Sears Kenmore 158.10401 (Model 1040) Sewing Machine – A Review


  • 3/4 Sized Sewing Machine
  • Light Weight (for an all metal machine)
  • Pretty Rose Clamshell Case
  • All Metal Gears and Cam Stacks
  • Front Loading Bobbin
  • Feed Dog Control
  • Reverse Stitch Control
  • Double Needle Stitching
  • Adjustable Stitch Length Dial
  • Special Stitch Dial
  • 1.0 Amp Motor
  • Uses Standard Class 15 Bobbins and Standard Needles
  • Low Shank Foot
  • Convenient Built-in Accessory Box
  • Additional Sewing Space with Hinged Extension and Turned Out Accessory Box

The Sears Kenmore 1040 (Model 158.10401) is another very sturdy, well-built sewing machine.  The 1040’s were built in Japan between 1971-76, per the model number on this one, it dates to 1973.  This sewing machine is an all-metal gear driven mechanical sewing machine.  If you are diligent about cleaning and oiling it, you will avoid many trips to your local Vac and Sew.

Singer Featherweights are great for taking to a class or quilting club.  However, if you are taking a clothing sewing class you may need different stitches like the zig zag stitch or you may need to make a buttonhole – this is the machine to take.

This is the lightest, all metal gear and cam stack, zig zag sewing machine out there that I am aware of.  It weighs only 15 pounds which is pretty light compared to the full-sized vintage sewing machines.  It also weighs just 4 more pounds than a Singer Featherweight.  The 1040 is a 3/4 sized sewing machine, see the photos below to get an idea of the size:

The feed dogs on this machine can be dropped for free-motion sewing or drawing, and darning.  It has the very useful reverse stitch knob.  It uses regular Class 15 bobbins and Standard 15×1 needles (sizes 9 – 18).  The 1040 can do double needle stitching as well.

Although you cannot see it in the photos because the motor is inside, the Kenmore 1040 has a 1.0 amp motor which can handle sewing on vinyl as long as you have the proper foot attached.

The 1040 can do the following stitches:

  • Straight
  • Zigzag
  • Stretch Stitching
  • Overcast Stretch Stitch
  • Satin
  • Elastic Stretch
  • Buttonhole
  • Blind Hemming
  • Special Mending Stitch

Another nice little feature this machine has is a hinged extension for added sewing space.

For more sewing space, the accessory box can be turned out towards you also.  The accessory box is a nice and convenient addition to this machine, especially when traveling with it as all the machines feet, bobbins, etc. fit in this little box.

Some of the original accessories include a zigzag foot, straight stitch foot, satin stitch foot, zipper foot, blindstitch guide with shank, buttonhole guide feet and 2 small screwdrivers.  You can also use snap-on feet with an adapter.

Here are a couple of photos showing the threading diagrams for the upper thread and bobbin.


Bobbin Threading


If you are lucky, you will find the Kenmore 1040 complete with its off-white clamshell Rose Embossed Carrying Case.

Overall this is a great little machine, it is sturdy, well made, and has the minimum of features and stitches that any sewist would need and want.  You can still order some parts for this little sewing machine at Sears Parts Direct.  This machine did not come with any accessories when I purchased it, however when I ordered the accessories from Sears, they sent me all of them including a brand new accessory box.  This was great as the box the machine came with had become yellow as many old plastic pieces on sewing machines do.

As you can see on the photo above, this is a Sears Best and I agree.  I love this little sewing machine and I highly recommend it.  ♥

* If I missed something, or you have a question about this review, please leave a comment.  I will respond. 🙂