Kenmore 385-19606

I just bought a close out model at Sears. It is a Kenmore 385 19606 a
reliable? What problems does the machine have. And just who makes it and
what model?
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dplant had written this in response to
------------------------------------- hey Buster ...
I have a 385 Ken also. LOVE IT! But, I have a friend and now mine, that when you try to sew material that is thick enough to jam the needle, it will throw the bobbin timing off and then the needle won't pick up the bobbin thread.
Something about the timing. Mine is still under warranty and Sears informed me it will be THREE WEEKS before I get it back. We'll see what happens.
My friend says Sears repair service is NOT reliable. His machine jammed again. He now takes it to the local Janome dealer and has it back in two days.
I must learn how to do this "re-adjust" myself as I want to sew thick materials occasionally.
The Kenmore 385 is made by Janome. dp
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ferreter had written this in response to
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:I saw a comment about how the Kenmore 385 easily loses its needle - hooktiming. I can't find how to fix the timing of my Kenmore 385 "100 Stitch"sewing machine. I have looked at some of the instructions online but theyare not specific & clear enough. Did someone find this info or find thatit much better to pay someone to do the work?
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Just an FYI: 385 is Sears' designator for machines made by Janome and sold under the Kenmore name. The actual useful model number is the part after the decimal point, so a machine that's 123.456789 is a machine made by company 123, and the model is 456789 (though usually only the first four digits are useful, so it's really model 4567). Some of the parts lists and manuals are available at
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Most of the "loses a needle" problems are just "wasn't cinched up tight enough when you installed it" problems, in my experience. One machine I owned had a knurled thumbscrew that the ridges were sharp on. If I didn't use a scrap of fabric between the thumbscrew and my fingers, it hurt enough that I didn't get the thumbscrew tight. (Nowadays I'm old and impatient and I'd probably just file down the thumbscrew edges a bit to round them over.)
Another machine had a flat thumbscrew that was hard to grip because there wasn't much clearance between the machine housing and the thumbscrew. I fixed that issue by putting a little plastic wrap over the thumbscrew and then taking a lump of epoxy putty and making a little handle thingie I could use for better leverage. Once the epoxy started to harden a bit, I pulled the lump and plastic off the thumbscrew and let it cure. Then I had a custom lever for snugging down the needle without skinning my knuckles.
Retiming a machine tends to be an exercise in frustration until you have someone teach you the basics; I learned on an ancient White that was forever going out of time because of poor quality metal in the needlebar. I suspect you can learn to do it on your own, particularly if you have good tinkering skills, but I also suspect most machines in need of retiming get taken to a real mechanic.
Also, if you're having trouble snugging up the needle in the clamp, the machine will be "out of time" if the needle drops just a smidge. And it will be variably out of time, just to make things more fun. So always retime with a brand new needle of the right needle system for the machine fully inserted. Conventionally, home machines are retimed with a size 80/12 needle, ime.
IME also, except for that ancient White (which had more than one mechanic swear it should never have left the plant because of the slipping timing issue), actual timing problems tend to be immediately preceded by broken needles, really bad jams, loud noises, and Bad Words. If none of those have happened to a machine that you think is "out of time", it's amazing how often you can properly clean the machine, oil it if needed, put in a new needle right way around, decent thread on a correctly wound bobbin the right way around, and rethread correctly, and voila! the machine is "magically retimed",
Again, in my experience, "mistimed" machines are mostly misthreaded -- to the extent that I put up a series of pairs of photos at
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so people could comparethe stitching on a clean, properly timed machine to the same machine with minor misthreading. The photos are in pairs, blue thread on top,red in the bobbin. First pair is correct; all the rest of the problemstitching samples I induced by minor misthreading or poor seam starting. Kay
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Kay Lancaster

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