Hot! oona does it!: THEY KILLED KENNY

no, no they didn't.  if anyone laid a hand on my precious kenny, they'd have me to reckon with.

you've heard me sing the praises of my vintage kenmore before.  marmota, proprietress of marmota's dress diaries and maker of historical clothing, had heard enough about him to throw down the gauntlet:

For the next challenge, I suggest a tribute to your vintage kenmore!

well played, my friend.  well played.

let me first say that i'm not even sure this is a kenmore.  it's gimbels branded, model 600, with a serial number that reads like an infinite repeating sum.  but at some point in my years of ownership, i did some major web digging and decided it was a kenmore.  am i right?  who can tell.  mais, this is kenny. 


(he's looking all christmasy here, an old pic had to suffice as i'm away from home.  but his bum is still wrapped in pretty paper.)

kenny is the first machine i ever owned.  i'd only made cushions with him before i shoved him angrily into a closet.  i didn't know his real worth until we returned to NY after my whole learn-to-sew-to-stay-sane-in-LA jaunt.  on return, i pulled him out of storage with a jaded outlook.  sewing cushions on this 50 pound behemoth was a nightmare.  surely he would just be a placekeeper until my featherweight arrived safe and sound.

imagine my surprise when i really took a good look at kenny.  he had cams.  zig zag.  a button holer.  40 different stitches.  3 needle positions.  multiple metal feet.  and the original manual.  what was i thinking, hiding him away?  


it was here that ruggy reminded me: i am impatient, and like to make snap and permanent judgements about people, places and things.  this is true.  i do not discriminate.  but i JUDGE.  accordingly, when i couldn't learn how to work him in under 15 minutes, it was over for kenny.


so i shoved him in a closet and forgot about him for 7 years.

the same snap judgement goes for this particular burdastyle pattern, the mila dress.  when it first came out, i thought it was… well… fugly.  the strip down the front cried phallic to me. but, being a patrack of the first degree (see: kenny in attic for 7 years), i downloaded and kept it in my sewing file. 


my reasons for pulling it out here were threefold:

the designer was inspired by "summer in the city" (kenny is a new york boy).  in my mind it needed a mix of fabrics, which kenny excels at, he likes nothing better than to join lace, double gauze and metal.  thirdly, i had big doubts about this coming out right.  but kenny has a chin-up, can-do attitude.  you'd have to, how else would one keep one's outlook sunny in a 7 year solitary confinement?  when i have a doubt, i turn to kenny,  he sets his chin, and says:  IT'S ON.


aaaaaand guess WHAT.  just like my kenny, i fell in love with this initially nixed pattern. i'll probably be making another when i get home.

home.  i miss my kenny!  sadly, at the moment, it's one of the few things i miss about home. if you didn't notice, them mountains ain't new york.  i had to pull a mena and make a few challenges in advance while i'm away in canada.  but my dance card has some open slots upcoming… and i'm pretty sure kenny will be raring to go soon as i stomp on NY pavement.   he'll have a lot of work ahead of him, making his mistress forget these mountains!



oonaballoona, from kalkatroona, first started visiting the sew weekly in 2011. since then she's made new clothes, new friends, and many many new drinks.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh it’s going to take some fabulous project to make you forget that gorgeous scenery!

  2. Well, even if someone does kill Kenny, he always comes back in the morning. I bet your Kenny is like that, too. Always coming back for one more bought.

  3. they may have killed kenny but you killed this dress, girl!

  4. What a great version of that dress! I LOVE the lace as the contrast fabric!
    I also sew on a Kenmore, although it’s a bit more modern and only has 10 stitches. But it does have the buttonhole and the original manual, and only jams up when I’m mean to it.

  5. Fantabulous dress! I laughed out loud at the phallic reference….hee hee

  6. Oona doesn’t namaste to the mountains, she opens her arms and yells “hey mountains! yeah, you, glorious things that you are! check out the awesomeness of my dress, in all its phallic perfection!”
    I feel the same way about my first machine, passed down from my grandmother. I hated it, shunned it, kicked it. Now I know just how fab it truly it. And that a tune up is all she ever needed.

  7. Kenmore is the house brand name of Sears. Lately, Janome makes the Kenmore for Sears. Your machine is branded Gimbels a machine made in Japan for sale to retailers to add their own brand name. If it looks like a Kenmore of the same era, it is because it was probably made by the same manufacturer. Hope this clears it up.

  8. That is the nice thing about the more “classic” machines is that they’re certainly built to last! Sounds like a workhorse.
    And well-played, Marmota. :)

  9. Well done!!!! I’ve seen this pattern, and I had my doubts, but holy shazam! You totally rock it like Joan Jett. Bravo!

  10. You did it again! You make me like Mila! And you picked up my gauntlet to boot. :-)

  11. Lace! Exposed zipper! Dotty fabric! What an awesome dress!

  12. ain’t THAT the truth!!!

  13. completely. no matter what i do to him, he comes back for more.

  14. thanks nalani! i was shocked with the result!

  15. exactly my kenny, it’s total user error for me too :)
    thanks for the lace love!

  16. i do likes me the reference du phallic :)

  17. I LOVE IT!
    and i had planned on carrying my kenny to the shop for a tune up before heading to the mountains… of course, i ran out of time.

  18. eljean, i love this info!
    i know for sure gimbels was also a department store in new jersey, but gimbels was a japanese machine brand as well?

  19. he’s a clydesdale, dude.

  20. you must try it! it is a very true to size pattern, that rare thing at le B.S.

  21. teehee! now, you must make a regency dress out of the mila!!!

  22. thanks alessa! that thin dotty fabric almost killed me, but o how i love it…

  23. Oona, I can try that, but if it’s to be a Regency dress, it won’t be recognizable as Mila anymore. ;)
    Sorry that I don’t reply straight to your comment – stupid school computer won’t show the reply box if I do. (Neither will it show .doc files online, so I can’t view teachers’ recommendations for this semester – not on this computer, that is…)