Can't Set Stitch Length or Use Reverse on Sewing Machine

I have a Kenmore model 21 sewing machine. Setting stitch length doesn't work right and it does not go in reverse. After it sits for a while you can not push the reverse button in.


By kermit

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June 8, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Something inside the machine is in trouble and this is a fix only a qualified repair tech can make.

Kenmore is a Sears sewing machine brand and their techs are 'factory trained' to properly repair all models of Kenmore sewing machines from a 50s era vintage model right up to the latest computerised model.

They might be a little more expensive than your local sewing machine repair tech but they have access to genuine Kenmore parts that will ensure your machine runs perfectly on return to you.

I'm not knocking your local tech, btw, just stating facts as I've learned them over the years. Your local tech doesn't have access to new milled replacement parts as easily and cheaply as the Kenmore techs especially on vintage machines.


I know this because I used to do a lot of vintage machine repair in conjunction with my home business of teaching total newbies how to sew:)

I can't get newly milled parts for a lot of the models I saw in the States and now here in the UK. But the techs who work in association with the specific manufacturers do have access to those newly milled parts, and the key words to a successful repair job 'newly milled'.

I used to buy vintage machines whenever I saw them because there was a wealth of salvageable parts on those machines if the machine isn't able to be fully restored to service. I learned to do that from other repair techs-they all do it if they don't associate with a manufacturer.

The trouble with salvage parts is that they wear out or break faster than a newly milled part because let's face it, a salvaged part has who knows how many sewing hours on it+who knows what kind of working conditions.


Sewing machine parts began to be milled in plastics back in the late 60s and plastic has a much shorter working life than metal. If the machine was abused (not oiled or serviced regularly, run too fast, forced through fabrics it wasn't intended to sew when engineered, and/or in dusty-linty conditions), that REALLY takes a toll on a salvaged part.

It can look great but because of the above, I don't find the salvaged parts satisfactory-sooner rather than later that plastic salvaged part IS going to fail and be a real disappointment to the sewer.

It's become too disappointing to my customers and I've given up sewing vintage machine repair unless it is a non-electric Singer-(non-electric) Singer parts are easy to salvage and restore to a new condition because the parts are all metal (usually steel).

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