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Buying a Kenmore sewing machine

boofsmom | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I am seriously considering buying a Kenmore sewing machine…model 19233.  I was wondering if anyone already has this machine, or if anyone has advice to offer about Kenmore machines.

This is a link to it:



Thank you!


  1. autumn | | #1

    I have a Kenmore that I bought in 1970. It was always a VERY good machine, no problems at all. Unfortunately for it, I bought a newer Singer, after 22 years because the Singer had an open arm that I needed for hemming jeans (everyone in my family is short). I've kept the Kenmore and will probably give it to my granddaughter. I like everything Kenmore because you get service and warantees.

  2. Betakin | | #2

    One of my machines is a Kenmore that I have had for several years. It is the similar model 19365 Elite that Sears had for a number of years that was discontinued as the 19233 and another model was introduced.

    Sears now carries machines of several brands but the Kenmore models are made by Janome though have been made by other manufacturing companies in the past.

    My Kenmore has excellent stitch quality and wonderful feed on all fabrics being it has the 7 point feed system and it is one of the quietest machines I have ever owned and has always performed well. I love the deco stitches that can be combined, programmed and the entire designs can elongated up to 5 times.

    Many feet came with my Kenmore and feet can be purchased from a Janome dealer but are less expensive if purchased on line from Sears.

    There are several reviews on the 19233 from owners at the PatternReview.com website I believe and they are favorable.  

  3. BernaWeaves | | #3

    The Sears Kenmore's were made by different companies in different years.

    The photo you posted looks like a Janome, so I'm guessing that's who made it.  If so, it should be a good machine at a lesser cost than a name brand Janome.


  4. Teaf5 | | #4

    I've had Kenmore machines for decades and just inherited a recent model that seems similar to the one in this photo; all have been solid, dependable, excellent machines. 

    I'm new to the computerized version, but the mechanics on this new model seem equal in quality to my older models.  The sewing machines and all the home appliances we've gotten from Sears have long outlasted their average lifespans, so we're very faithful customers. (unaffiliated)

    1. boofsmom | | #5

      I really appreciate all your comments!  I feel pretty good about buying this machine.   I am going to check it out in person soon, and hopefully bring it home!

      Those of you that have Kenmores--I want to sew everything from very lightweight knits to heavy and/or thick layers of fabric.  Do you think that will be possible?

      Thanks again!


      1. sewchris703 | | #6

        I sew everything from bridal chiffon to heavy wools and brocades for historical clothing on my Kenmore. Although, nothing beats my Featherweight for putting narrow hems in chiffon. I have 3--one over 30 years old; one about 26 years old and my "newest" one is about 6 years old.Chris

      2. Betakin | | #7

        My computerized Kenmore has a powerful DC motor and it sews well on everything that I have tried with it over the years.

        The 19233 is much like my Janome made Kenmore but I'm unsure if it has a foot pressure control which might make a difference for using it on different fabrics. You might wish to check this out because not all Kenmores have a foot pressure control but most do. The control on mine is inside the face plate and it is on a wheel that has several different settings. I have found though I have not needed to adjust it often it does make a difference when sewing some fabric but the 7 piece feed is wonderful on almost everything. Janome Kenmores are also the quietest machines. You can sew in the same room while someone is sleeping.

        I wouldn't worry about purchasing a Kenmore because should you not like the machine for any reason you can always return it.

        All the newer Kenmore models that are made by Janome as this one is will have the numbers 385 listed before the model number somewhere on the machine and on the manual though the Sears website does not list the manufacturer numbers they are on the machines. Some of the manufacturer numbers in the past were 117 for when White manufactured machines for Sears, 340 for Necchi and there are several more Kenmore sewing machine manufacturers inlcuding some Gernman manufactured older models.  

      3. Teaf5 | | #8

        Some of the things I've sewn on my Kenmore include: backpack zippers, leather upholstery, tents, sails, outdoor awnings, purses and belts, and even sandals.  And chiffon, lace, gauze, vintage silks.  The key is to get the right needles and adjust the settings on a sample before trying something new.

  5. MicheleAtkinson | | #9

    I'm sure you've already bought this machine, but I have the same one.  I've had it for a couple of years and I've sewn chiffon, leather, wool, and draperies. 

    I've found the machine to be a good machine for what you pay.  I love that it's not computerized.  I suggest investing in the walking foot because it makes a big difference.  I think the machine might be a disappointment if you are the type of sewer that makes heirloom baby clothes and wants each stitch to be perfectly straight.  But if most people will examine your work from 1-2 ft back (instead of eyeballing it for meticulous craftsmanship), the Kenmore is more than fine. 

    I'm in the midst of getting the timing fixed on my machine.  The Atlanta Sears repair shop dispatches the repairs to Chattanooga, so you don't get to talk directly to the repair person.  So far, I've returned it once because the timing issue showed up again (the bobbin jumps out of place).  I suspect the timing issues came about because I was sewing through drapery header (and I didn't really get it serviced yearly like you are supposed to).  You don't get to talk directly to the technician, you talk to the repair shop employee, they fill out a ticket, and the regional service technician works from the ticket.  I've heard timing issues can be tricky and never get fixed, but I love that Kenmore and I really don't want to shop for another machine.  But I've just kind of accepted that when it comes to sewing in Atlanta, I might as well live in some small town in Alaska because nothing sewing-related seems convenient here. 

    So it's a great machine, but you are on your own as far as service or guidance from Sears.  But since it's a Janome, you can probably take it to an independent repairman, if you have one nearby. 

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