Like a motorbike? The Pfaff 332-260

The Pfaff 332-260 came from Wainuiomata in a cardboard box and later that day it was joined in the boot by a Brother.

It was, of course, filthy.

The machine hasn’t been inside it’s own suitcase for many years, the zipper seized shut.

The jewel of an original manual that the seller was so excited to offer with the machine is water damaged and many of the pages are stuck together.

Two of the dials are seized and while others move with force they do so unhappily.

She cost me $18.50 and she needs some work.

The top cover came off easily revealing all the little fingers and internal dials that work the stitches.

And the years of grime.

Just a little TLC made an improvement but there is still work to be done.

I have a service manual with beautiful diagrams like this:

Inside the tin were some things that belonged and others that definitely did not.

Umm, a shuttle?

I love her little collapsible table that reveals the free-arm when stowed.

It has a clip on extension.

She’s from the 1960s and I’ve been looking for one ever since someone told me they were “chain-driven, like a motorcycle”.

It’s not exactly a chain but the timing and drive belts are really interesting and unlike anything I’ve seen before. They’re multi-stringed and held together with metal cleats which slot into the grooves in the sprockets, driven by a 30-watt electric motor.

I’ve read it’s very hard to find replacements.

Along with the manual there should have been a double sided stitch dial card that revealed the dial positions for a vast array of embroidery stitches.

I easily found a pdf of the card online, there are 80 stitches in total. On my to-do list sometime I will print it off and make a working copy of it.

While working on this machine I kept thinking, “this must be the heaviest VSM I own by far!” and that got stuck in my head so much so that I decided I’d have to check.

So I got out my highly accurate (not) scales and decided to fat shame all those lumps of metal and the plastic ones too. Here’s how it shook out:

Brother 190: 15kg
Singer 99K-13: 13kg
Apollo HA-1 Generic: 13kg
Pfaff 332-260: 11kg
Bernina 125: 9kg
Singer 348: 9kg
Bernina 1150MDA: 8kg
Janome 1000cpx: 8kg
Elna One: 6.5kg
Elna 2130: 6kg
Singer Featherweight: 5kg
Harriet for reference: 4kg

The Pfaff is not the heaviest, easily beaten by the Brother 190 boot buddie, a half-sized Singer and it’s clone. All the modern machines are in the middle between 6kgs and 8kgs.

And no surprises for the lightest, living up to it’s name.

And because I put something down on the floor and paid close attention to it of course the Sewing Cat wanted to play as well.

It’s no use arguing with a cat.

Meet the rest of my VSM collection here.

More photos of the Pfaff here.

 

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.

The Little Traveler – Bernina 125

The Bernina 125 rode home in the boot with good company. It’s not the longest journey she’s taken…

I knew very little about this machine when I put a $20 bid on it. It looked a little bit like Bernina’s response to the Grasshopper but with zig zag.

I spotted the “Serviced by” sticker in the online photos – Paraparaumu (that’s about a 45 minute drive north of Wellington) and a 5 digit telephone number. These little windows into time always make me smile.

I’ve owned it now two years and sad to say I don’t know much more other than reading somewhere that this model may have been Bernina’s first zig-zag machine.

More investigation is needed.

She runs beautifully and came with LOTS of accessories:

There’s a white button in this photo above. I already owned 6 identical white buttons still attached to their original card.

As well as the accessory tray she also has a slide on extension table.

It has a little set of legs that fold down for stability. You can just see the hinges on the short edge but I discovered those after I took these photos!

The most exciting accessory was the original instruction manual which is all in German.

I found a pdf of the English manual online that is exactly the same inside which helped me translate the guarantee page. If this manual does belong to this machine it was apparently purchased in Buchs (Switzerland?) on the 25th of August 1951.

So, she’s very well traveled!

Some more photos here.

 

It’s the little things…

I picked up a new (old) vintage machine today and boy does it have a story! As well as some beautiful provenance to match it’s beautiful cabinet. I haven’t even really had a chance to look at the actual machine but if the outside is anything to go by…

It’s still in the boot of my car because I need a second person to help me get it upstairs and that will have to wait until tomorrow….which reminded me that I was going to try and catch up on blogging about my (apparently ever expanding) machine collection.

That’s going well isn’t it? 😉

So here’s my lucky find from November 2015 (see, I told you guys I seriously needed to catch up!)

Obviously no vintage sewing machine collection is complete without a Singer Featherweight…actually no vintage sewing machine collection is ever complete…but now my little collection includes one.

They are a little hard to find in New Zealand, even harder to find in Wellington. More often they pop up in Christchurch and Auckland but cost a fortune to send my way due to their weight*. It only recently dawned on me that Fashionable Younger Sister lives in Auckland and so I altered my TradeMe search settings and then coaxed her into being my mule.

Three popped up for sale at the same time so I had my pick of the bunch and I think this was what kept the cost from getting too crazy. I know that sentence doesn’t make much sense if you don’t know what I paid for mine…but let’s just say they can go for in excess of NZD$350, regardless of condition, and I paid a lot less than that for an almost pristine machine complete with accessories, original case (with key!) and original manual.

I liked two out of the three the best. One of these was slightly older – without checking serial numbers the face plate is a good giveaway: In general you’ll find the Egyptian-like scroll work on the older machines. Newer machines have the more basic looking vertical striations. I ended up pursuing the more modern machine because it looked in much better condition.

Early Scroll Pattern v. Later Striated Faceplates from Singer Sewing Info

After I won the auction FYS was the best sister ever and braved a drive into a less-than-desirable suburb to pick it up for me. Don’t worry, she took her new beau with her for protection (I think he’s a keeper, just sayin’). She arrived in Welly for Christmas 2015, carrying it onto the plane as hand luggage in such a way as to make it look light…as a feather.

I picked FYS and the Featherweight up a few days later on my way to pick up my next vintage sewing machine purchase. For a short while (and not for the last time – see April 2016’s yet to be blogged Brother 190 and Pfaff 332-260) my boot contained TWO vintage sewing machines…more on what’s in the other case later…

Like usual I took lots of photos of the featherweight so if you are interested in seeing more you can find them here.

Check out my entire collection on my Weapons of Choice page.

*While the Singer 211 does indeed weight less than many of my other vintage machines, it’s still much heavier than a feather…