Lavender Kenmore Sewing Machine (148.281) – A Review


Kenmore Model 148.281 (Model 28)


  • All Metal Gears
  • Side Loading Bobbin
  • Reverse Stitch Lever/Stitch Length Regulator
  • 1.2 Amp Motor
  • Pearly Lavender Color (unofficial color)
  • Uses Class 15 Bobbins and Standard 15×1 Needles
  • Low Shank Foot

A very basic 3/4 size Kenmore sewing machine; this one is a straight stitcher only.  Machine was built in Japan, possibly between 1963-1965. I have not been able to verify the exact manufacture date.   This sewing machine is an all-metal, gear driven, mechanical sewing machine, it is very simple underneath. Take a look!


Underside of machine

I purchased this sewing machine at a flea market for $10 dollars.  The tension unit had been taken apart, the foot and the needle clamp were missing; the machine also needed a good cleaning.  I snapped it up because Kenmore machines were built to last and I knew this one would be fairly simple to whip back into shape and sewing well.  I bought the missing parts on eBay and put the tension unit back together.  Cosmetically it looks great, there is a bit of yellowing on the paint and just a few minor scratches here and there but that’s expected with a sewing machine that is about 50 years old!

The wooden base came with the machine.  I believe that a carrying case was not originally part of the purchase because the base of this machine does not have any latches on the side.  I could be wrong but it I think these machines were offered on this simple wooden base or one had the option of buying a table to go with the machine.

The feed dogs on this machine cannot be dropped, so no free-motion sewing or drawing for me.  Machine has a reverse stitch lever;  handy for fastening a seam.  You just lift it up all the way for reverse stitching.

Winding a bobbin is fast & easy.


Bobbin Winder



Bobbin Winding

It uses Class 15 bobbins and Standard 15×1 needles sizes 11 through 18.  Placement of the needle is flat side faces to the right.


Class 15 Bobbins

This machine can make really tiny stitches, here is a photo of the different stitch lengths on a piece of cotton twill.



Per the Sears website, the purchase of a machine like this back in the early 60’s would have included  the following:

  • Accessory box with 2 felt pads for the spool pins
  • Screwdriver
  • Package of needles
  • 3 Bobbins
  • Instruction book

The motor on this little machine is a 1.2 amp motor which can handle sewing silk to heavy woolen coating fabric.  I’v sewn jeans on this machine without any problems.  Actually this is the highest amp motor I’ve seen on vintage sewing machines.  Motors on my other machines range, from 4 to 1 amps.


Sewing Machine Motor 

The foot controller is a basic one with a 3-prong connection.


Foot Controller



3-Prong Connection for Foot Controller

Believe it or not, this little machine weighs a good 30 pounds or so.  If you buy one of these, you may want to find a permanent spot for it as moving it around may tire you out!  Below you can see this machine’s approximate size.


Side View



Front View

Every sewist needs a light on their sewing machine so I purchased one on eBay, and attached it to the plate on the back of the machine.  Does not match the machine but it works.


Sewing Light Attachment

As mentioned on the features list above, this is a straight stitch machine so if you are looking for decorative or buttonhole stitching this machine does not include either.  Although I have not tried yet, a vintage low shank buttonhole attachment could work just as well on this machine.  There are also vintage zig zag attachments out there on the web for sale that may be used.  I have a small collection that can be viewed here on my Vintage Sewing Machine Attachments page.

Have one of these machines already & don’t know how to thread it ?   Here’s a diagram:

Threading Guide

Threading Guide

Be nice to your machine and oil it here:

Oiling Points

Oiling Points



Oiling Points

I really like the color and size of this Kenmore.  This model is not rare but I’ve seen one for sale online only once in the last 4 years.  Maybe people who own these are not selling.!?  A machine like this would be really great for a beginner as it is really simple to use and you don’t have to worry about breaking anything.


Back View



Kenmore 148.281 (Model 28) Sewing Machine

What do you think, would you buy a machine like this?

Free Kenmore Sewing Machine Manual

Want a free manual for your Kenmore sewing machine ?

At this website, you may find a manual for most Kenmore sewing machines.  Why should you pay $8 or more for something you can download for free!

Here is how to get one:

  • Once you register, click on Manuals at the top.
  • Once you click it, you will see:  “Find Owners Manuals”.
  • Enter the Kenmore sewing machines model number in the Search box.  The model number is on the metal nomenclature plate which could be found under the sewing machine.  If your sewing machine is a Model 1751, the plate may read 158.17511; enter the entire number in the Search box to search for your manual, including the dot.  PLEASE NOTE: sometimes you may have to omit the last digit on the model number to get results.
  • If a manual is available, you will see link in the search results that say “Get Manual”, click it.
  • Give it a few seconds, and a manual should appear, you will also see “Click here to download” or save and print icons right above the manual:  (see arrows on following image below) click on one of those to save a copy of the manual to your desktop or other file.

Some manuals are really long, 30 pages + and that is because one manual can be  used for several sewing machines with similar features.  The manual is saved as a PDF so you may print only the pages you need.

Hope you find the manual you need!  ♥

Pink Sewing Machine – Cute as a Cupcake!

In a previous post I mentioned that a friend and I traded sewing machines.

Well, here is the sewing machine I got for giving up my repainted Edison:  a Vintage Hot Pink Sears Kenmore Straight Stitcher!

Look at this beauty, this is not a toy!  It is pink and gorgeous but do not be fooled by its’ cuteness; it is an all metal, 3/4 sized sewing machine that weighs just as much as a boat anchor.

Don’t you just want to hug it?  I love this little machine and it sews like a champ.

This machine has a new owner!  Thank you all for your interest.