Mysterious Attachments – Brother 190B Super Flairmatic

I love to share my sewing machine collection with you but please note, I am an amateur vintage sewing machine collector, I do this for fun – Please do not ask me to help you value your machine or buy/help you sell it. I also will not respond to requests for advice relating to repair or restoration beyond what I have written about. None of my machines or accessories are for sale and I do not give away, lend or sell my manuals, scanned or otherwise, for free or for any sort of payment/trade. Thank you 🙂

The Brother 190 Super Flairmatic came home with me from the Kapiti Coast, with a friend. This is becoming a common occurrence.

Actually the Pfaff got picked up second, from Wainuiomata, about 60 kilometers in the opposite direction. More about her in my next VSM post.

It was a beautiful day for a drive!

I had no clue about this machine when I first saw it, I just loved the colour and 1950sness. She was only $15.00 and look what she came with:

Ohh, a mysterious tin, I love a mysterious tin! I wonder if there’s anything inside?!

Lots of things!

And this weird thing, which we’ll come back to shortly:

She was also absolutely filthy.

They almost always are.

How do they never look as dirty in the online photos? My enthusiasm always dips a little and then I get to work.

So shiny!

Much better!

If you google “Brother 190B Super Flairmatic” you get a lot of pictures. They look just like my machine, in different colours. Mmm, beige…

You’ll also see a 1960s advert from the Sydney Morning Herald for the Lemair-Helvetica Flairmatic Automatic Zig-Zag.

Sensational.

I’m never sure which re-badged machines are legit and which are not…

Anyway, what you’ll not see (or at least I haven’t seen yet) in those Google images is this:

Located just behind the presser foot…it opens up too:

Neat huh? What could it be for? It looked familiar but had me stumped for a while so I kept cleaning and taking photos.

She didn’t come with a manual and all the pdf manuals I’ve seen online show nothing behind the presser foot:

Then my brain woke up and suggested I pull out my vintage Singer buttonhole foot.

Let’s take a look underneath:

Right?!

So I dug back out that weird blue packet from the tin of goodies and it clicked:

It makes buttonholes!

And then I couldn’t get the other half of the cam back out! I struggled for a bit until I took a closer look at the rest of the pieces. Of course it came with a tool for that:

Little tabs and recesses, I was nerding out big time. This is the perfect example of why I love vintage machines and their accessories. It’s ridiculously simple but next-level clever.

I haven’t successfully sewn a button hole just yet. The drive belt was perished and despite coming with a spare Brother branded belt, it’s the wrong size. That’s on my list for the next parts order and I’ll be back to update you.

While investigating further I found an example of a Kenmore buttonholer set on eBay. It has a replacement needle plate featuring a similar cog and full length cams.

I’ve also since seen two more examples of this machine owned by other NZ/Aus collectors in the same colourway and with the buttonhole cog. Neither of those machines came with the accessories and while one lady managed to find a set the other is still looking. So this was clearly an option available for this machine but perhaps only for some markets and only for a brief period of time.

Have you even seen this kind of built-in attachment before?

And that is my Brother 190B Super Flairmatic. As per usual I took too many photos which you can find here. More VSM stories are on my Vintage Sewing Machine page.

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