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Kenmore Sewing Machines

tofer | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

My mother just passed along a Kenmore machine (385-17624) which she used for very occasional repairs. It’s in perfect condition, but I’m having a hard time reining it in. I’m used to a Pfaff 1222, and the slow, controllable chug-chug of the needle. As hard as I try, I can’t get the Kenmore to behave in the same way. Is this a problem with all Kenmore machines? That’s what the local carriage trade sewing machine store says, but I’d like to know more. Is there a way to adapt the foot control or somehow dial back the speed?

Replies

  1. solosmocker | | #1

    Many machines can have the speed adjusted. I would call your machine tech person and ask before you bring it in. They will know.

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    I was surprised, when I switched from Kenmore to another brand, that some machines have a "slow/fast" option! On my Kenmore, though, I could get it to go slower simply by pressing the foot pedal more gently and gradually. Eventually, I got so used to controlling the speed with the foot pedal that I could stop the needle in or out of the fabric as desired.If you can't find a speed adjustment, take the thread out and try practicing with the foot pedal while "sewing" on scrap paper. As you get more familiar with the machine, you may find the difference in speed isn't as noticeable to you anymore.

  3. midnitesewer | | #3

    You can use a small dry sponge or piece of wood to keep the pedal from being pushed as far as you are used to pushing it. Some people use this technique when teaching beginners. Place the sponge or wood in the space where the petal meets the base of the foor control. this is similar to using an object to prop open a door. just check to be sure that you are not causing the foot pedal/controller to overheat or damaging it in some way. Good luck.  I love my mechanical Pfaff as well.

  4. cropnstitch | | #4

    I don't know what model my Kenmore was, but I finally got rid of the beast.  I couln't sew with it for love or money.  The thread would ball up on the bottom all the time.  We paid $500 for it new 11 years ago and I hated it most of the time.  I got rid of it Nov. '05 and got my wonderful Husqvarna/Viking Rose.  It is amazing that I can just sit down and sew something with out giving up in  frustration soon after.  I have created wonderful things and am so happy to be rid of the Kenmore. 

     

    1. tofer | | #5

      I'm getting the feeling that the Kenmore I described can't be retooled by a technician with a good screwdriver. Is the only fix a physical stop or a scrap of wood? I'll try to develop a lighter foot for sewing on this machine, but I'd really love to think that there's a way to slow things down for better control. Try as I might, the needle races ahead and make a mess of my carefully planned 1/8" topstiching!

      1. Beth | | #6

        Technicians are not all alike. Have you called and talked to more than one place? I would try the expense of a repair with a shop that says something like, "I can improve that."
        I have a Kenmore for a backup machine. It is sturdy, reliable, and does good buttonholes. I will sew slow or fast. My son has a Kenmore that he uses to make home dec items. He loves it, because it is well made and a pleasure to use.Beth

        1. Betakin | | #7

          Kenmores are now Janome made and most have the seven piece feed dogs that feed almost any material very well. One of my machines is a Kenmore and the quietest of my three machines. It is a pleasure to use. It has the speed control dial on the front head of the machine. Sometimes if there is a speed problem I think it means something could be wrong with the foot control. Depending on the model, some controllers are electronic where others are not. Electronic foot controls give more needle piercing power no matter the speed even when sewing quite slow. You might want to get the foot control checked out.

           

  5. SkiNsew | | #8

    I have a 385 series machine that I bought new around 1970.  It was a middle of the line machine and came with a grey metal foot control that only went very fast.  I got a parts manual for the top of the line 385 series and bought the foot control that came with that model.  It was brown bakelite and has an infinite number of speeds that can easily be controlled.  This machine and the brown foot control is now in my second home so I do not have the part numbers.  However if you are interested, I will keep your e-mail and send you the info within the next few weeks when I go up to my second home.  Remember this info is from 1970's. 

    Another suggestion is to find a good sewing machine repair shop that can order a better quality foot control for your machine.  I suspect that there must be some generic models that would fit your machine and provide the control that you need.

    HTH, Mary

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