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Kenmore Sewing Machine Won't Run

Kenmore sewing machines are generally pretty reliable but if your has stopped working it may need to be repaired or replaced. If yourKenmore sewing machine won't run it could be a variety if issues preventing it from working.


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By 0 found this helpful
September 2, 2015

I have a Kenmore sewing machine, model 385.19150090. I turned it on and the machine light flashed and went out. I replaced two fuses because one fuse was blown. What else in there?


September 3, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

It sounds as though you have a broken wire somewhere along the wiring of the machine.

If you're handy electrically you can probably repair this yourself - open the machine by carefully unscrewing the head cover (be sure to take before, during, and after digital photos to assist in putting the machine back together after!) and see if you can visually locate any burnt, bent, or broken wires. Use a muffin tin to collect and safely store the teeny tiny little screws.

The wiring for the machine model you have isn't one I'm familiar with (I do vintage Singer repairs for my Sewing 101 students here in Scotland) and it's been years since I've seen a Kenmore (decades really, I had a Kenmore back in the late 70s and early 80s whilst living in the US), but I seem to recall the wiring on a Kenmore runs under the machine head - that should make finding and repairing a broken wire easier.


If the wiring runs along the inside, you'll need to be sure to take photos of everything first as you may have to take a part off to get to the broken wire and again, those photos will be very important to restoring the machine to a working condition after the repairs are made.

If you're not electrically handy, any Sears Service Center will be able to do the repairs. Not sure of the costs, should be under $100USD (but likely not far under, especially if you agree to a 'full servicing' which will include cleaning, oiling, and a full check-over).

Be sure to get an estimate up front, and also be sure to get the estimate AND the instruction to ring you before doing anything that will raise the estimated repairs cost in writing.

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September 3, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

If I am correct, that machine is a 150 stitch computerized machine. You don't want to open the insides because it will be a lot of electronics and computer chips.


Try unplugging the machine for an hour or so and letting it reset. If that doesn't work, take the bobbin case apart and cleaning underneath it. That machine is designed to stop working of there is anything that jambs or gets stuck so as not to damage the machine. DO NOT oil the machine except for a minute drop of oil in the little hole under the bobbin!
Your machine was made by Janome ( I used to work at Sears selling sewing machines and vacuums). Sears no longer makes or sells Kenmore machines and there are no longer Sears Service Centers. They have all been shut down except for a few select cities. To get your machine fixed by Sears, you would have to ship it to TN.
Your best bet if my suggestions don't work, is to take it to a sewing machine place who specializes in computerized machines. The going price for servicing a computerized machine is around $125. If you need any extensive repairs, it will probably cost around $175-$250. That was a good machine and would be well worth getting the repairs done.


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By 0 found this helpful
March 10, 2018

I am new to sewing machines. I have an older machine from my MIL. It is a Kenmore 385- 26. The home plate is missing, but it has other parts. I have threaded the top thread. The bobbin thread did not catch when I put it through the bottom, so I tried manually removing the bobbin case and feeding it through. I am not sure if that is correct.

When feeding fabric through the needle does not create a stitch into the fabric, as I move the fabric through. The needle does move up and down, but no stitch is made (just up and down motion like normal).

I have tried a few different fabrics to see if that mattered, with the same result. I have the tension set at 4, dials set at 3 for length and 4 for width.



March 11, 20180 found this helpful

Make sure the needle is new. Try to download a manual if you do not already have one.


It will give diagrams that will tell you how to thread it correctly and how to put the bobbin in correctly. It will also have a troubleshooting section.

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