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.

Nobody puts Ami in a box…

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. 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.

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I really need to catch up on introducing all my sewing machine acquisitions from the last little while (read: two years!) and that’s a good blogging goal for 2017. I promise not to bombard you with machine post after machine post, I’ll mix them in with sewing posts.

You can see them all here and while some of them come with a simple story many of them deserve full posts.

Today I’m jumping ahead to show you my most recent purchase: Ami, a handheld battery operated “freearm” sewing machine.

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Some of you would have seen the video of her on Instagram already.

I found this little sweetie where I find most of my vintage machines…TradeMe. She was only $15.00 and I’d never seen anything like it. While one potential buyer was busy asking if it would hem jeans I just hit the “buy now” button 😉

You snooze, you lose.

img_1603Here it is with my Elna 2130 for scale. It was made in Japan and I have no idea how old it is. At this stage I couldn’t even take a guess…but feel free to suggest away in the comments!

She runs on two ‘C’ sized batteries and with no bobbin she sews a tidy chain stitch. There is an on/off switch on top and the little dial at the front right is the hand wheel (thumb wheel?). After switching it on this helps it get started and speeds up the stitching too.

img_1607Top: Top stitch
Bottom: Chain stitch (underside)

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The little extension table slides and clips on and after I made my little video I discovered the wind out foot underneath the needle plate that adds more stability.

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It came in the original box, for which the seller apologised profusely for the damaged lid, and original instructions. It’s nice to have the box but let’s get real, she isn’t going to be living in there 🙂

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But speaking of the box, on the outside it looks like Ami also came in a dark colour scheme.

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It sits nicely on the table but according to the name you can operate it while being held in the hand, hence the ergonomic grip shaping under the arm.

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I’m not convinced but I still love her. And that’s my little Ami handheld battery operated “freearm” sewing machine.

Have you seen an Ami sewing machine before?

If you’d like to see some more photos check out the overflow page here.

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