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Thread: Karen's Home for Wayward Kenmores

  1. #1
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Karen's Home for Wayward Kenmores

    It started with the Model 71 my neighbor brought me (the VSMS thread, post #28670). I was home for a family funeral this week, and on my way back out of town, stopped by the junk shop where I bought my Pfaff 130 this summer. (And the guy remembered me, and gave me the Pfaff buttonholer he'd found the day after I was there. He kept it on the off chance I ever went back. How cool is that?)

    Apparently that original Kenmore called the others, now I have a bunch. I picked up a 148.12170; grubby, turns, but has no foot controller, so I don't know if it runs or not. I'm assuming 1950's-it's pea soup green. This one will go to my osmg for resale.

    Also a 7057a (Dressmaker Stretch Stitch), which has a mostly metal body-the front and top are plastic. It's printed "Made in Poland" on the back of the pillar. It's grubby, but runs. This one I'll clean up and keep until I run into someone who says, "I'd like to learn how to sew, but I don't have a sewing machine."

    My favorite is a 117.958. I can find *nothing* online about it. It looks like it's related to the Kenmore Imperial Rotary--same body--but model number is 117.591. I had to cut the cord to get it out of the table, but that was no loss. It was a knee bar (which I don't like), and had clearly been snacked on by some member of the family Rodentia, possibly a party of them. It's frozen stiff and missing the bobbin case, but I'm keeping this one-it's too cool looking not to. It's also got a really weird tension plate? disc? that I'm going to have to track down a manual to figure out, I think. It reminds me of a 30's train engine, and it's about that heavy, too. I'd love to know more about this model, if anyone has any info. Anyone know/want to guess when it was made?

    I got a Singer 237 too, which is (gasp!) clean, and works fine. This one will also go to my osmg-they're his favorite.

    The last shot is a pic of my aunt's Viking, that I brought back for a tuneup. She bought it second-hand nearly 30 years ago, and I love it! I've only ever seen green Elna's like this before. It has a cute litte red suitcase that I'll replace the lining in before I send it back.
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    Last edited by MrsBoats; 12-10-2011 at 10:04 AM.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  2. #2
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    My Sewin buddy has a Kenmore like yours ( My favorite is a 117.958.) the # on hers is 117-959, you all have sister machines, LOL. I only have her # because she wanted me to search for bobbins for her. She don't have the internet.

    What does osmg mean please. All your machines are lovely.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
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  3. #3
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valleyquiltermo View Post
    My Sewin buddy has a Kenmore like yours ( My favorite is a 117.958.) the # on hers is 117-959, you all have sister machines, LOL. I only have her # because she wanted me to search for bobbins for her. She don't have the internet.

    What does osmg mean please. All your machines are lovely.
    OSMG = Old Sewing Machine Guy.

    Did you find bobbins? I'm hoping I can get this thing running!
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...ml#post4647584

    On the brown Kenmore with the flat tensioner, the above post might be helpful as far as threading. It looks exactly the same as the tensioner on the old White Rotary machines. Not hard to do, just a little different if you are used to a Singer.

    The same kind of happened to me with the White FR machines...not really that interested, but then I ended up with 3 of them all in a row! Have fun with them.
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valleyquiltermo View Post
    My Sewin buddy has a Kenmore like yours ( My favorite is a 117.958.) the # on hers is 117-959, you all have sister machines, LOL. I only have her # because she wanted me to search for bobbins for her. She don't have the internet.

    What does osmg mean please. All your machines are lovely.
    Try Sew Classic for bobbins, that's where I got mine for my Whites, and it looks like the same ones will fit Kenmores beginning with 117.
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  6. #6
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...ml#post4647584

    On the brown Kenmore with the flat tensioner, the above post might be helpful as far as threading. It looks exactly the same as the tensioner on the old White Rotary machines. Not hard to do, just a little different if you are used to a Singer.

    The same kind of happened to me with the White FR machines...not really that interested, but then I ended up with 3 of them all in a row! Have fun with them.
    That actually makes sense-everything I've found about this era of Kenmore has said they were made by White. Thanks for the link!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    Try Sew Classic for bobbins, that's where I got mine for my Whites, and it looks like the same ones will fit Kenmores beginning with 117.
    I was wondering about that...

    And I LOVE your signature!
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    Thanks! I keep thinking I need to do some tutorials on my little trio since they don't have as much info out there as fixing up Singers. Just not enough time for everything. Good luck with yours.
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  8. #8
    Junior Member quilter1942's Avatar
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    I laughed about this post,because I am also a machine collector.I have a Bernina 1050 Quilters edition,a Janome 6260 Quilter`s Chice,Babylock Quilter`s Choice that was signed by Eleanor Burns,then a 1950`s Singer in a cabinet (my Son used to tell people his Mama had a black singer and it wasn`t Ray Charles)3 black Featherweights,1 white featherweight.a brown Singer 301,a New Home in a cabinet,dont know much about it.A phaff that my DDH found at a yard sale for $3.00,runs but needs some TLC.Also he bought me an Elna Supramatic at the Rotary club quilt show in Paducah for $100.00,it runs but also neeeds some TLC,then my DB brought found a Necchi at the dump 1 day,sneaked it out and brought to me.It runs and sews great only a straight stich.Also a Bernina serger and embroidery machine.I think that is all.I think I may be a hoarder.Oh forgot the Singer Treadle which we acquired from a lady who was closing her antique buisness for $25.00,I have already told my ODD that it is hers,she can treadle,I can`t.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    In furtherance of the 'a rodent chewed on the wiring' theory, I just removed what I thought was going to be a spider's eggs sac or a wasp nest from inside, above the main shaft, only it was...a peanut. A whole, in-the-shell peanut, with one end chewed into and half that nut missing.

    In other news, the drive shaft is pretty well frozen. Is this something I can un-freeze myself? With what? Preferably something I can get at Ace Hardware, or an auto parts store. I know folks rave about Kroil, but have never found any locally.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    I've heard good things about PB Blaster, and I use the Liquid Wrench I have on hand for stuck parts. Patience and a little heat will help too. I found both PB Blaster and the bottles of Liquid Wrench at Lowe's (try Seasonal or the Tools sections), so you could probably find those at most any hardware store. Is there wiring inside that is messed up? Be careful because some of the cleaners and lubricants can dissolve rubber and plastics.

    On the tension adjustment for the brown Kenmore, it looks like it is the lever on the front of the machine just directly above the needle bar. Be careful if you remove this part to clean it. The flat tension disk mechanism on the side is very likely held in place by the tension adjustment. The first time I took off my adjustment dial on my White to polish up, the whole tensioner fell off. It wasn't difficult to fix once I figured how it was connected, but it was a surprise!

    If you think you'll have to pull it all apart to clean well and de-gunk, see if there aren't a couple of screws towards the inside of the "head" part (the part with the needle bar, presser bar, and tension). These screws would probably be facing the pillar of the machine. If so, these just might detach the whole "head" of the machine, needle bar, presser bar, and tensioner all. Then, you could clean and oil as 1 large piece if you didn't want to take all the individual pieces off. Of course, doing this will also make it easier if you want to take off the tension mechanism and lever part to clean them thoroughly. Kind of depends on how handy you feel! I'll look around and see if I can find a picture of what I'm talking about.
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    Okay, found a picture that might give you an idea on the "head" part of brown Kenmore. You can see the 2 screws that I had to remove to take the entire part off.
    Labeled as follows:
    1. There is a "peg" from the tension dial that rolls along a flat spring (2) attached to the tensioner. This puts more or less pressure on the spring, in turn putting more or less tension on the disks in the tensioner. Yours probably works a little differently because it's a lever. I haven't pulled apart one like that before.
    2. This is the flat spring attached to the tensioner. It kind of fits through a hole up into the machine.
    3. Here you can see the back of the tensioner from the inside of the machine "head."

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    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    Okay, found a picture that might give you an idea on the "head" part of brown Kenmore.
    Thanks! I got mine off, and the inside of mine is similar, but not the same-there's a lot more dirt and rust, for starters. I've got a gizmo connected to the needle bar, that also connects to a peg on the inside of the face. I've oiled the heck out of everything, and most of it is moving, so I hope that later tonight it'll be all moving and I can wipe the yuck off.

    Tomorrow's project will be to free up the drive shaft, if I can. But I just realized that it has no foot. It's top-clamping, too. I already checked, and the feet from the Kenmore that started this don't fit-the clamp won't fit around the bar. Will White rotary feet fit, do you know?
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  13. #13
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBoats View Post
    OSMG = Old Sewing Machine Guy.

    Did you find bobbins? I'm hoping I can get this thing running!
    Yes I found the bobbins thanks to a lady on the board who sent me to Sew Classic.
    My friend has the manual and she will bring it to me to copy for you. Just pm me with your email address.
    I will get it to you the first of the week when she comes to sew.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
    Sweet Dreams come from under Cozy Quilts made with love.
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    and do what you can for others.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBoats View Post
    Tomorrow's project will be to free up the drive shaft, if I can. But I just realized that it has no foot. It's top-clamping, too. I already checked, and the feet from the Kenmore that started this don't fit-the clamp won't fit around the bar. Will White rotary feet fit, do you know?
    It looks like rotary feet and attachments will fit. I think the ones I have around here were all made by Greist. They just have a "fork" shape that screwed down with that cross-hatched piece on the presser bar. No side screw to lose!
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  15. #15
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBoats View Post
    ....Also a 7057a (Dressmaker Stretch Stitch), which has a mostly metal body-the front and top are plastic. It's printed "Made in Poland" on the back of the pillar. It's grubby, but runs. This one I'll clean up and keep until I run into someone who says, "I'd like to learn how to sew, but I don't have a sewing machine."
    Hi MrsBoats,

    JC Penney marketed a version of the Polish 7057 back in the 1980s. My wife has one. It was her only machine between 1990 and 2006, and sewed everything around the house including the embroidered patches on our leather motorcycle vests. The fiber hook gears finally gave out in the Fall of 2006, and I replaced them with Singer gears for a Stylist Model 538. It’s still her “go to” machine when she needs a free arm, but she got a Singer 401A in the Spring of 2006, so the 7057 became “semi retired” at that time.

    The 7057 is very similar to the Singer Stylist 538 that I have used almost daily at the shop since 2006 for mending jeans. I replaced a broken fiber feed gear in the 538 in 2010, but other than that, it’s been a good little workhorse for me. If you need parts for your 7057, check to see if Singer Stylist parts will fit.

    CD in Oklahoma
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  16. #16
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    It looks like rotary feet and attachments will fit. I think the ones I have around here were all made by Greist. They just have a "fork" shape that screwed down with that cross-hatched piece on the presser bar. No side screw to lose!
    I'll keep an eye out for a set of Greist attachments, then. I dug around in my boney pile and found a partial tin of White top-clamp attachments, and found a straight stitch foot that fits, so there's that at least. Some of the others might fit too, if the bar were cleaner. I don't care so much about things like the rufflers and tuckers (although I have some of each in top clamp) but I'd really like to find my favorite hemmer to fit! Besides the regular foot, that's the single most useful foot in this house.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  17. #17
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThayerRags View Post
    Hi MrsBoats,
    JC Penney marketed a version of the Polish 7057 back in the 1980s.
    Oh wow! Cool to find a 'sister' machine, with a rival's logo on it! And I thought it looked like a Singer when I first saw it. I had to read the label to see that it wasn't a Stylist. Nice to know it's a sturdy little machine! I hate to pass it on to someone and have it crap out on them.

    Question: What/where is the "fiber feed gear"? That's not a term I'm familiar with.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  18. #18
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBoats View Post
    Nice to know it's a sturdy little machine! I hate to pass it on to someone and have it crap out on them.
    Well, keep in mind that the gears in it may all be original, and therefore subject to deterioration like most of the machines of this type. Most of the gears in these machines are made of fiber, and gear breakage is common. Some folks call them “plastic gears” and others call them “Nylon Gears”. I’m not sure what material it is, but it’s not metal. It may get a broken gear tomorrow, so I’m certainly not saying that it won’t crap out the first time it’s used. I was just saying that replacement gears for your 7057 may be available from the Singer Stylist line of parts.


    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBoats View Post
    Question: What/where is the "fiber feed gear"? That's not a term I'm familiar with.
    The feed gears drive the feed dogs. The feed gears in my Singer 538 and JC Penney 7057 are made of fiber.

    CD in Oklahoma
    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
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    Senior Member Quilter Day-by-Day's Avatar
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    Are old Kenmore machines worth buying?
    Quilting is an addiction that you can be proud of and enjoy.
    Elna TSP,Kenmore,Singer Futura,Singer Red Eye x2,Singer 66,White Rotary Treadles x2, Montgomery Wards, Janome 10000,Singer 201-2 1947,Juki serger, Black 1947 Featherweight. Singer 301a 1951, Parlor Cabinet Treadle w/ White.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter Day-by-Day View Post
    Are old Kenmore machines worth buying?
    As much as any other, I would think. The ones I've seen tend to be sturdy old machines. I don't know when, if ever, Sears quit selling sewing machines, so I don't know about more modern ones.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  21. #21
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter Day-by-Day View Post
    Are old Kenmore machines worth buying?
    It really depends on which model.

  22. #22
    Super Member Rann's Avatar
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    PB Blaster has a fairly new one that is not so oily. I think it is called Dry Blaster or something like that. I bought one can and now I can't find my can nor any in a store. I really liked it better than the original and it worked just as well.
    If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Success! The After hosing down the inside with PB Blaster from the back and the bottom of the pillar, a few minutes with the hair dryer, and a few more minutes of rocking everything with a padded lockjaw, I finally got it to turn. It now spins fairly freely. While it sits a bit more, I'll start on polishing the rest of the parts. The head unit and front tension disc will be last, so I can keep track of what goes where.

    Does the PB Blaster need rinsed off with kerosene or something, or will it evaporate on its own?
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

  24. #24
    Senior Member MrsBoats's Avatar
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    Done. Or at least, done for the day. Everything turns freely (although I have some questions about the stitch length selector), everything that can be polished has been, and it's all back together.

    Problem-I'm just not getting how to thread it. I've seen the pictures, read the directions, and nothing. I'm done dealing with it. I'll fuss with it again tomorrow when my brain isn't so fume-y. Also, I see by my original picture that I put the tension together wrong, so that's going to have to be fixed first.

    I'm using the old needle until I can figure out what kind of needle it takes. Somewhere, something in the detachable part of the faceplate is hinky; when I turn the wheel, the needlebar rises almost to the top of its lift, then clunks on something and stops. When I take the faceplate off it doesn't do that, so clearly I put something together incorrectly. Again, I'll deal with it tomorrow.

    After that though, I should be able to thread it and see if it will sew. All in all, I'm pleased with the day's results.
    -Karen
    There's no such thing as too many sewing machines!

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    Super Member nancia's Avatar
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    i have a kenmore 100 limited edition from 1986. not what i'd consider vintage. the poor thing gets little or no maintenance, and according to the salesman at the time, doesn't need it. i don't know if he's right or not, but it has certainly thrived on neglect! it is a sturdy machine and works as well today as the day i bought it. the head is steel and i have to get help moving it, so i tend to leave it in one place, but no tension issues, timing or anything else. it has 100 decorative stitches, hence the name. i would buy another steel body kenmore in a new york second! if i haven't killed it by now it must be immortal! lol
    The only bad days are the ones you don't get.

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