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Old Sears Kenmore sewing manuals

simonsue | Posted in General Discussion on

I am searching for a users manual for an old Sears Kenmore sewing machine model number 158.18030.

I need basic users instruction as how to thread  the machine and wind the bobbin etc..

I would gladly accept any copy and pasted diagram/instructions too.

Or a lead to where to find this info.

Thanks in advance.



  1. Ckbklady | | #1

    Hi there,

    I noodled around on the Internet a bit and found a source for older manuals. This looks like it:


    I'm betting that you can drop the last digit (the zero) from your model number, but you may want first to call Sears and ask.

    Also from http://www.sewusa.com, here is the threading diagram for you:


    I hope that helps! Happy sewing!

    :) Mary



    1. simonsue | | #3

      That's it......Fantastic!

      Thanks so much,


      1. Ckbklady | | #5

        Anytime, Simonsue,

        I'm a huge fan of users of older sewing machines. I have, ahem, a few, and love them all like little brothers. If you need anything else, just shout.

        Happy sewing!!

        :) Mary

        1. simonsue | | #6

          I rescued this machine from next to the dumpster in my apartment complex. It was in a sewing cabinet that was in very bad shape but the machine looked to be in really good condition. I removed the machine from the cabinet and will use it on top of a table for now.

          There are two accessory  and attachment boxes that came with it , one for a button holer and one for monogramming. I probably will not use them.

          I really love the machines that are all metal. I love how they sound  and feel when you are sewing too, compared to the newer plastic machines. I just cannot get used to the feel of the  newer ones. I bought a low end Singer machine two years ago and have had a lot of trouble with it. Especially the bobbin thread not coming up or jamming if it does come up.

          I had bought a used metal Universal machine  over 40 years ago for $15.00. Only had it serviced once, and it's still running like a dream but it had no bells and whistles and I wanted to have at least zig zag, so I bought the Singer, and passed the Universal on to someone else.  Boy was I sorry I let it go, once I found out how much I did not like the new Singer !

          This Kenmore has a feel to it more like the Universal did. I think this machine found me!

          Best wishes,


          1. Ckbklady | | #9

            What a find! That's great to save the machine from the landfill, and you're right - it's a sturdier machine than anything made today. It's nice when they call out, "Take me home!"

            You should give the buttonholer and monogrammer a whirl - they're fun! The buttonholer will make the straightest buttonholes you've ever seen, and the monogrammer makes little 3/8" capital letters in a scrolly script that is kitschy and cute. Or sell them separately on eBay and spend the money on fabric! :)

            I picked up a 2004 Singer in a thrift shop around Christmas for $25 and hated the thin plastickyness of it. It was so light that even the sample fabric I sewed made the machine hump across the table. Ick. I bought it originally to take completely apart to learn about gears and tensions and such, so I did that, then reassembled it, stuck a bow on it and gave it to a pal. I was glad to pass it on (she's delighted with it) because my kitchen shelves are already a sewing machine parking lot of old machines bought for a song, cleaned and repaired and ready for action. It was when I brought the cast iron treadle home that hubby said, "Enough!!"

            I'm sorry you passed the Universal on. I bet if you watch your local Craigslist sales online, you'll find another (and another, and another....).

            I wish you very happy sewing with your new machine pal,

            :) Mary


          2. simonsue | | #10

            Maybe I will play around with the buttonholer and monogramming attachments...if I can ever find the time.

            I think it's just wonderful , how you taught yourself about the innards and the workings of a sewing machine, by taking it apart and putting it back together.

            I taught myself much about garment and slipcover construction is a similar way many years ago.

            You go girl!

            Best wishes,



          3. Ckbklady | | #11

            Hiya back,

            Oh, I sure didn't learn all there is to learn about sewing machine innards, but I sure enjoyed taking it all apart and seeing what every bit does. Singer was especially helpful in that regard. I downloaded a free service manual from their site that showed exploded views of each service area in the machine. I took apart each area, studied it and then put it back together before moving onto the next one.

            The Singer was a mechanical machine, not an electronic one. I specifically chose it for gutting because of that. All of my machines are mechanical, and I wanted to learn more about how the gears and such work and why thread tension matters and how to tweak timing. It was an invaluable exercise, and I expect that it will save me money in the long run. But what a flimsy plastic machine - ick.

            Yes, give the buttonholer and monogrammer a swing - they really are a delight and once you start using them (the buttonholer in particular), you'll never work without them. And think of all the things you could monogram - you could name the machine and then artfully label its cover! You could embellish a scrap of fabric with random single letters and make a whimsical clutch purse! I used mine to put hubby's name on an auto mechanic shirt he found in a thrift shop, and now it's his go-to shirt for woodworking. It's funny how delighted people are by seeing their names! :)

            You go girl, too!!

            :) Mary

          4. Tangent | | #12

            I stiil have, and use, the buttonholer attachment that came with Mom's old cast-iron Singer in 1954.   It's still in great condition, and I use it with my other sewing-machines too.  I don't like the buttonhole foot that comes with most newer machines.

            The buttonholer uses templates to make nice, precise-sized buttonholes.  You are so lucky to have found that machine, the buttonholer, and the monogrammer!  Did you get the manuals too? They save you a lot of learning time, and shows you tricks you might not come up with on your own. You can adjust the width of the "zigzag". Replacement buttonhole templates are available. You can learn to make custom-sized holes by cranking the knob back to the 'end' position and moving the fabric up, so the buttonhole is extended.  Just remember to move it back again on the other side of the hole. I usually go around the holes twice for extra strength. Also, loosen your upper thread tension a bit, for a nicer-looking buttonhole.

            A tip for positioning the fabric under the buttonholer's foot- slide a thin piece of clear plastic between the fabric and the foot, so the foot doesn't snag the fabric.  The foot has has 'teeth' on the underside for a secure grip.  When it's positioned where you want it, remove the plastic card and lower the foot.

            Another tip-  on a piece of doubled muslin, make a sampler of one of each size of all the buttonholes, at least 1 inch apart.  Write the size of the hole beside each. Use the sampler to test the buttons, so you will know which size is the best fit.  Keep the sampler and the plastic card with your buttonholer.

            The old Singer machine just does straight stitch, but is dependable and I have it set up with button-thread for jeans and upholstery fabric. I won't part with it. It's heavy and sits securely on the table when I sew fast. I have done work with it that would have been a frustrating battle with the newer machine.

            My 'plasticky' zig-zag machine has fancy stitches, and a tendancy to skip a stitch here and there, just enough to mess up the 'look' of what I'm doing.  Guess who's on the list to be replaced?

          5. simonsue | | #14

            Hi Tangent,

            Thanks for those great tips!

            Unfortunately, there are no manuals. I will order the sewing machine manual from sewusa.

            There are two blue plastic boxes with lids that snap.

             The box labeled Accessories and Button Holer has no instructions or manual, and contains some parts I am completely unfamiliar with.

            The box labeled Attachments and Monogrammer has no instructions either except an envelope that has diagrammed cards that explain about some of the feet, hemmers and different gauges and guides attachments  included in the box.

            I wonder if the machine's manual will have the instructions for everything or if they are separate manuals? It not, would be a shame if I could not locate these manuals.

            Best wishes,


          6. Tangent | | #15

            The machine, buttonholer, and monogrammer manuals are separate.  If you can't locate the buttonholer manual I might be able to find mine and scan it.

            You could bring the gadgets to a sewing shop to see if they can identify them, or post pictures here and maybe someone will recognize what they are.

            Edited 3/22/2008 9:10 pm by Tangent

          7. fabricholic | | #13

            Those cams make beautiful buttonholes. Definitely, try it.Marcy

    2. Ashwink11 | | #19
  2. Palady | | #2

    SewUSA is indeed your best bet.  I ordered a manual for a Singer 500 series.  It was worth my time & money.


  3. woodywoodpecker598 | | #4

    I have a Sears Kenmore model # 158 19141, so it should be similar.What color is yours? Mine is beige, also uses cams, has templates for buttonholes and monograms. Sound familiar? I could copy my manual and snail mail it to you. Let me know please?

    1. simonsue | | #7

      Mine is beige with  black/brown on the front. It looks somewhat similar but the threading looks a little different than your model once I checked on SewUSA.

      Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll order the manual online for this model.

      I don't know if you are old enough to appreciate this but aren't the drawings in these old manuals just terrific? The women pictured in them look right out of the 50's.....Wally and the  Beave's mom!

      Go Retro!


      1. woodywoodpecker598 | | #8

        Oh yes, I'm old enough.

  4. Marely Arenas | | #16

    Manual Kenmore Model 158 19141

    Hello User Woodywoodpecker598

    I hope you are well. Read your message offering a manual Kenmore model 19 158 141. I have an equal to yours and I need the manual and do not get anywhere. Could you please send me a copy.

    Please, Please, Please :(

    Thank you very much in advance


    Email [email protected]

  5. Marely Arenas | | #17

    Please Help Me


    I hope you are well. Read your message offering a manual Kenmore model 19 158 141. I have an equal to yours and I need the manual and do not get anywhere. Could you please send me a copy.

    Please, Please, Please :(

    Thank you very much in advance


  6. mrsalley | | #20

    Kenmore sewing machine

    I just read the post from the guy looking for a manual.  I also am looking for a manual.  Someone posted this link: 


    The link isn't active. I could use some help to find a user's manual for my Sears Kenmore Model # 158 18023 sewing machine.  Thanks in advance.

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