Life Among the Rockies Sewing

Kenmore’s 158 Monogrammer

Concerning sewing with a Kenmore:

I know this post is not what I usually write about but today I got my buttonholer and monogrammer out of storage.  Between being bought on eBay and going into storage, I hadn’t had a chance to play with them and figure it out.

How to use the monogrammer fitting Kenmore’s 158 series sewing machine.

I found that there is a serious shortage of information online on how to use the monogrammer and that’s one of the reasons I’m writing this post.

But tonight once the girls were in bed I immediately went to my Kenmore 158.14311 Modifier and unpacked my goodiebox.

The monogrammer set for a Kenmore 158 sewing machine flat top with vertical bobbin.

On the left is the box containing the monogrammer.  It will fit on many Kenmore 158s.  But not all.  It must be a flat top machine (where the bed of the machine sits flush with the tabletop).  It must have a vertical bobbin, not a drop-in horiozontal one.  And yet it might still not fit your machine because there are two very similar types but one will not fit the other.  Look at the shape of the plate you remove to access the bobbin.  Compare it to the one in the kit and you will be able to tell if it will fit your machine.

The Kenmore 158 Monogrammer and Accessories:

The monogrammer for the 158 Kenmore sewing machine.

Here is the monogrammer. The silver semi-circle is used like a regular embroidery hoop with the circle attached to the monogrammer.

This is the monogrammer foot that came with this set but does not fit my machine.  This foot is 1 1/8″ from base to screw notch.  It wil fit a very high shank machine.  Mine is low shank.

The monogrammer for the 158 Kenmore sewing machine.

And these are what make the monogrammer actually make letters.  They are the cams.

The M cam for a 158 Kenmore sewing machine monogrammer.

This is what the cam looks like for the letter M. This set can make two sizes of letter (though both will be capital).

See the letter M in a circle on each end of the cam?  It can be hard to tell, but one is larger than the other.  And the letter is only right-way-up if it is in the top right corner.  And whichever M is right-way-up is the one the monogrammer will make.

To Install the Monogrammer Cam:

See the teeth at the top and bottom sides?  When loading the monogrammer, look at the where the top teeth start. See that little oval line underneath the start of the top teeth?  Push the cam into the left side of the monogrammer until turning that dial clockwise feeds the cam into the monogrammer by itself.  Stop when that oval line lines up with the left edge of the monogrammer:

The cam loaded in the Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

To Install the Monogrammer:

Remove the bobbin cover plate:

The bobbin cover plate removed from the Kenmore 158 to make way for the monogrammer.

There is a nail groove at the bottom left.  Pull up on the edge until it pops free.

Remove the presser foot.

Install the Monogrammer:

See the metal plate that looks like your bobbin cover plate?  I’ll give you one guess where that goes.

Yup, right where the cover plate was.  Good job!

Installing the monogrammer on Kenmore 158.

See the two tabs at the top edge of the monogrammer cover plate?  Those snap in underneath the needle plate then just push down on the monogrammer until it snaps in.

Insert the Fabric to be Embroidered:

With the silver semicircle on top of the fabric and the monogrammer hoop underneath the fabric, squeeze the two ends of of the semicircle and push it down inside the monogrammer hoop.

Tug at the fabric all along the outside of the embroidery hoop to ensure the fabric is taut within the circle.

Pinch the fabric between the silver hoop and the embroidery hoop.

It’s advised to use a tissue-paper backing.  My tissue paper is in a room where two babies are sleeping so instead I did it through two layers of fabric.  It worked fine.

Attach the Monogrammer Foot:

I sure hope you already know how to remove and attach feet on your machine.  As it is, the monogrammer foot I got in my set won’t fit my Kenmore therefore I’m using a multipurpose foot.

Attach the monogrammer foot.

To Use the Monogrammer:

This process will work better with a looser thread tension.  My machine runs a little off (I keep my tension at 4 usually, rather than the usual 3) so I turned my tension down to just below 3 and it seemed to work well.

I also increased the presser foot pressure to hold the fabric steadier.

Hold the top-thread tail and lower the needle into the fabric.  Keep hold of the tail for the first couple stitches.

You don’t need to hold the fabric or the hoop (in fact: Don’t).  Just start sewing the the magic happens all by itself. However the magic expires as soon as the letter is finished so make sure you’re watching and stop sewing once the letter is complete.

Finished monogrammed M using Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

To Remove Your Work:

Raise the needle to its highest position.  Raise the presser foot.  Remove the presser foot.

Squeeze the silver ends again and remove the fabric, cutting the threads.

Ta Da!

Finished embroidery using the Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

The back of the embroidery made using the Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

Bonus Content:

After having inserted a cam, the dial that feeds the cam through the monogrammer suddenly seized; I could not get it to turn either direction.  I couldn’t get the cam out!

Opening the monogrammer:

On the underside of the monogrammer are 5 screws.  Take them out and put them somewhere safe.

The backside of the Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

The back cover cannot be removed, only pivoted out of the way.  So pivot it away and the embroidery hoop can be removed.

Kenmore158 monogrammer embroidery hoop removed.



As it is, I couldn’t go any farther than this.  The rest I couldn’t get apart so this is more of a reassembly guide for anyone silly enough (like me) to have taken the back off.

Fair warning:

The following pictures are not great.  I had not planned on using them in this post; they were meant as a reference for myself taking apart the monogrammer.  I’ve drawn on the pictures to highlight what I’m talking about.

You see how there are three tracks on the leg of the embroidery hoop?  There are three pegs on the monogrammer that need to fit one in each trench.  Oh, and one spring as well.  One peg and the spring are located in the monogrammer.  The other two pegs are on the back of the back plate.

The hardest part is getting all three pegs (and spring) correctly placed.  It’s difficult, trust me.

This picture shows the peg and spring inside the monogrammer.  The peg is traced yellow, as is the arm the peg is on.  The spring is traced blue.  The spring come from underneath the innards, goes underneath the arm, and comes back up to rest near the peg.

This picture show which trench this peg sits in and where the spring needs to be maneuvered to.

The placement of the inside peg and spring on the Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

Now let’s look at the pegs on the backside of the plate.  One is a metal stationary peg.  The second is on the long end of a pivoting arm.  You need to position the arm so the long end is pointing inwards and the short end is closer to the edge.

The metal peg (orange) goes in the lowest trench and the swing-arm peg (yellow) goes in the middle one:

The peg placement on the Kenmore 158 monogrammer.

Now that you’ve seen where all the pegs go, you need to attach the hoop to the inside peg and spring.  Now you have to pivot the back cover over top and peering in the crack, get the pegs on the back plate to sit in their proper grooves.

Once you’ve managed that, get those screws back in and never open it again!

I couldn’t get to the mechanisms that feed the cam through so I couldn’t fix my problem.  But I just kept pulling and pushing and trying to turn the dial and eventually the cam came loose.

I was really relieved that the monogrammer worked after having been taken apart.  So relieved that that’s when I decided to write a post!  That’s right, the above tutorial happened after I successfully put the monogrammer back together! Go, me!

I hope this post helps anyone trying to use their monogrammer!

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