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Kenmore 158 Chain Stitching Tips?

Kenmore 158 Chain Stitching Tips?

Old 11-12-2020, 12:47 AM
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Location: Western Washington, USA
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Default Kenmore 158 Chain Stitching Tips?

Does anyone have chain stitching tips that apply when using a Kenmore 158?

I just added this Kenmore 158.18150 machine to my secret sewing machine collection. (Shhh, donít tell!) I have the manual with cams and various attachments, including the chain stitch attachment. It is a left homing, super high shank machine with a flatbed.

I have sewn intermittently for many years, but am not experienced in decorative stitching, know little about fancy threads, and have never sewn anything on this Kenmore 158 machine. What kind of thread and needle should I use for decorative chain stitching through 2-4 layers of tightly woven medium-weight cotton or two layers of heavy cotton? Is there anything I should be especially cautious of when trying this?

I will read the manual and watch any videos I find about it, but thought I would ask this group for tips since I know there is a wealth of information here.
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Old 11-12-2020, 05:23 AM
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Location: Maryland
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That's very similar to the machine I bought while still in high school. Purchase price: $178.06 and the only machine I have ever purchased new. Fifty years later, still works beautifully and has a bunch of special attachments acquired over the years, but the chain stitch attachment came with the machine, as did the decorative cams and cams for buttonholes. I never did much decorative sewing with it. A 90/14 microtex needle and 40 weight cotton or cotton/poly would be my starting point but have fun playing with it. While I have other newer fancier machines, I cannot bring myself to get rid of this old Kenmore. If I'm asked to sew something heavy, out comes old faithful because I know it handles anything!
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Old 11-13-2020, 08:53 AM
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Thanks QuiltMom2. I have the #14 microtex needles and a partial spool of the 40 weight thread, so that sounds like a good start. I love your story about your trusty old Kenmore!

When my parents bought my first sewing machine in the late 1960s, we considered Kenmores and Singers. I got a Singer because it was lighter and we were not as confident in the Kenmore brand. What a huge mistake! We did not realize Singers had begun to decline in quality. They were not as good as their lovely Singer ancestors. The heavier weight of that era’s basic Kenmores was an indication they were made better than their lighter Singer counterparts.

The basic Singer machine I got could barely sew through thick layers and had frequent tension issues. I recall one plastic dial that kept coming off. Keep in mind, I was a child (not even a teenager) on my own with that horrid Singer, because no adults in my close family sewed. My frustration using it may have hampered my inclination to sew and to advance my skills. It lasted through about seventeen years of light-to-moderate sewing. I was relieved when it no longer worked well enough to use and was not a good candidate for yet another repair. I could finally justify getting a different machine!

I see the same late 1960s Singer model sometimes advertised as heavy-duty now. An upholstery-fabric project on that old model will likely kill it. It probably only lasted this long because people hated sewing with it. JMO.

This 158 Kenmore machine I just bought impresses me, and your words about that series of Kenmores is encouraging. I wish I would have got a Kenmore as a child. I have several machines, now. I do my best to help others avoid the pitfalls of giving bad sewing machines to children and beginners.

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