A Tutorial – Kenmore Sewing Machine Cases… There is a Surprise Inside!

Kenmore sewing machine cases… they are very durable and I consider them to be the best vintage sewing machine cases out there. Even after decades, they have held up with no signs of aging. This case is from 1968-69. It has some battle scars but despite these, the sewing machine was protected. The case is still structurally strong and will continue to carry and protect this machine for years to come.

But did you know that there is a surprise inside? Well, maybe not a surprise to some, but for others (like me) it may be a mystery solved. I’ll show you what I mean…

If you have a Kenmore in a case like this, look inside the case… see it? It is a panel stored in the case and it has a purpose.

Press down on both sides of the metal clip and remove this panel…

Turn it over and insert it in the case latch slot in the case bottom, and there you have it… A bed extension! So, now you know its purpose and the mystery is solved!

Hope this helps! and please visit our Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/pungoliving to see our selection of restored fine quality vintage sewing machines.

As always, our tutorials are provided as a free resource to help you learn and maintain your vintage sewing machine. As our site has grown, so has the cost to keep and maintain it.  Despite these costs, I will strive to continue posting tutorials and other relevant content for the benefit of the sewing community.  If you found the content of this tutorial useful, please consider making a small donation to help me grow the site and help defray my costs… every little bit helps.

Help support Our Site…

A small donation of $5.00 goes a long way in helping me manage the rising cost of my website. Thanks! Lee


Please let me know if I can answer any questions or if I can be of any assistance by emailing me at pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!


Published by pungoliving

First and foremost, I decided to share some of my experiences with vintage all metal sewing machines. It is a natural progression of my life experience exercising my hands and my mind. My background is a simple story... graduating High school, I wanted a trade. I landed an apprenticeship at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in welding. 5 years later after earning certification and working in many different environments, I decided to enroll in College and earn an Engineering. At the same time, I married a wonderful girl and started a new life. Graduating College with a degree in Structural Engineering, I began a 35 year career in the Federal Government. Along the way, we were blessed with 3 beautiful children. Earning a Masters degree in Engineering and registration as a Professional Engineer I worked for the benefit of my family and my Country. Over the years, I have pursued many different hobbies... woodworking, car mechanics, astronomy, and taking apart and putting together all sorts of things. Pretty much anything I could put my mind and my hands into. So now, many years later, I am retired and finally able to wile away my days at home with the love of my life. Her interests have always been in sync with mine, but spending so much free time with her, I realized how broad her talents are! One interest she is particularly fond of is sewing. It didn't take me long to put 2+2 together and realize that I could do something with this. So, acquiring, adjusting, servicing, and restoring sewing machines was a win-win. I have a hobby that is detailed, involves tinkering with precision engineered high quality manufactured machines, while she has an opportunity to sew on various different makes and models of sewing machines. While there are many that have information on line, and what I have to say more than likely has already been said, I wanted to contribute to that conversation and learning gleaned from my experience and research.

14 thoughts on “A Tutorial – Kenmore Sewing Machine Cases… There is a Surprise Inside!

  1. I recently received a vintage Kenmore with this very same case and I had no idea, Looked everywhere with no luck I have not used the machine yet as I need a new tension assembly. Such a nice tidbit of information. Thank you Huntress


  2. I just looked at my mothers Kenmore Machine case and “surprise” It’s there. We never knew it existed. Had this machine since 1974.. I learned to sew on my mothers Kenmore.


    1. What a wonderful surprise! Kenmore made a fine sewing machine and I think you will agree when you sew with it. They are great garment machines, and not nearly as finicky as some other machines. Let me know if I can be of any assistance!


      1. Hi there,
        I bought Kenmore 158.13150 in the 70’s and use it constantly for about eight years. Periodically, I would take it to the shop and have it cleaned and oiled. It’s now been sitting about 10 years and of course I have lost the manual. I would like to clean it, oil it and service it myself if possible. Any information you could give me would be well appreciated.


      2. Hello Barbara,

        It is not unusual for vintage machine like yours sitting for a long time. To bring your machine back to service and ensure it runs properly, Taking it to a shop is spending a lot of money for things you can easily do yourself.

        I would suggest you do the following…

        1. Clean any lint you may find behind the bobbin case and in the needle bar head. Then put a drop of oil on the front and back of the bobbin race.

        2. Oil the machine at all of its oiling points and with the top cover removed, put a drop of oil at all points where you see linkages connecting to other linkages/parts.

        3. It is certain that the motor oil wicks have dried out. The motor has 2 oiling ports… one in front and one at the back of the motor case. There may be a label that says not to use more than three drops of oil. But, because the wicks are dry, apply 8-10 drops of oil at each end. This will recharge the wicks.

        4. Often found in Kenmore’s is dried out gear case grease. It makes a world of difference if you replace this grease. The machine will run quieter and smoother with new grease. I have a tutorial on how to perform this simple service, and you can read it at: https://pungolivinghome.com/2020/05/04/a-tutorial-re-lubricating-the-gear-case-on-a-kenmore-model-158-xxxx-series-sewing-machine/.

        5. It is also likely that the feed dog drop mechanism is stuck. It is quite troublesome to free it up, and if you would like for me to walk you thru the process, I will be happy to. If you don’t use it, it won’t hurt anything to leave it alone.

        6. It would be a good time to check the bobbin thread tension and run a strip of fabric thru the top tension mechanism to clean the discs in the thread path. Adjust the bobbin tension so a slight pull will pull the thread. With the feed dog down, adjust the top tension so it pulls at about the same pull as you would need to pluck a hair out of your head. That should get you in the ballpark and then adjust on a piece of scrap fabric.

        7. Cleaning the body of your machine is easy. You can use a damp cloth with a bit of soap or detergent. Unlike older vintage machines with a shellac finish, the Kenmore finish is not affected by water in the cloth.

        8. Put a drop of oil on the bobbin winder assembly and check the bobbin tire. Often, it is just fine.

        9. It is VERY important to replace the needle. A host of problems can be caused by a dull or bent needle.

        This should give your machine a fresh start and get you sewing with it again!

        Please let me know if this helps and let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

        Have a wonderful weekend,


      3. Hello there!
        I’m so blessed to have found your website. I can’t thank you enough for helping me, a complete stranger, with my sewing machine. It’s running like a dream now and I was able to take care of it myself. The repair service wanted a significant amount of money to work on my machine and also had a 10 to 12 week delay time. As a senior on a fixed income, that was out of the question.
        Thank you again!


      4. Hello Barbara,

        Thank you… I feel blessed being able to help. We are all part of a sewing community and while we may not know each other, sharing knowledge and helping others is what makes it special.

        Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

        Have a wonderful day!


  3. Hi Lee- my name is Laney- I’ve used a 1973 kenmore that was my grandma’s she gave it to me in 1992– love it but it is worn out! I found a portable one yesterday at a resale shop- it’s great! Not used much and nothing with it. It did have the extension in the lid😊. I want to take it out of the case and put it in my cabinet. I can’t figure out how to get it out of the base of the case . Can you tell me how to do it?


  4. Lee,
    Thanks so much for this tip. I’ve had a Kenmore 158.1803 for about 10 years and didn’t know that extension table was in there. Great machine, I like it as much as the Singer 401A and Viking 6030 I have. Like you, I am a registered P.E. (mechanical) and also work for the Navy. I do visit Norfolk occasionally on Navy business. I think we’re the same age but I’m not retired. ~Greg


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