Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine Model 1120

In this blog post, we’re delighted to unveil the exceptional world of Sears Kenmore sewing machine model 1120—a name that resonates with sewing enthusiasts across generations. With a legacy spanning decades, Kenmore has consistently been a symbol of quality, reliability, and innovation in the world of sewing. 

Whether you’re an aspiring designer, a seasoned quilter, or a DIY enthusiast, Kenmore sewing machines have something remarkable to offer. Join us as we embark on a journey through the features, history, and craftsmanship that define Kenmore machines, and discover how they continue to stitch stories of creativity and craftsmanship like no other.

History of Kenmore sewing machines

Kenmore Sewing Machine 
Kenmore Sewing Machine Flickr photo by oolad80 (1)

Kenmore sewing machines were introduced in 1934 by Sears, Roebuck and Co., one of the largest retail companies in the United States. The name “Kenmore” was chosen for its association with quality and durability.

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Sears revolutionized the American shopping landscape with a groundbreaking mail-order catalog. This catalog, far from the petite magazine you might envision, stretched beyond 500 pages, reaching farmers and settlers scattered across rural America. 

Everything listed in the Sears catalog had the potential to capture the attention of consumers nationwide, a phenomenon that quickly elevated the Sears Kenmore brand to prominence. Around 1913 to 1919, Sears introduced its initial Kenmore sewing machine model, an affordably priced treadle-powered wonder at just $6.75. While that might seem like a small sum today, in the early 1900s, it translated to roughly $180, a figure that could fetch a lot more back then. 

The advent of World War I put a temporary halt to the manufacturing of domestic items, sewing machines included, prompting Sears to pause production. By the 1930s, though, the profit wheels were turning again as Sears unveiled some of its finest electric-powered Kenmore models in 1933. Starting in 1933, Sears turned to White for machine production. 

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Some of these were branded as White sewing machines, while others proudly wore the Sears Kenmore badge. However, history tends to throw curveballs, and World War II ushered in another production hiatus, leaving sewing machines off the shelves from 1942 to 1948. 

Once the war fog lifted, Sears reverted to selling White models, with some featuring the Kenmore emblem, a practice that continued until 1958. In the 1950s, the tides shifted as White’s partnership with Sears waned. The Kenmore brand embarked on a fresh journey, partnering with Japanese manufacturers for a new lineup of sewing machines. 

These models weren’t just ordinary; they showcased novel capabilities like crafting buttonholes, zig-zag stitches, and other intricate patterns. Yet, opinions differ on this era of Sears Kenmore sewing machines, with some arguing that they lacked the robust build of their predecessors. 

A twist in the narrative saw Singer briefly enter the scene in the 1970s, contributing a couple of Sears Kenmore sewing machine models. Janome, a rising Japanese star, entered the global stage during this period. Their contribution to Sears was substantial, as they crafted Kenmore models until 2013, amplifying the brand’s reputation. 

However, even the most triumphant stories often encounter hurdles. After facing financial woes in the early 2000s, Sears bid farewell to sewing machines carrying the Kenmore label. 

And so, the history of Kenmore sewing machines dances through time, blending innovation, partnerships, and changing landscapes, leaving a legacy intertwined with the fabric of American life.

Early models: 

Over the years, Kenmore expanded its product line to include a wide range of sewing machines, catering to different skill levels and sewing needs. They introduced models with advanced features, such as automatic thread tension, built-in stitches, and electronic controls.

  • Kenmore Model 117
  • Kenmore Model 83
  • Kenmore Model 15
  • Kenmore Model 385
  • Kenmore Model 19000

Kenmore sewing machines were manufactured by various companies under contract with Sears. These included reputable manufacturers like White, Janome, and Brother. The collaboration allowed Kenmore to leverage the expertise of these companies and incorporate innovative technologies into their machines.

Features of Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine Model 1120

Mrs. Pamela R. Martin dba Castle Paws Designs

The Kenmore 1120 sewing machine is a mechanical model that offers a range of features to assist in various sewing projects. Here are some of the key features of the  Sears Kenmore sewing machine model 1120:


Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine model 1120 has a variety of stitches that you can use to create beautiful designs on your fabric. Some of the stitches available in this machine include: 

  • straight stitch
  • zigzag stitch
  • blind hem stitch
  • buttonhole stitch
  • decorative stitches such as scallop stitch, satin stitch, and overcasting stitch.

The straight stitch is the most basic stitch used in sewing, while the zigzag stitch is ideal for finishing edges and sewing stretchy fabrics. The blind hem stitch is used to create an invisible hem, while the buttonhole stitch is perfect for creating buttonholes on your fabric.

With the decorative stitches available in the Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine model 1120, you can create beautiful and intricate designs on your fabric. The scallop stitch is perfect for creating a decorative edge on your fabric, while the satin stitch is ideal for creating a smooth and shiny finish. Finally, the overcasting stitch is great for finishing raw edges and preventing fraying.

Stitch Length and Width Adjustment:

Users can adjust the length and width of the stitches to customize their sewing results. This feature allows for greater control when working with different fabric types and achieving desired stitch effects.

Reverse Stitching:

The machine has a reverse sewing function that enables the user to reinforce seams or create secure backstitches at the beginning and end of a seam.

Thread Tension Control:

The Kenmore 1120 includes a thread tension dial that allows users to adjust the tension of the upper thread. This feature is essential for achieving balanced stitching and preventing loose or tight stitches.

Bobbin System:

The sewing machine utilizes a front-loading bobbin system, which makes it easy to insert and remove the bobbin. This system also allows for convenient monitoring of thread supply.

Presser Foot Options:

The Kenmore 1120 typically comes with multiple presser feet, such as a general-purpose foot, zipper foot, and buttonhole foot. These interchangeable presser feet provide versatility and facilitate various sewing techniques.

Free Arm:

The machine incorporates a free arm design, which allows for effortless sewing of cylindrical items like sleeves, cuffs, and hems.

Built-in Light:

built in light

The Kenmore 1120 is equipped with a built-in light that illuminates the sewing area, providing better visibility while working on intricate details or darker fabrics.

Easy Threading:

The sewing machine features a simplified threading system that guides the thread through the machine easily, reducing the time and effort required for setup.


The  Sears Kenmore sewing machine model 1120 comes with a set of essential accessories, such as bobbins, needles, and a seam ripper. These accessories enhance the sewing experience and provide convenience when performing different tasks.

It’s important to note that specific features may vary slightly depending on the exact model and any optional accessories included with the Kenmore 1120 sewing machine.

Can the Kenmore sewing machine 1120 sew through thick fabrics?

The  Sears Kenmore sewing machine model 1120 is generally capable of sewing through medium-weight fabrics with ease. However, when it comes to thicker fabrics such as denim, canvas, or multiple layers of heavy fabric, the machine may face some limitations. While it can handle moderate thicknesses, it may struggle with extremely thick or heavy materials. 

To sew through thick fabrics more effectively, consider using appropriate needles and thread specifically designed for heavy-duty sewing. Additionally, adjusting the machine’s tension and stitch length can also help achieve better results. If you frequently work with thick fabrics, you may want to explore sewing machines with more powerful motors or specialized features for heavy-duty sewing.

Does the Kenmore sewing machine 1120 come with a warranty?

The warranty coverage for the Kenmore sewing machine 1120 can vary depending on the specific model and where it was purchased. Typically, sewing machines come with a warranty from the manufacturer that covers defects in materials and workmanship for a certain period of time, such as one year. 

However, it’s important to check the documentation that came with the machine or contact the manufacturer or retailer to determine the exact warranty coverage for the Kenmore sewing machine 1120. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the warranty for that particular model.

Bottom Line

Kenmore sewing machines, including the Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine Model 1120, have a storied history of quality and innovation. With a range of features designed to enhance the sewing experience, the Kenmore 1120 offers versatility and convenience for various projects.

While it may have limitations with thick fabrics, it excels with medium-weight materials. It’s important to check the specific warranty coverage for the Kenmore 1120, as it may vary. Overall, Kenmore sewing machines embody a legacy of craftsmanship and continue to be a trusted choice for sewing enthusiasts seeking reliable and functional machines.

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