Monday, September 5, 2011

Kenmore ‘Kennie’ 1050 Sewing Machine

I was looking for a nice ottoman, not a sewing machine, but I swear, it found me!

Kenmore 1050 009

I almost peed my pants when I saw it and realized what it was! I had already been past the shelves of electric devices once, and was making my second round. You have to do that, or you might miss a treasure. It was hiding on the bottom shelf, laying on it’s back, and it blended into the shelf, as the shelf was the same color. I love the Rose embossed case.

Kenmore 1050 003Kenmore 1050 004The case opens out at the bottom, and you lift the lid up to expose the machine.

Kenmore 1050 005

This machine is a very sought after machine. It was built in the early to mid 70’s. There are earlier versions of this machine. The 1030, 1040, and later version, 1060. The 1030 started out with the least stitches, the 1040 has a few more stitches, the 1050 has the most stitches, and the 1060 is actually a little bit bigger machine. The 1030, and 1040 have the tension dial on the outside of the machine, and the 1050 has the tension on the inside, under the lid. I knew about them, but had only seen one other one, which at the time, I was not sure of. It was in a cabinet, and of course, wasn’t there later. I’m much happier to find the portable version.

I brought it home and started working on it. I plugged it in, and it was very sluggish and I could tell the motor was working hard. I joined a vintage Kenmore sewing machine group for some information, since this  machine did not have a manual with it. I usually can figure out most everything myself, but I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to get the top off, except to pry it off, which I did not want to do. Guess what the manual says? ‘Lift the top off’. Ok, pry it off. That’s how you lift it off. I learned this information from a free manual of an earlier version of this machine, which was available on the Kenmore group site.

I took off the bottom cover, top cover, and right hand side cover, and flipped the left end door open and started oiling. I tried it again, and it took off running. It is a fairly quiet machine. I had not tried sewing with it yet, at this point. I put my paper towel, which I sew on to save from wasting fabric, and the fabric would not advance. The feed dogs just went up and down, but would not move the fabric. I pushed the reverse lever, and it would go backwards, but not forward. Another problem it had, was the lever to drop the feed dogs was STUCK. This is very common with Kenmores, I have found, as the two other Kenmore machines I found had the same problem.

Louie and I started working on fixing the stuck feed dog drop problem, and got that taken care of quickly, (punch, hammer, wd-40 and oil) but we were still trying to figure out why the feed dogs were not moving forward. We loosened screws, and tightened them back up. We moved things manually and tried to figure out how everything worked. After about 4 hours of working on this machine myself, I finally saw it. The stitch dial on the top was set on a button hole stitch. Well DUH.

 Add Duh

I turned the dial to the straight stitch setting and a wonder of all wonders happened! It worked!

Louie had already painted the bottom plate. It is aluminum, and I think the machine had probably been stored somewhere damp, so some of the paint was bubbled and was gone. It needed a bath, so I did that, then I started working on testing stitches. I had a few glitches with figuring out how to thread the machine, but once I got past that, it sewed like a dream. The longer I sewed, the looser things became and the faster the machine moved. I even wound a bobbin. (Oh, what would we do without oil?)

Kenmore 1050 007

‘Kennie’ (that’s what the Kenmore group calls this little machine) is a 3/4 size machine, and would be perfect as a traveling/retreat/quilt guild machine. It has a cute little ‘flip up’ extension on the left side.

Kenmore 1050 015

The accessory case is hidden under a little flip up lid.

Kenmore 1050 012

The accessory case then ‘rolls’ forward….

Kenmore 1050 013

…and the top lifts to expose your accessories.

Kenmore 1050 014

Then you just drop the lid, and you have a nice little extension area for your sewing.

Kenmore 1050 016Kenmore 1050 009Kenmore 1050 011Kenmore 1050 010

I certainly did not NEED another machine, but I am ‘SEW HAPPY’ ‘Kennie’ found ME!

Hope your weekend is wonderful. It is supposed to be chilly today. Can you believe it? Only mid 60’s for a high. Hmmm…wonder what we will do? Happy Labor Day everyone!

Be blessed!


add patriotic_boy


Hazel said...

Love the case on this one ,another great fine .

Amelia said...

So you added a "boy" machine to the family...sounds like it was truly a needle in a haystack...what does this make the number count now of orphan machines you have adopted?

Alice Grace said...

Smiling :-). What fun you have! I wish I could find something neat like that!
Thanks to for all your advice to me on machines!

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow what a great little machine. Can I ask where the Kenmore group is found? I have two Kenmore's and would love to find out more about them.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Well, now...Isn't that the cutest thing? What a cool find! I love the case.

Winona said...

I am glad to see that I am not the only one who has 'duh' moments. (grin) Looks like a great machine. I wish some of your luck in finding great machines would rub off onto me. LOL Have a good one.

Jeanna said...

You did it again? I never see cute old machines in Idaho! They must all hide in the mid-west! What an adorable machine, so handy-dandy with all the little pull out surfaces. That's a keeper!

Packrat said...

Another great machine!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I think you should get on some kind of list as the only living sewing machine magnet! :). Blessings, marlene

Packrat said...

PS: I've never seen a case like that. Will keep my eyes peeled. :)

Anonymous said...

HI I'm Jonda (littlepebble) and I've come over from stash Manicure, I've visitted before, I love the kids sewing machines and will definately be making the car bag tutorial only bigger and x2 (we have 5 kids, car gets VERY messy!)And one for a thread catcher too, will check your site for it. Thank you.

Val said...

Wow. You amaze me!!! If I found a machine out like that I would not know if it was good or not. I need to start making some notes from your posts to carry with me just in case I see something.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Cute! I went to 3 thrift stores with my MIL on Thursday (in Texas) and saw lots of treadles and vintage machines (black Singer 99's, etc) but, all the machines were way to expensive. More than a dozen machines and the cheapest was $99. Finally found 2 70's models, but, they were in really bad shape. I'll be headed out later today to more shops. Who knows what I'll find. I'm picking up a treadle when I get back (lady knows I'm out of town). Haven't told DH about that one, yet. Gonna have to pass some of these on to new homes soon.

Susan Edquist said...

I have this Kenmore Sewing Machine. I bought it in the '70's. It was called the Sears Kenmore 'Dial Easy' Sewing Machine. I loved it! I had saved up my money from my Movie Theater job as a teenager. I used it for several years till it froze up on me making a felt costume. That was years ago. I need to take it i in & see what they can do to fix it. I since have bought a Kenmore with a 'free arm' when they came out. So happy to see this model...brings back memories! Sincerely, Susan

Susan Edquist said...

I have this sewing machine. I saved up my money from my movie theater job during high school & bought it in the 70's. It was called a Sears Kenmore 'Dial Easy' Sewing Machine. It was advertised as a machine for the beginning seamstress, geared towards teens. I loved it! I used it for years...married with children. It froze up on me while sewing a costume out of felt during the '90's. I never took it in to be looked at. I eventually purchased a Kenmore 'free arm' machine. I should take it off the shelf & see if it can be fixed. Sincerely, Susan (

Jeanette Lee said...

Awesome! I have this machine in the 158-10401 model. Bought it back in the early seventies. Only machine I've ever had. Love it. Had it stored in the basement for the past 40 years, and since I'm now retired, I finally have time to get back to sewing. YAY! My special stitch selector on top was jammed tight. After a lot of cleaning and oiling, it's now moving fairly smoothly, just one stitch is still not clicking in.. the blind stitch. All others are working well. Set my timing, and that's good now, too. Had issues with not getting any zigzag though. Finally figured out how to adjust the screw on the needle bar (not the one on the needle itself, but above it) and now I'm zigzagging away. I broke the little flip cover above the accessories box.. not the one on the box itself, but the freestanding one above it) and would SO love to replace it! If you have any clue as to where to find one, I'd sure appreciate hearing from you! This little machine is all anyone needs! So durable.


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