Kenmore 158.1045 Review

Previously, I reviewed the Kenmore 1040 portable machine. Feature-wise, the 1045 is exactly the same as the 1040 but with extra stitches. However, the build quality does take a hit. Let's take a look.

As you can see above, the machine is very similar to the 1040. The green accents have been replaced with the cream color throughout with black plastic dials with orange stickers on them to cover the set screws. While the internals are basically the same, the body has significantly more plastic. As you can see, this plastic is very prone to yellowing with age. The rear panel as well as the base, extension bed and accessory case are all showing signs of yellowing. On the rightmost picture, I've removed the orange sticker off of the flywheel.

The bobbin winder clutch works differently on this model as well. The 1040 uses a screw-to-tighten clutch. By loosening the clutch, the flywheel gets disengaged from the upper shaft which lets the bobbin winder turn freely without moving the needle bar. On the 1045, you pull the the flywheel outward to disengage the clutch. To re-engage, you push it back in and turn the wheel a few degrees to lock it back in place. It's a more elegant solution in my book.

The spool holder no longer retracts, but folds down which reflects the cost cutting nature of this model. You can also see, the stitch types are now visible from the top of the machine as opposed to being obscured on the 1040--a nice little design improvement.

Speaking of stitches, the 1045 adds a four extra stitches indicated in bold below:

  • Straight Stitch
  • Zigzag
  • Stretch Straight and Zigzag
  • Multi-step Zigzag
  • Blind Stitch
  • 4 Step Buttonhole
  • Edge Stitch
  • Elastic Stretch Stitch
  • Overcast Stretch Stitch
  • Smocking Stretch Stitch

All in all, despite the slight ding in build quality, this is still a very solid portable. It's worth noting, that from a collector's perspective, this machine seems much more rare than the 1040s. I've only ever seen one of these and I've seen dozens of 1040s and a handful of 1050s.