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The reverse mechanism lube us going bad. It is accessed from under the machine under the free arm. Usually indicates that the machine is due for a service and oiling. It shouldn't be a problem to get it done at a good sewing machine dealer/store.
If you have had this machine for long time the problem is most likely the reverse mechanism is stuck. On a lot of kenmore machines the reverse is a spring loaded lob that slides side to side on the lower shaft. Over time the lube that was used dries out and turns pasty. The spring can no longer push the lob and the machine stops reversing properly. It needs to be cleaned and relubed. Best bet is a sewing machine shop with a good repair person. If it is a new machine it could be something else.
Be sure you are in the correct stitch pattern...if you are on a buttonhole stitch or a stretch stitch it normal for the machine to sew backwards. Be sure your length is to the right of 0 and not in a strtch stitch model or buttonhole mode.
The reverse button is attached to link that moves a lever to make the machine sew in reverse. The lever is spring loaded so it returns to forward sewing when the button is released. Either the spring has come off or there is a bind in the lever(oil it). In order to solve the problem, the covers must be removed.