Kenmore Mini Ultra Sewing Machine Review (2020)

Kenmore Mini Ultra Sewing Machine Review (Last Updated On: September 22, 2019)

A mini sewing machine:

You’d admit that it is a thing of beauty. While we already have considerably small and smart sewing machines for homes or domestic purposes, this type of sewing machine is one step ahead.

Kenmore Mini Ultra 3/4 Size Sewing Machine

It is made to be packed, carried and moved from one place to another. It is so small that you can pack it in a small suitcase.

However:

These things come at expense of functionality. These machines have only a limited number of the features that you notice in a conventional domestic sewing machine.

Yet:

Kenmore Mini Ultra 3/4 Size Sewing Machine comes with a handful of features that you need in your mini sewing machine.

Kenmore Mini Ultra 3:4 Size Sewing Machine

Here’s our take on pros and cons.

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Pros
  • 550 Stitches Per Minute Speed
  • 6 Stitches + Buttonhole
  • 4 Step Buttonhole System
  • Thread Tension Settings.
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Cons
  • Tangling
  • Problems with Bobbin.

So, this machine is not perfect; there is not sewing machine that can be declared perfect. However, the problems with this one are not usual among other sewing machines.

They’re misleading as well.

So, let us discuss the cons first.

Tangling

So what is tangling when it comes to sewing machines?

In simple words:

Tangling is improper threading. When you fail to thread your machine properly or when your machine’s design has a flaw that makes it impossible to thread it properly, you get a situation that is known as tangling.

In this situation, you get a tangled mess of thread on bobbin, which renders it impossible for you to sew normally.

This problem has been reported by quite a few customers of this product, so we cannot totally pin it on customers or used machine cases – random Amazon nonsense.

Problems with Bobbin

Apart from the tangling issue (which actually rarely happens because of bobbin) there are other problems with bobbin.

For example, for some weird reason, you might end up breaking one after another bobbin. Threading the bobbin is not as easy and fun as it is in cases of other machines.

Bobbin holder is not a very firm or reliable one … so during the action, you might end up dropping that.

However:

This comes from the experience of a one or two customers. Let us remind you that Amazon tends to ship used, returned and faulty merch to new customers. Problem might be with those particular units.

Also:

It is a machine move for free movement and full manipulation; where it ends up majorly depends on how well you use it.

And that is all about the cons.

Here is our take on many pros that this small sewing machine has to charm you with.

550 Stitches per Minute

Considering how the best domestic machine with big number of features have roughly 800 stitches per minute speed, this sewing machine only comes up as a good surprise.

Don’t judge it, by its size. It can sew a fabric as tough as denim and it offers you a pace as good as 500 stitches per minute.

Let us consider a few very important numbers and facts when it comes to stitching speed:

  • Roughly, while stitching a dress, you need 10 stitches per inch.
  • Suppose one side of an average sized shirt is 30 inches and arm takes 30 more and shoulder takes roughly 6 inches.
  • In total, they are 66 inches. 66 x 10 (stitches) is equal to 660 stitches. This is what you need, more or less, to complete one side of an average sized shirt.
  • This machine’s RPM is 500 stitches/minute. This means that within 80 seconds or so, you can complete stitching one side of an average sized shirt.
  • The time that you take on other issues e.g. vetting your stitching, moving the cloth back and forth and right and left and many other things that you do while stitching is the same in case of this machine and other machines. As a matter of fact, since you can move it on any angle and there is an easy of manipulation, you will take less time in all mentioned activities.
  • 6 Stitches + Buttonhole

Yes:

This is disappointing, especially, when you compare this machine to domestic sewing machines that normally have around 100 built-in stitches to choose from.

However:

There lies the hamartia: a fatal flaw in your understanding.

This is not a domestic sewing machine that is used for full-fledge sewing. This is a mini sewing machine – a portable one. It weighs just as much as a heavy-duty gaming laptop does and it can be packed inside a small suitcase.

So, this is the sewing machine only for essentials – for much needed sewing while you’re on your way to somewhere or far from home.

Stitches

Here is the detail about stitches:

  • This machine does not have an LCD display, because you have very few stitches to choose from and the dial is enough for that.
  • There are total 6 different style of stitches to pick from.
  • Apart from 6 stitches, there is a bartack buttonhole that you can choose from the dial.
  • Stitches include very simple, basic and most commonly applied stitching styles.
  • 4 Step Buttonhole System

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bartack buttonhole?

What is a 4 step buttonhole system and how is it better than others?

Let us get these questions answered.

Here is everything that you need to know about the buttonhole system of this sewing machine made by Kenmore.

  • 4-step buttonhole system comes with a buttonhole foot (this presser foot comes with this machine as well).
  • You remove whatever presser foot is there underneath the needle and replace it with the 4-step buttonhole presser foot that you get with Kenmore Mini 3/4.
  • Make sure your dial’s position corresponds to the buttonhole foot, because you’re not stitching any longer.
  • Bring a cloth underneath the foot, press the foot downwards and start making a bartack buttonhole.
  • Before we talk about bartack thing, let us consider what a buttonhole presser foot looks like and how it works. So, it is a plastic foot that has a space to adjust a button of any size, you then install the presser foot where it belongs, and make sure that your chalk-marked bartack comes right between two dots on each side of the foot. And you are good for making a buttonhole.
  • Lastly, what is a bartack? Bartack is a series of very closely made stitches that reinforce and strengthen the piece of fabric that is subject to stress, wear or tear. In this case, we’re talking about a buttonhole. If you do not apply a bartack to a buttonhole, the fabric around that hole will get ripped apart.

Now you know what makes it a 4-step buttonhole system.

Thread Tension Settings

This machine is pretty basic and people who buy it, are 100% right when they say that there are other small sewing machines, same size or even smaller, that come with more advanced features.

However:

Considering how basic it is and how basic are most of the small-sized sewing machines, it is amazing if this machine lets you choose from different thread tension settings.

It is definitely good to have options and definitely when it comes to thread tension, two or more are better than only one.

Accessories

Now we’re coming to the end of this review, and before you read out verdict about this product, here is the detail of the accessories included when you buy the machine:

  • 2 Plastic bobbins included – they are best because they do not have the problems that are associated with metallic bobbins.
  • Dust cover – this is kind of accessory that you may or may not get, but if you get lucky, you can ditch the box and just use the cover to wrap your machine and carry with you.
  • Needle set – yes, with this best sewing machine you get a set of different size needles.
  • Buttonhole opener – a small, sleek and functional buttonhole opener is included in the accessories. Just place it on fabric, where you want to make a buttonhole, and press it under you notice it cutting the fabric and making a sharp hole.
  • Spool pin felt – it is a small thing that you place under the spool and it stops the spool from spinning once you stop sewing.
  • Buttonhole foot – we have already talked about and how it works.
  • Darning plate – this is a small, square plastic plate with a sharp vertical hole. It helps you make sew and make buttonholes without getting the fabric tugged while you sew.

Our Verdict

The biggest critique of this machine that we didn’t mention in the cons is that although it comes with accessories and it has a few settings that you mostly find in advanced, home-based sewing machines, it lacks the advanced features that a couple of mini sewing machines already have.

You only get to choose from 6 basic stitch styles and there is nothing that you can do about the size and width of the stitch.

However:

We find this sewing machine a sweet spot between a very few that are more advanced than others and the lot that basically offers little to nothing, except you can make a stitch and a buttonhole.

Considering that with this sewing machine you can sew very thick objects, including denim, I would definitely recommend using, Kenmore Mini Ultra 3/4 Size Sewing Machine.

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