KENMORE SEWING MACHINES - A HISTORY
Kenmore was once a leader in the sewing machine industry, having dominated the market before ceasing production 100 years after building their 1st sewing machine in 1913. Owned by the Sears Company, Kenmore was known for manufacturing reliable and innovative appliances- growing with Americans as we entered the new age of technology. Though Kenmore no longer makes sewing machines, we at Sewing Parts Online get frequent inquiries about Kenmore sewing machine parts—demonstrating just how tough and long-lasting they are. For the most part, Kenmore kept their parts pretty universal, meaning there's a good chance you'll be able to find what you need to repair and service your machine.
TYPES OF KENMORE REPLACEMENT PARTS
Below we'll talk about the types of replacement parts you might need for your vintage Kenmore sewing machine.
Kenmore machines use mostly "low shank" presser feet, but there are a few models that opt for "high shank" and even the elusive "super high shank" feet. Unfortunately, Kenmore has discontinued most super high shank feet—though we do carry a presser foot adaptor that some have found helpful. When you are unsure which type your machine uses, you can measure the distance from the presser foot screw to the feed dogs with your presser foot in the down position. If you measure around 3/4", your machine is a low shank machine. Instead, if you measure between 1" and 1 1/4", your machine has a high shank. If your measurement exceeds 1 1/4", you likely have a super high shank machine. Other than your standard options, our favorite presser feet include the walking foot, 1/4" foot with guide, and the free-motion quilting foot.
Want to know more about sewing machine presser feet? Check out the presser foot tutorial playlist on our YouTube channel here!
There is no sewing without needles, so you must invest in the best ones for the project you are working on completing. Basic cotton projects require universal sewing machine needles, but you can also get specialized stretch needles, denim needles, leather needles, etc.
Shop for any type of sewing machine needle for your Kenmore here!
From spool caps and spool pins to extension tables and handwheels, these are essentials for keeping your machine set up properly
GEARS AND PULLEYS
Gears keep your machine going. Typically, your needle, feed dogs, and bobbin winder run with gears. The most often replaced ones include the hook drive gear and the upper/lower shaft gears. If you are unsure which specific gear you need, the part number might be stamped somewhere on the metal base.
SCREWS & HARDWARE
Keep your machine held together! We carry a vast range of screws, including need clamp, throat plate, tension, presser foot, and miscellaneous screws. Other commonly requested hardware includes pins, bushings, cushions, bolts, washers, etc.
Kenmore motor belts and timing belts are among the most requested items we sell because vintage sewing machine belts tend to dry out and crumble over time. Most Kenmore machines use lugged belts, but your machine might also need a stretch belt or a v-belt. Sometimes, machines use cogged belts. When this is the case, you will need the exact belt noted as guaranteed to fit your specific make and model, or you might have issues with timing and performance. Check out this helpful tutorial for more information on selecting the appropriate belt for your Kenmore.
If you lost your foot control in a move or picked up your Kenmore at a yard sale and it's missing the power cord, don't fret. We carry many different styles of foot controls. If you are unsure which one will be the correct match, you are welcome to send a clear, well-lit photo of the port where the cord plugs into the machine to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to match one up for you.
A NOTE ABOUT SEWING MACHINE REPLACEMENT PARTS
It's essential to find the correct sewing machine replacement parts that fit your specific Kenmore model or serial number - or else it can be a frustrating process of endless deliveries and returns of parts that don't work for you.
Need help locating a part? We're happy to help! Call us at (888) 824-1192, and we'll help you with your research!
TYPES OF KENMORE SEWING MACHINES
Below we'll talk about the three different series of Kenmore sewing machines and how to locate replacement parts for your specific model.
The Kenmore 117 series typically consists of private-label, vintage rotary sewing machines designed in the 1940s by the White Sewing Machine Company. These machines have a distinctive industrial look despite being considered home sewing machines. You can identify the 117 series by the unique motor pulley system and the absence of a motor belt.
The use of the motor pulley instead of a belt meant exceptional power. It also means that you never had to change belts, which frequently needed replacement. Another key feature was the above-mentioned rotary system. With a rotary hook bobbin housing, the bobbin case spins 360 degrees, meaning you get more consistent stitches than with an oscillating or shuttle-style bobbin system. Since this machine was straight stitch only, your needle bar had no wiggle room and would come down in the same position every time it passed through the fabric, ensuring accuracy. The Kenmore 117 typically used an uncommon class of metal bobbins; most models take regular domestic-style machine needles.
148 & 158 SERIES
Kenmore produced the 148 & 158 series in Japan between 1960 and 1970. Some consider this time the "golden age of sewing." They are identifiable by their retro-futuristic 50's look, all-metal body/casting, and pull-up style upper tension assembly. These machines are well known for being straightforward and user-friendly. Some say these models are "so easy, a child could do it." Fortunately, Kenmore 148 & 158 replacement parts are still easy to find. Mostly, they use low-shank presser feet (or snap-on feet if you have a low-shank adapter). They also use metal class 15 bobbins and bobbin cases and generic lug belts though there are exceptions.
It can be a little daunting to find information on Kenmore's 385 series. These models were manufactured by the Janome Sewing Machine Company starting in 1965 and ending in the early 2000s. For 385 owners, you must go by the exact model number on your machine to find the correct parts. This is because Kenmore modified this series to include more "modern" features many times throughout the decades of production. Therefore, what fits a 1960s model is not necessarily cross-compatible with a 1970s or 1980s model.
Despite Kenmore machines no longer being produced, many sewers still have one in their sewing room. At the height of Sears' success, it made some of the most reliable appliances on the market. Owning a vintage Kenmore requires more frequent maintenance, but it will last you a lifetime as long as it's well-loved.
Need to give your Kenmore a basic service and not sure where to start? Check out Episode 5 of our Beginner's Guide to Sewing for tips on Sewing Machine Maintenance.
MORE REASONS TO SHOP AT SEWING PARTS ONLINE
As a leading online retailer for all things sewing machines, we save our customers time and hassle by providing all the replacement parts they need in one easy-to-find place. Whether genuine or generic, all of our products are affordable, with fast shipping and easy returns.
Above all, we take pride in being customer-obsessed. Our industry experts are always ready to support you - before and after sales - whether you need help looking for a specific accessory or need advice on anything sewing-related. We offer post-sale technical guidance to enable you to repair your Singer sewing machine at home. Our mission is to provide the sewing & craft community with old-fashioned, friendly, expert service!