Repairing a Kenmore Sewing Machine?


I recently acquired a vintage Kenmore sewing machine, model 1251. It looks like new, and hasn't been used much. I cleaned and oiled it, and it sews like a dream! However, the clutch knob is stuck, so I can't disengage the needle arm for winding bobbins. Even when loosening the screw on the knob, it won't budge. Please help! Thanks!


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June 6, 20210 found this helpful

DON'T loosen the screws...they all need to come in line to work. Take a bit of time and go to a sewing machine store where there is a repair person on site. I often go to get screws you can't get at the hardware store for your OLD machines. Some new ones as well. Have your model number, take a few photos of your machine. They often are glad to share information for free...and tell you if it is more difficult than their suggestions, to pop in with it. As it is, old sewing machines most often can be fixed by a handy person. My first sewing machine I used was grandma's treadle machine. Then on up as mom got a new one in 1963, a WARDS then 1970 a sears and I got the Wards. Now the Wards is an old one in my house, along with a few gifted Singers and Sears. Old machines..can be used for many things. My mom recovered furniture as well as pick and truck seats, boat seats...My husband has done the same with our old machines. I got a PFAFF for nice sewing now.

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June 6, 20210 found this helpful

This particular model requires a screw on the knob to be loosened to disengage needle for winding bobbin.

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June 6, 20210 found this helpful

I would take it in for servicing if you are unsure of what you are doing. You could make matters much worse.

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June 6, 20210 found this helpful

Try putting a few drops of sewing machine oil between the inner and outer wheels and let sit for an hour, then try turning it free.

Anyone fortunate enough to have an old, working sewing machine like the Kenmore, should count themselves very lucky. These old machines are almost all metal, heavy duty workhorses. They usually last forever with very few problems, as long as they are used correctly, and are cleaned and oiled regularly. I have a 1969 Kenmore in a nice wood cabinet, that I got in 1976 for a college graduation gift. Other than 2 belts and 3 lights in 45 years of use, replacing needles is the only other thing I've done. I clean and oil it every 3 or 4 months depending on usage....and I use it a lot !!!!! I've sewn clothes for babies through adults, costumes, duffle bags, done tent repairs, replaced I don't know how many zippers in coats and jackets, repaired countless blue jeans, sewed and quilted dozens of quilts from crib size to queen, done repairs on all sorts of clothing, made seat covers for my truck, and even made a custom fitted, padded and quilted, zippered guitar case. None of those things even slowed my Kenmore down. You just can't beat the old machines. Sure, the new ones are all electronic and computerized, but that just means more to go wrong and higher cost. Mine does LOTS of decorative and utility stitches by means of cams that go in the top. It isn't push-button like the fancy newbies, but mine will be around and working great long after I'm gone.

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June 6, 20210 found this helpful

You might want to take it to be serviced...but here are some sites that may help, if you chose to try to repair the machine yourself:

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