In With the Old: A Vintage Kenmore Sewing Machine Review

June 27, 2022

The vintage Kenmore sewing machine is a popular choice for sewers, regardless if you are a beginner or an expert in sewing. It has a durable design armed with unique features. If you are thinking of buying a vintage Kenmore sewing machine, there are some things you should know about it first.

There are still vintage Kenmore sewing machine models on the market. The Kenmore 117, Kenmore 158, Kenmore 385, and Kenmore 30 were all popular models from the 1930s to the 1980s. They have a strong build that makes them durable enough to withstand heavy use.

Because of their various features, these machines are still in demand among sewers today, particularly the Kenmore 30. Read this article to see if a vintage Kenmore sewing machine is worthy enough to be a part of your collection.

The Kenmore Brand

Kenmore is a trusted appliance brand owned by Sears. The company produces a wide range of appliances, including sewing machines, which are popular for their quality and durability.

Kenmore has released many models since its operation. These models come with capabilities and features that are not available on other sewing machines. The company has been producing sewing machines since the early 1900s. Over the years, it has become a trusted name among sewers all over the world.

Introducing the Vintage Kenmore 30

The Kenmore 30 is one of the brand's popular models produced by Janome, a Japanese company that makes high-quality and durable sewing machines. It may be one of Janome's last manual designs, but it can still repair many clothes and produce elegant stitches. 

This sewing machine takes its title from its capacity to execute 30 stitches. The Kenmore 30 may be vintage, but the passage of time has only proven the machine's performance and efficiency.

A Closer Look at the Kenmore 30

The Kenmore 30 is a pre-computer concept with "30 types" of sewing patterns. Users are extremely pleased with its easy navigation design, which even inexperienced users will find simple to use. Furthermore, the machine is completely ergonomic, thanks to its light plastic construction and comfortable top handle.


If you are searching for a vintage machine that does a zigzag stitch, numerous sewers strongly suggest the Kenmore 30. This sewing machine is reasonably priced and of high quality. It has excellent features that will totally amaze you, such as the ones below:

No Irritating or Mechanical Sound

Kenmore 30 is surprisingly quiet— you can hardly hear any noise once you start working on it. It is unlike other sewing machines that create mechanical sounds that can disturb other people.

Excellent Quality

Kenmore 30 was made of premium parts that can withstand the test of time. It has metals that are difficult to break. Having high-quality components means less maintenance and continuous production.

30 Stitch Patterns

The Kenmore 30 has thirty stitch patterns aside from the usual zigzag stitch. As a result, you can anticipate it to operate a wide range of tasks, but it is not as complex and advanced as the updated models we enjoy today.


This machine seems to be light for a vintage model and has a great carrying handle. Kenmore 30's portability allows you to work in different sites that can be quite convenient for your clients.

Can Manage Heavier Loads

Though it was not designed for knits, Kenmore 30 can handle thicker fabrics with so much ease.


Here are the downsides of Kenmore 30 that you need to watch for in case you want to acquire this sewing machine:


Kenmore 30 is a vintage machine, and its maintenance can be costly because its parts and other components are already difficult to find.

Limited Functionalities

During the 80s, Kenmore 30's 30 stitch patterns were considered advanced. Modern sewing machines can do more complicated stitches, which is very convenient.

Challenging to Repair

Being a sewist means you should possess basic troubleshooting skills when your sewing machine malfunctions. Kenmore 30 can develop quirks or troubles that are challenging for a beginner to diagnose or repair.

Basic parts of a sewing machine.

Caring for Your Vintage Kenmore Sewing Machine

If you own a vintage Kenmore machine, you will need vintage Kenmore sewing machine parts for it at some point. Parts for these machines are still available online, but they can be difficult to find. The best sites to buy parts for your machine are eBay or Amazon. There are also many online communities where sewers unite and share valuable details about their machines.

It is essential that you understand how to use your machine and repair it when needed. Be sure to keep its parts in good condition, and always have a spare bobbin and needle on hand in case of a malfunction. In case you plan to add it to your collection, you have to remember how to care for it. Follow this guide if you want to extend the lifespan of your Kenmore 30.

Cleaning the Machine

  • To ensure the sewing machine's optimal performance, keep the critical parts clean as possible.
  • The feed dogs and shuttle race portions can be dust magnets. If a thread gets caught, your machine may become extremely slow or loud.
  • Under normal conditions, check and clean those components every three months.
  • If you stitch regularly, you should clean it more constantly.

Oiling the Machine

  • If you use the machine quite often, you should oil it underneath the outer casing every three months.
  • If you will not use it for an extended period, make sure to oil it before using it again.
  • One to two droplets of high-quality sewing machine oil are sufficient for the Kenmore 30.
  • Remove extra oil before using it since oil can stain the fabric.

The Takeaway

The vintage Kenmore sewing machines are now a collectible item that you can also use from time to time. Owning one can transport you to the old times when stitching was still manual, as well as the machine troubleshooting.

The Kenmore sewing machines are all high-quality and durable. However, their parts are difficult to find nowadays and require regular cleaning in order to perform well. But if you are into a good sewing challenge, the vintage Kenmore sewing machine is for you!
Are you looking for a one-stop site for all your sewing questions? Explore Threadstop now and see what we have in store for you. From reviews to informative guides, we have everything you need to find the perfect sewing machine for you.

The go-to guide of sewing professionals and enthusiasts
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscription Form
Be first to know about specials!
Join our mailing list.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram