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 Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine (159.110) – A Review

Features:

  • All Metal Gears
  • Top Loading Bobbin
  • Reverse Stitch Lever
  • Stitch Length Regulator
  • 1.0 Amp Motor
  • Hot Pink Color
  • Uses Vibrating Shuttle Bobbins and Standard 15×1 Needles
  • Low Shank Foot

This girly pink Kenmore sewing machine is a straight stitcher only.  It was made in Japan, possibly between the mid 1950’s to late 1960’s; I have not been able to verify the exact manufacture date.  This small tank of a sewing machine makes a really good straight stitch, the stitching is really consistent and just about perfect.  This sewing machine is an all-metal gear driven mechanical sewing.

My machine came with the original case, however I have not been able to remove all the marks from it.  I am sure this creamy ivory & pink color combination looked lovely when it was new.  Also included was the foot controller, and a pink cardboard box with 2 bobbins.  The base that the machine sits on has a nice little compartment on the right side to store bobbins, thread, needles, etc.

The feed dogs on this machine cannot be dropped for free-motion sewing or drawing.  😦  Not a biggy but it is nice to have.  This machine  has a reverse stitch lever; handy for fastening a seam.  You just lift it up all the way for reverse stitching.  It uses very difficult (nearly impossible to find) shuttle bobbins and Standard 15×1 needles sizes 11 through 18.

After searching everywhere, I have officially ended my search for the proper bobbins for this machine – the bobbins required are of a very specific type.  Take a look at the shuttle bobbin carrier area:

Interesting.  Have a look at the shuttle and bobbin!

I came across some interesting information by a former Sears salesman regarding this pink sewing machine.  Apparently this machine was a “Bait Machine”, not meant to be sold, and Sears saw to it that only a few be made/sold.  It is not a rare machine, there are a few of these out there.  Each store only got one and that one machine was expected to last through many “sales”.  The ads for this sewing machine ran in black and white and listed the machine for a modest price.  In addition, the plates were made in such a way that they resembled a standard 15 type sewing machine so that people thought that it was what they would find when they got the store.

At that time, pink was not a popular color.  This, and the way the demos were conducted by the salespeople, led to the customer leaving the store with a “better” model.  When a customer wanted to see how this machine ran, the sales rep would purposely run it wide open and at high-speed so it sounded like farm machinery (pretty accurate comparison) and almost jumped off of the table.

Now I know why this sewing machine is so noisy AND no wonder I cannot find those bobbins!  It was built for a very specific purpose.  Anyway, back to the machine….

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

Per the Sears website, the purchase of a machine like this (if you could wrestle one out of the sales rep) back in the day included a hot pink box like the one pictured above with a package of needles, s small screwdrivers, 3 shuttle bobbins, 2 spool pins and 2 felt washers for the spool pins.

Unfortunately, Sears does not carry what I need – the bobbins!!!  They only have a few items available for this machine such as a belt, motor bracket, needles, spool pins, hand wheel, and some screw drivers and that is it. 😦

I do not sew on this machine regularly but I do take it out once in a while and sew up a project just to keep all its parts moving properly.

Here is a close-up picture of a very funky bobbin winder.

and a close up of a cute medallion badge attached to the front of the machine.

A good strong motor is good to have especially when sewing heavier fabrics; the Kenmore 159.110 has a 1.0 amp motor which can handle sewing silk to woolen coating fabric.

Like many vintage sewing machines with all-metal gears, this little machine is heavy, 30 pounds (with the top of the case attached)!!!

This is a 3/4 sized machine so if space is an issue in your home this one will not take up a lot of space.  Due to its weight, you may want to have a sturdy table to place it on though.  Take a look at the next couple of photos to get an idea of the size.

And a booty shot.

This machine did not have a light attached to it but I purchased one and had my local hardware store match the sewing machines color so I could paint the light fixture.  I could have left it white but I’m nerdy like that.  Besides, who can sew without a light on their sewing machine?

I attached the light to the plate on the back.

Lights on!

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 buttonholer 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.

I love the color and size, however, I cannot say that I highly recommend this machine if serious sewing is what you really want to do.  Here are the reasons why:

  • The machine is LOUD while sewing
  • Even though it is a heavy machine, it will shake if you sew at a high-speed
  • Cannot drop the feed dogs
  • The last and most important reason:  the shuttle bobbins are nearly impossible to find.  I only have two and take care of them as if they were gold.

Overall it is a decent sewing machine in a cute color but finding replacement parts or bobbins will make you want to pull your hair out of your head.

Vintage Sewing Machine – Heavy Duty Industrial Strength

Does this post title sound familiar?  It should if you’ve looked at ebay listings in search of that perfect vintage sewing machine.  While searching for a sewing machine part, I came across an interesting trend on ebay that I am sure has been going on for a few years.  I just realized this may be the reason for the most popular e-mail question I receive, “what vintage “industrial” home sewing machine do you recommend?”

Buying a used sewing machine can be overwhelming to those that are new to sewing and unsure of what to look for in a machine.  It does not help that many online sellers on ebay and other venues are taking advantage of the growing interest in vintage sewing machines and are misleading potential buyers with their listing titles and descriptions.

Many sellers claim that their machines are “Industrial Strength”, “Industrial Duty”, or “Heavy Duty Industrial Strength” sewing machines when in reality, what they are selling are basic domestic sewing machines.

There is nothing “industrial” about a home sewing machine.  Some vintage sewing machine sellers are getting really creative with their descriptions and I do not appreciate the misleading terms they use.

Of 307 listings based on a general search for industrial sewing machines, 101 home sewing machines were labeled as “industrial” somewhere on their title and/or their description.  I came across a twin of my Singer 185J sewing machine on this list and apparently this 3/4 sized sewing machine is an industrial.  What a joke.  Hey, if any of you own a Singer 15, a Singer 503A, or Pfaff 230, per these sellers descriptions you own an industrial machine.  🙂

What’s the difference between a home sewing machine and an industrial sewing machine?  I am not an expert on any sewing machine but here is a very basic breakdown.

  • Domestic Sewing Machine – Portable, can do a variety of sewing applications and can handle many types of fabric.

    Kenmore 1040 Zig Zag

  • Commercial Grade / Professional Grade – Portable, not intended for constant production work, meant to handle more than a home sewing machine, sews approximately 1000-1500 stitches per minute.
  • Commercial / Professional Sewing Machine – not intended for factory production output, sometimes found in dry cleaning and tailor shops, sew up to 2000 stitches per minute.

Bernina 950 Tacsew

  • Industrial Sewing Machine – highly specialized – usually do one task only but do it very well such as buttonholes, straight stitching, or sew bias strips, extremely fast (5500 stitches per minute) or more, some industrials may be slower, these machines are used in large factories for high production output.  Some are designed to handle only lightweight fabric while other industrial machines can handle very thick fabric.  These type of sewing machines have large motors and the machine heads are installed on a table weighing about 100 pounds or more.  Many also have a hefty price tag.  The following are a few photos of what true industrial sewing machines look like.

RIMOLDI Multi Needle & Cover Stitchers; 529-oo-2MD-06 Overlock

Mitsubishi LS2-1380

juki industrial sewing machine

Singer Industrial Overlock/Serger

Ebay sellers especially love to post pictures of their sewing samples such as 8 layers of denim, 6 layers of vinyl, 4 layers of leather, etc., etc.  Of course these vintage sewing machines can handle sewing through multiple layers of a variety of fabrics.  You usually have to use a special foot and needle, adjust presser foot pressure, tension, use special thread but it is not a good idea to sew thick layers of fabric like this or leather on it regularly as the motor on the machine may eventually wear out from such use.

So you need to sew leather because you just designed your line of handbags and need to start production?  Invest in a sewing machine designed to sew leather; it will last for decades.  A “Heavy Duty Industrial Strength Vintage Singer 185J Sewing Machine “, also known as a domestic home sewing machine will not cut it.

If you are considering buying a vintage sewing machine, know what you are looking at and do not be fooled by the wording of the listing.  Do some research on the machine you are considering and ask yourself some questions like what do you want to sew, what features do you want the machine to have.  If you want a durable, cool, retro-colored machine with basic straight stitch sewing, 2 to 4 step buttonhole, some zig zag stitches, maybe a few specialized stitches with cams, then a vintage sewing machine may be the right choice.

Need more features than this?  You may need to look at a modern sewing machine and sadly, I know nothing about them. 🙂

Any thoughts on the clever marketing term “Vintage Sewing Machine – Heavy Duty Industrial Strength”?  Please share.