Before using a Kenmore sewing machine, you must ensure that the thread is correctly positioned from the top and bottom. The process is usually fairly straightforward, but you have to do it with precision. Note that the basic instructions are essentially the same for all Kenmore models, but some models have minor differences.
Part 1 of 4: Winding the coil
Step 1. Release the clutch
Turn the clutch lever towards you or to the left to release it. The clutch lever must be located on the right side of the machine.
For most models, you will have to pin the outside of the knob with one hand while turning the inside of the knob towards you with the other. The outer part is the hand wheel, while the inner part is the clutch lever
Step 2. Place the thread on the spool pin
Position the spool of thread so that the spool pin of the machine passes through its center hole.
- The spool thread should be wrapped clockwise around the center.
- For most models, the spool pin is vertical. However, on some models, like the Kenmore 385.16120, the spool pin goes horizontal as you wind the bobbin and thread the machine.
- On the Kenmore 117.591, the spool pin is located at the base of the machine and the winder, along with their corresponding parts; They are located at the front right of the machine.
Step 3. Place the thread through the tension disk of the winder
Pull the thread from the spool and fit it onto the small tension disk, which is usually located at the top front of the machine.
Insert the thread through the disk on the upper right and wrap it around the entire left side, finally, bring it back and towards the lower right. Don't wrap it around the puck in a full turn
Step 4. Pull the thread through the hole in the bobbin
Before placing the bobbin on the bobbin spindle, insert the thread through the hole in the empty bobbin spool. When you're done, place the bobbin on the machine's winder spindle.
- Make sure the bobbin spool turns so that the hole appears at the top, rather than the bottom.
- Generally, the spool pin is to the right of the spool pin.
- As you position the bobbin on its shaft, make sure the thread wraps around slightly from the bottom of the bobbin.
Step 5. Push the coil to the right
Firmly push the coil and its shaft to the right of the machine until you hear a click.
The coil should now be directly to the side of a throttle device. This regulator helps to control the amount of thread wound on the bobbin
Step 6. Turn on the machine and wind the bobbin
Hold the end of the thread coming out of the bobbin with one hand. With your foot, press the pedal that will make the machine work. Continue winding the bobbin until the winder stops on its own.
Note that you should also consider cutting off the excess from the top end of the spool after you partially fill the spool with the spool. In some models, this excess thread could even break on its own. This is the case for the Kenmore 158.1340, 1345, 1350, and 1355
Step 7. Cut the thread
Push the winder to the left and lift the bobbin out. Cut the thread, leaving a small tail.
Step 8. Tighten the clutch
Hold the outer part of the hand wheel as you turn the inner clutch knob away from you, to the right. You will feel the clutch tighten again.
On some models, you can push the hand wheel to tighten the clutch. This is the case for the Kenmore 158.1430, 1431, 1625, 1641, 1940 and 1941
Part 2 of 4: Threading the bobbin case
Step 1. Remove the extension table
On most models, this can be accomplished simply by pulling it to the left.
The extension table is located on the lower left front of the machine. It covers the bobbin shuttle, so you will need to remove it before loading the bobbin
Step 2. Open the shuttle cover
Find the embossed or marked portion on the shuttle cap on the new front of the machine. Pull this part of the cover down to open the cover.
- This embossed knob is usually located on the left side of the cover.
- On some models, the shuttle is located directly in front of the needle bed and not at the front of the machine. The door will raise instead of sideways. This is the case for the Kenmore 1222, 1310, 1311, 1322, and 1422. It is also the case for the 1521, 1560, and 1937 models.
Step 3. Raise the needle
Turn the outside of the hand wheel toward you. Watch the needle as you turn the wheel and stop turning once the needle reaches its highest point.
Step 4. Remove the bobbin case
You should notice a latch on the bobbin case. Pull this latch towards you to release the box from the shuttle, then pull the box out to remove it.
Release the latch once the box is out of the machine
Step 5. Insert the coil
Position the bobbin so that the thread wraps around it by turning clockwise. Push the bobbin into the box and thread the end of the thread into the slot at the top of the box. Keep pushing it through this slot until you can pull the thread under the tension spring.
The tension spring is a small piece fastened with a small screw at the top of the case
Step 6. Put the box back on the shuttle
Lift the latch one more time and push the loaded box into the shuttle. The latch should face the left side of the machine. Release it once the box is back on the shuttle.
You will usually hear a click when you release the latch. Shake the box to make sure it is securely in place
Part 3 of 4: Threading the upper thread
Step 1. Raise the take-up lever
The thread take-up lever is a hook on the front left of the machine, well above the needle. Turn the outer part of the hand wheel towards you (counterclockwise) until you feel this level reach its highest or outermost point.
Step 2. Raise the presser foot
Find the presser foot lever; it is usually just behind the needle and above the presser foot. Raise it to raise the presser foot at the bottom of the machine.
Step 3. Place the thread on the spool pin of the machine
Position the spool so that the thread turns counterclockwise and exits from the back of the bobbin.
As mentioned above, the spool pin will be vertical for most models, but some models make use of a horizontal spool pin
Step 4. Pass the thread through the rear thread guide
This thread guide is located at the top of the machine (towards the rear) and usually to the left of the bobbin guide. Wind the thread around the left side of this guide, leading it down and toward the front of the machine.
You should hold the spool still with your right hand while threading this part of the machine. By doing this, you keep the thread taut enough to prevent it from getting tangled from accidentally coming loose
Step 5. Wind the thread down the front of the machine and back up
The front of the machine must be marked with a route "A" and a route "B" or equivalent labels. Pass the thread through path A, hooking it onto the latch at the bottom of the path, and back up through path B on the left.
- For most Kenmore 158 and 385 series models, there will be a tension knob at the bottom of your first thread path. There are hidden tension discs between this knob and the machine, and you need to wrap the thread around the bottom of this knob to insert it between these tension discs.
- For other models, there will be a tension area with a spring bracket located near the bottom front of the machine, instead of a tension knob. You will need to wrap the thread around the spring holder from the back. This is the case for the Kenmore 385.11607 and 12.714 models, as well as several other 385 series models.
- Note that on the Kenmore 117.591, the thread guides and all corresponding parts are located on the left side of the machine and not on the front. However, the winding process is essentially the same. This is the case for several other models, including the Kenmore 28, 29, 40, 1100, 1101, and 1102.
Step 6. Pass the thread through the tension spring
The tension spring should be located at the top of path B or just a little to its left. Pull the thread up and into this spring to secure it in place.
Step 7. Pass the thread through the front of the machine one more time
The front of the machine should have a more marked path. Pull the thread this way, making sure it snaps onto the take-up lever in the process.
You should be able to free the spool at this point
Step 8. Pull the thread through the lower guide
Buckle the thread at the first lower thread guide at the bottom of the previous thread path. Fasten it on the second lower thread guide positioned just above the needle.
This second thread guide will look like a small horizontal pin
Step 9. Roll up the needle
Weave the end of the thread through the front of the needle and out from the back. Leave a small tail that extends outward toward the back of the machine.
Note that if the eye of the needle is from side to side instead of front to back, attach the thread to the needle from the left side to the right
Part 4 of 4: Gather the bobbin thread
Step 1. Turn the hand wheel towards you
Loosely hold the end of the upper thread with your left hand, while turning the outside of the hand wheel to the right or toward you. Spin the wheel one full turn.
Make sure you have raised the presser foot before doing this
Step 2. Pull the thread out of the bobbin
You should notice a small loop coming from the bottom of the needle bed. Gently pull the end of the upper thread to straighten this loop and pull the bobbin thread from inside the looper.
Step 3. Pull both threads under the foot
Position both ends of the thread so that they are under the foot and pointing towards the rear of the machine.