Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

New to forums, with a question

winemank | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hello.  I’m fairly new to this discussion, and really enjoy seeing how much good advice you all have to offer.

I want to replace the 26-year-old Kenmoore 1560 I have used since I learned how to sew.  It was originally my mother’s machine, and now has a broken gear inside.  It still sews, but is getting more and more reluctant to do so.  I use it mainly for hemming jeans, patching my DH’s work clothes, small household projects, etc.

My question for you: have any of you purchased or tried a machine recently that you love (or hate) so I can narrow down my choices?

More specifically, I am searching for a new or refurbished machine that costs under $130 with a free arm, button hole maker, and auto bobbin winder.  I would like one that comes with a variety of foot attachments (zipper, blind hem, etc.).  I rarely use anything besides the straight and zigzag stiches, but other stitch options would be nice.  The most important thing I am looking for is the ability for my new machine to sew through a wide variety of fabrics with ease (ranging from thick denim seams all the way to delicate, gauzy fabrics).

Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom with me!


  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    I have an oldish machine so have not been shopping lately, but with a budget of $130 you most likely will need to look at refurbished machines.

    As for advice, do an Advanced Search for "Sewing machine" and read some of the advice that is older and might not show up in a current discussion.

    Happy shopping!


  2. midnitesewer | | #2

    I learned to sew on a 1970's Kenmore that my parents bought for my older sister. It's a tank a still works better than the machine that her husband bought her a few years ago. I agree that you are probably better with an older machine that needs a new owner. You can check out machine reviews at:


    You can look at reviews from the last 6 months for free. Good luck.

  3. enchantedbobbin | | #3

    I went into Sears to buy vacumme bags,and saw  three sewing machines that they had marked WAY down(they were sitting on the floor). So, geeesh  had to buy one...LOL These were all marked down because they said all their new models were comming. Maybe worth a call to ask if your local store  has any marked down. I got so excited I forgot to buy the vacuume bags and had to go back in! You could also try the Freecycle in your town. A friend of mine got a serger.The womens husband and son had bought her a new one so she just wanted to pass it along.I sold my first Kenmore at yard sale for $5.00. So check yard sales also.Also your local want ad. They are out there you just have to look for them. Good Luck!!  Linda

    1. winemank | | #4

      Thanks for your advice.  I'm looking online, and have found a White SM2000 that looks promising.  Does anyone know anything about this machine?

      1. winemank | | #5

        An update:

        I bought that White SM2000, and am very pleased to say that it sews great.  The tension is a little different (it has to be set almost on the highest setting), but once it's adjusted right the machine sews very smoothly through all kinds of fabric.

        This White does not have decorative stitches like the Kenmore I mentioned in my first posting; however, it does use the same size bobbins as that Kenmore did.

        For anyone who is curious, my new machine, including s/h, cost $85 and I am very happy with it.

        Thanks for your advice!

        1. User avater
          Becky-book | | #6

          So glad you have a machine that works for you!!!

          About the tension....some (maybe all) machines have an adjustment that can be made internally to give you a greater range of tension adjustments on the "user" side of the disk.   A friend brought me an old machine to look at when her daughter wanted to learn to sew; the tension disks were set so tight that even at "zero" tension it broke the thread. (it is a 30 yr old White) Once adjusted it sews beautifully for her.  If you find that fine thread can't be accommodated by the range of tension adjustments available to you, you might ask a repair man to adjust it for you.

          Happy sewing!


          1. winemank | | #7

            Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.  So far, it isn't presenting any problems; the upper thread tension just needs to be set near 8 1/4 (out of 10), and the bobbin tension needs to be set correctly or the thread gets all tangled up inside the bobbin case.  If it does become an issue I will look at calibrating the tension on the inside.

  4. lilah | | #8


    You say your machine is "reluctant."  Is it moving sluggishly?  If the motor seems to be trying to run but is not turning, it could be that the motor needs to be greased.  I don't know anything about your machine, but I have seen this on a lot of old mechanical machines.  I collect antique and vintage machines and I also service and do simple repairs on old machines for friends.  Often I'm told that a machine "just won't run."  Sometimes the people who service machines don't grease the motors and they don't tell you what's really wrong with it because they want to sell you a new machine. 

    If I think it's the motor, I check the manual to see what it says about greasing the motor.  It's usually recommended once a year.  If it can be greased, there will be holes for it in the motor casing.  DO NOT take off the motor casing unless the instructions say to do so.  I've never seen one that says to do that.  I clean out any dust or hardened grease from the grease holes, using the head of a pin.  A very important point - DO NOT put WD-40 or OIL in the motor.  Only grease.  Singer still makes a motor lubricant in a white, plastic tube with red printing.  After applying the grease, run the machine for several minutes.  You don't have to run it at top speed, but you want the motor to warm up to cause the grease to soften and begin lubricating the motor.  After a few minutes, the machine should begin to run more smoothly.

    Hope this helps. 

    1. winemank | | #9

      Wow, thanks for your input.  I did have it greased up a few months ago; however, that didn't seem to help the problem.  If you are curious about the details, read on.

      By "reluctant" I meant that the motor runs but sometimes the needle stops going up and down.  It started doing it only when I sewed through thick seams, but lately it was happening more often.  It seems to me that the problem is related to the hand-wheel on the right side (is that the clutch?).  There is some cracked plastic inside the part that unscrews (to wind bobbins), and the crack is forcing that wheel to crossthread when it screws back on.  It is behaving as though that wheel is not screwed on tightly.  It's as tight as it can go, although it is crooked due to the crack.

      A while back, I was naughty and took off the casing to see if there was something obviously wrong inside.  Nothing looked broken, so I put the cover back on.  I didn't touch anything under the cover.

      After that, my local sew/vac store cleaned & lubricated it.  They told me they did what they could, but any more would probably cost more than the machine is worth.  Maybe that was just a line from the salesman...

      Anyway, while it would be nice to get my machine running again, I plan to hang on to it, if only for the nostalgia.  It was a wedding present from my dad to my mom, and it is the machine I learned to sew on, so it seems a shame to just toss it out.  Maybe someday...  :)

  5. nursewing | | #10

    A few years ago, several rather, I got back into sewing & purchased what I thought was a fabulous machine a Bernina. Had lots of trouble with it but at the time the price was right $ 700 or more. Then I had to have a serger so bought a janone serger for $249, Never worked right, THen I bought a bernina serger middle of the road & it was the most tempermental thing i had ever worked with including the 34 yr old one I used for that manyyears. I finally found a Sewing Machine shop that sold several brands & they had the Pfaff 7570 used or previously owned, they rebuilt them & I got one for $1300. Now I have the other 3  I can't get rid of . So my point is the cheaper ones would up costing me a lot of money because they never made me happy. I love my Pfaff & will never buy another machine.  See a Pfaff dealer close to you.


    1. winemank | | #11

      Thank you for your input.  With my budget constraints (see first posting), a Pfaff was out of my league, but I'm very pleased with the refurbished White I found on ebay for $85.  It is a simple, basic machine and so far runs great on everything from thin woven nylon to thick denim seams, along with intermediate weight fabrics.  Since most of my sewing is repairing/hemming clothes, I don't need all the bells and whistles of a more expensive machine.  Someday I may do more "pleasure" sewing, and I will keep in mind to look into a Pfaff then.

      1. solosmocker | | #12

        My 2 cents here: You should not have to adjust your bobbin at all. If you need to adjust it something is not right. I have been sewing 40 years and the only time I have ever adjusted a bobbin was in a spare bobbin case purchased for just that purpose. Often in sewing we are advised for different fabrics and stitches to tighten tension or loosen tension. That always refers to the tension dial on the machine, never the bobbin unless specified. If you are unable to tighten your tension because it is already operating at the tightest end of the range, something is wrong here. I would take the machine back, ask them to adjust the tension properly and to check the bobbin tension as well. The situation you are describing would frustrate me seriously in my sewing endeavors and I hope it doesn't dampen your spirits and enthusiasm. In my forty years of sewing I had one machine that gave me grief. I put it away and did not sew for years. I started sewing again when I was able to buy a better quality machine. I wish you the best, applaud your enthusiasm and positive attitude. Good luck.

  6. AmberE | | #13

    Welcome, from the editor of Threads---this forum has some great members, always ready to help with sewing quests!

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All