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Forum > Sewing Machines > Vintage Kenmores ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Vintage Kenmores
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Cat n Bull
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Cat n Bull  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/19/13 10:59 PM

It was suggested to start a new topic dedicated to vintage Kenmore machines, and it sounds like a WONDERFUL idea to me because I just adopted one and would LOVE as much info as possible.

Mine is a 1931, or 158-19310. Her name is Verina. I have the manual, a bunch of cams and NO straight stitch presser foot!

I spent close to 5 hours cleaning and oiling her today. I scrubbed her with a toothbrush and used Q-TIPS where the toothbrush didn't reach.

She is so QUIET and smooth now!

Her bobbin case was very very dirty, and has a rusty looking spot. I am wondering if I should get a new one?

I was originally told she was a well maintained machine, but after I got her from my step mom, she told me she NEVER cleaned her AND she had been sitting in the case unused for 25 YEARS!! She said she got her in 1975, but it appears that the machine was made in 1976, so I'd bet on step mom's memory being a year off.


There is a rusty spot I was not able to reach inside her. I used WD-40 Specialist sprayed onto the toothbrush to scrub EVERY part I could reach, after I let machine oil soak in. It worked very well to remove the rust I could reach (there were only a FEW rusty spots overall, and only one I couldn't reach). I also used a copper version of steel wool, that's all I had, to scrub the stubborn rust, and it really worked fantastic! I wiped everything down with a soft absorbent cotton diaper and re-oiled with machine oil as the final step.

What a TREMENDOUS difference! The tension and stitches are just fabulous. I am SO happy with her!

I am not having ANY luck finding the straight stitch foot. I REALLY need a good accurate 1/4" seam, and I'd have to sew with the fabric actually under the zig zag foot I do have, with the edge of the foot extending beyond the fabric, to achieve it. It will be tedious to maintain accuracy like that!

I have seen some adapters to be able to use the low shank feet with the super high shank feet, but they don't all look the same and I am not sure which to get!

I got a BUNCH of cams with her, and after looking at them carefully, realize I have quite a few duplicates. Not sure WHAT to do with them, so they are in a closet for now.

So, it seems like there are a few lovely old Kenmores around this board, and I don't have any desire to join a Yahoo group of cranky old machine owners, so let's talk about them here!

I have TONS of questions!

Should I get a replacement belt just in case? Verina's looks pretty much in perfect condition, but then again I have NO clue about availability and how long these things last.

How frequently, REALLY, should she be oiled?

WHAT should she be oiled with?

WHERE oh where can I find that foot I need?

What kind of adapter will work?

------
Cathryn

NancyZL
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Date: 10/19/13 11:43 PM

hi, I have a Kenmore,a few years older. I located a high shank adapter at SingerOnline.com,# PD 60666,(Super High Adapter to Low) $12.95. Ray, the owner, was very responsive to my emails & telephone call. Regular sewing machine oil is fine. I was told every
3-6 months one should clean & oil it but of course, it depends on your usage. The more frequent one uses the machine the less one needs to oil it. Have fun!

TLCat
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Date: 10/20/13 0:36 AM

Nice timing. I just inherited my grandmother's 1950's - maybe 60 machine and cabinet. Do not have the details as to model etc...but will soon and a forum for Vintage Kenmore would be good. My singer is 1973 and still using it. Sewing granddaughter's clothes on same one I made her mommy's clothes (as I'm sure many of us do)....My Pfaff serger is 1997.....just try to keep them clean and oiled and a regular visit to the sewing doctor.... Please start forum...Thanks Sue

Sewinglady1947
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Date: 10/20/13 8:30 AM

I have been told to use only machine oil as some of the others can cause them to stick up. I recently got a Kenmore 3/4 Rose machine in a case. It has roses embossed on case. It sews great and a beautiful machine. I don't think it was used a lots. As for feet you can google parts at Sears and find most of them, or at one time you could.

------
sewing grammy

Cat n Bull
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Date: 10/20/13 10:38 AM

Quote: NancyZL
hi, I have a Kenmore,a few years older. I located a high shank adapter at SingerOnline.com,# PD 60666,(Super High Adapter to Low) $12.95. Ray, the owner, was very responsive to my emails & telephone call. Regular sewing machine oil is fine. I was told every

3-6 months one should clean & oil it but of course, it depends on your usage. The more frequent one uses the machine the less one needs to oil it. Have fun!




Thanks!

So with this adapter you can use ANY low shank foot?

------
Cathryn

Cat n Bull
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Date: 10/20/13 10:42 AM

Quote: TLCat
Nice timing. I just inherited my grandmother's 1950's - maybe 60 machine and cabinet. Do not have the details as to model etc...but will soon and a forum for Vintage Kenmore would be good. My singer is 1973 and still using it. Sewing granddaughter's clothes on same one I made her mommy's clothes (as I'm sure many of us do)....My Pfaff serger is 1997.....just try to keep them clean and oiled and a regular visit to the sewing doctor.... Please start forum...Thanks Sue

I am happy to hear about your inherited machine!

This will be the forum, just keep posting on it here.

I had a White machine I sewed on for years and years, until it just couldn't be fixed anymore.

The inside of my Kenmore reminds me a lot of that, but this Kenmore is ALL metal. She weighs a ton!


------
Cathryn

Cat n Bull
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Date: 10/20/13 10:44 AM

Would LOVE to see pictures of the Rose machine!

There is some stuff I read abut in a few posts here on PR, Tri flow I think it was. I need to find the posts so I can ask about it. Is that just a brand of oil?

And Sears no longer has many parts for this machine, unfortunately.

If the adapters really work, I'll just get one of those. Or maybe stepmom will find the foot! (Wishful thinking, I know)

------
Cathryn

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Date: 10/20/13 11:17 AM

i have a kenmore too. bought it off ebay and is a 1970's machine. very nice. it is my 'go to' machine even though i have a computerized pfaff. had a little kennie (rose cabinet) and gave it to my little sister when i 'graded up'. she doesn't sew very much but does use it occasionally. she and i are believers! you can go to sears.com and order some parts for kenmores on their site. yahoo has a site for kenmore groupies. good luck!

Sew Nanny
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Date: 10/20/13 11:39 AM

My mother who is 85 still has the Kenmore she bought from Sears around 1962. I don't know the model number, but it was the TOL then with all the cams. It hasn't been used in probably 20 or 30 years -- just sits in its cabinet.

------
Patricia
Bernina Artista 635LE ~ Bernina B380 ~ Juki MO-735
Bernina DesignerPlus 7

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." Eleanor Roosevelt

Marie367
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Date: 10/20/13 4:59 PM

I have an old Kenmore that I bought in 1980. It was my first big purchase. It was their TOL in its day. I got it on clearance for about $250. It has cams. I used those alot when my kids were little for sewing little designs on their clothes. It has a buttonholer similar to the Greist and it makes the best buttonholes. I bought every foot that was sold for it except the ruffler and the walking foot. I regret not buying the walking foot. If I can find them, it is about $60. It is a super high bar so hard to find feet so glad I have them all. It doesn't like to sew knits. We have had many fights over knit material and I finally gave up. Maybe the walking foot would have been the answer. It will sew whatever woven material I can stuff under the feet. In fact, it loves a wad of denim and sews it like butter. I don't use it much but if I have a project with heavier material I will get it out. It takes regular sewing machine oil. I can take the top and bottom off to oil it; there must be about 20 places. If I get around to making a wool coat again, it will be used for the keyhole buttonholes. I love it and would never get rid of it ever.
So glad you started this thread. Can't wait to hear about some other old Kenmores!

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