How To Use Kenmore Sewing Machine: Complete Guide

Last Updated on 6 hours by Susan Mayrich

Those who want to know how to use Kenmore sewing machine can try two steps first. Then, we’ll also talk about the setup for this brand. And if you’re curious, this article will review what to expect with the quality of a Kenmore sewing machine. 

how to use kenmore sewing machine

Besides proper usage, maintenance plays a significant role in the longevity of a sewing machine. This includes lubrication to keep the moving parts from getting worn down quickly. Please read about how to oil a Kenmore sewing machine as well. 


How Do You Use A Kenmore Sewing Machine For Beginners?


Step 1. Prepare the machine

  • Read the manual of the specific model you have, as these instructions are for the Sears Kenmore 385
  • Study the illustrations in the manual to identify each part and control of the sewing machine
  • Check if you’re using the correct needle and threads for the material you’re sewing
  • Place a piece of scrap fabric under the needle for testing
  • Check if the thread ends are drawn to the machine’s rear for four inches and hold onto them for the first four stitches of the seam 


Step 2. Test the machine

  • Adjust the sewing machine stitch length and tension according to the fabric type
  • Check if you have the bulk of the material to the left of the needle, while the right edge is on the seam marking 
  • Start sewing at a slow pace by putting slight pressure on the foot control
  • Get a feel with the speed control by pressing the foot control harder
  • Sew in reverse at the beginning and end of each seam 
  • Never pull on the fabric during sewing to avoid altering the feeding 


How Do You Set Up A Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine?


Turning the machine on

  1. Turn off the power switch 
  2. Check if you have a 110 to 120 volt AC outlet 
  3. Connect the machine plug into the three-prong outlet, then insert the power supply plug into the outlet
  4. Push the power switch to turn the machine on


Adjusting the pressure

  1. Locate the pressure control dial inside the race cover plate
  2. Adjust the dial to the setting mark according to the project you’re doing
  3. The dial should be set to 3 for most sewing projects, but learn more about the presser foot pressure as well


Changing the presser foot

  1. Raise the needle and presser foot
  2. Press the button on the back of the foot holder to snap off the presser foot
  3. Place the new presser foot under the holder, where its pin lies under the groove of the former
  4. Lower the holder to lock the foot in place, and you should hear it sound to indicate it’s secured


Changing the needle

  1. Turn the needle clamp screw towards you to loosen it
  2. Pull the needle downward
  3. Check if your replacement needle is suitable for your project
  4. Push the new needle into the clamp as far as you can with its flat side facing away from you
  5. Tighten the needle clamp screw with a large screwdriver


Removing the bobbin

  1. Slide the hook cover plate release button to the right
  2. Take out the bobbin


Winding the bobbin

  1. Disengage the clutch by pulling its knob away from the machine
  2. Draw thread from the spool and guide it around the thread guide on the bobbin winder
  3. Insert the thread into the bobbin hole inside out 
  4. Put the bobbin to the winding spindle
  5. Push the bobbin to the right to secure it in place
  6. Hold the thread end as you press on the foot control
  7. Stop after winding several times and cut the thread close to the bobbin
  8. Press on the foot control and finish winding
  9. Move the spindle to the left and cut the thread 
  10. Re-engage the clutch


Adjusting the tension

  1. Move the tension control knob to the higher number to tighten the tension and a lower number to loosen it
  2. The tension is too loose if the top thread shows underneath the fabric and too tight if the bobbin thread shows at the top of the fabric 


Selecting and modifying the stitch

  1. Move the stitch selector control according to the stitch you want
  2. Adjust the stitch width and stitch length dials suitable to the setting for your specific sewing project 


How Do You Thread An Old Kenmore Sewing Machine?

  1. Refer to the manual of the specific old Kenmore model you have
  2. Run the thread through the first hook and down into the tension knob
  3. Push the loop up and around the hook 
  4. Release the hook, then bring the thread up to the lever and down into the clip and needle thread clip
  5. Thread the needle eye 
  6. Pull at least an inch of thread away

For more tips about threading, here is a tutorial on how to thread a Kenmore sewing machine


Are Kenmore Sewing Machines Good?

Kenmore sewing machines are good even though sewists do not think of them at the same level as Brother or Singer, especially with vintage models. However, these machines are among the best ones to get if you’re looking for a lower-level sewing machine. 



And that’s it! To recap how to use Kenmore sewing machine, you need to set it up correctly and use the dials to adjust various settings according to the project you’re doing. It should be easy since some Kenmore manuals are readily available online.

We hope this was a helpful read. Leave us a question if you have any. 

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