Saturday, March 29, 2014

Yet another Kenmore - model 385.17928090

There's a reason there are so many older Kenmore sewing machines still floating around the thrift stores these days. They're built well (in my humble opinion) and just seem to keep on going with minimal upkeep. I've been sort of lax on my hunt for sewing machines lately but last night we stopped at the local Goodwill on the way home from dining out (hot date, huh). This Kenmore model 385 had just been put out on the shelf (Goodwill dates their price tags) and at $12.99 I couldn't pass it up. I could have waited a few weeks for the half-off sale but it wouldn't last that long at the low regular price. I have a couple other model 385s and they are both good machines so I figured, hey, one more? Why not.

I'm always glad to see this when I open up the accessories compartment.

There's nothing really special about these Kenmores other than the fact they just keep on working, and do it well.


  1. I like the looks of this machine. Quite handsome!

  2. I wrote a rely but got an error message. Not sure if you got it. If so you can delete this one.
    I read your post on your older blog about the reverse and button hole sticking on your Kenmore 385.1764180. Other than that, do you like it? I've seen one listed for $40 in my area on craigslist. I don't need it, I already have 2 lighter weight sewing machines for classes but it's a really nice looking machine.

    1. Sorry for the late response. Busy summer. I really do like these Kenmore 385's a lot. They are smooth and fairly quiet, and are just a nice all-around machine.

  3. My old sewing machine is on its last legs and I want to get a new one. Congratulations on your awesome find! I hope I can find one that looks that good.

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  5. I have TWO of this same exact Kenmore! My Mom gave me my first one as a graduation present. I sewed maybe a few times per year, but I always kept it clean & well-stored, and it still sews like a a brand new machine. Years later when I got obsessed with quilting, I got a bells-n-whistles electronic Singer H47, and while the extra stitches are fun, it's no match to my old Kenmore in strength, weight, quality, and evenness in the stitches.

    I worried that with all the extra sewing I was doing lately, I might burn out the Kenmore (I know you're laughing right now) so I watched Ebay for a similar Kenmore machine to pop up, and I paid $100 for my twin. The seller claimed the machine was like new, which it was on the outside, but it was stuck in straight stitch, no reverse, and sounded awful.

    Having learned to lightly service machines over the years, I opened it up to find a mountain of lint, bugs, glitter (!) and hardened grease. I flushed it out with machine oil, cleaned out the grime with a nylon brush, and then greased it. I had to really work on some stuck parts, but nothing needed replacement. It took several hours, but I now have another Kenmore that sews like new.

    I have a feeling my Kenmore sewing machines will last longer than I will. :-)

    I've really been enjoying your blog lately. Thanks for sharing. Happy sewing!

  6. My beloved Kenmore 385.17928090 just broke a stitch selector gear. I purchased this new 22 years ago and am heartbroken. Hopefully it can be repaired, if not, I am in the market for an exact replacement if anyone wants to let go of one of theirs.