    Super Member Sweeterthanwine's Avatar
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    I have an older Kenmore also and it sews rings around the other machine I had, a Singer newer model. Why I started using the Singer I'll never know, the Kenmore sews beautifully. Got it out the other day, cleaned it up, oiled where it needed and started sewing. I got it sometime in the 60's, it was my first owned sewing machine and I'll never give it up. Going to use it this morning to start sewing on a quilt top.

  20. #20
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Joe, I just typed in Kenmore Model 158.14300 and it cam up as a pdf. Everything is there from the original booklet. Hope you find yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Kitsy,

    Nice machine. Very close to the two I just got.
    Do you have the owners manual? That is the one thing that I think is really needed with a Kenmore, the manual.
    With the manual you can make perfect stitches easily. Without it, you're up the creek. The controls are not intuitive or self explanatory.

    Joe
    Kitsy

  21. #21
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Kitsy,

    I've got manuals for all of mine. I find them very well thought out manuals.

    Joe

  22. #22
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    I've heard others say that Kenmore made a good machine. I think I'll try to find one local and see what I can do with it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn View Post
    J I took it directly to the OSMG and had it cleaned.
    Omniscient Sewing Machine Guy?

  24. #24
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Material Witness View Post
    Omniscient Sewing Machine Guy?
    OLD Sewing Machine Guy! In this case, the "O" should stand for Only if he is the only one in town! He did perform maintenance on it but he didn't clean it up at all on the outside. The shop acted like it was really an imposition to service this machine. I have since found a different OSMG that I will be taking my machines to in the future.
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  25. #25
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Tenngal,

    For the purpose of this thread we are talking about the 70s vintage pre-plastic parts Kenmores. I feel the same way about the later ones that I do about the plastic geared Singers ...... barfffff ....

    auntpiggylpn,
    Cleaning and oiling the old mechanical machines is a piece of double dutch chocolate cake. If you can follow the instructions on a pattern and make it, you can service your own machine. The hardest part is drumming up the ambition to do it.
    Most of them have instructions in the owners manual on where to oil and lube. It is easy.

    Joe

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