One of the items on my holiday to-do list was to acquire a sewing machine and get down with my stitchy self.

I, of course, forgot how crafty my in-laws are and was told in no uncertain terms that I Should Not Purchase A Sewing Machine, Here Borrow Ours For A Really Long Time.

The first I’ve adopted is my finance’s sister-in-law’s grandmother’s 1957 Lemair Helvetia. Also known as Buela the Beast:

It’s similar to mum’s old machine I used to use when I was little – I think it’s referred to as a zig-zag external front loader. Also, it’s heavier than a semi trailer.

Courtesy of teh interwebs, I found someone had scanned in an old manual – sticky tape and all – so I was able to suss out the basics with threading and whatnot.

I’ve been down to Spotlight to get some basics like calico so I could have a practice run. The machine runs beautifully, though I’m struggling to find a nice, slow speed so I can try to keep on the straight and narrow.

Now to decide what to make!

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13 thoughts on “Meet Buela the Sewing Beast

  1. Maybe you’ll inspire me to actually use my machine that’s been sitting unused for years
    .-= Fiona´s last blog ..Chrissy Keeps Coming =-.

    Posted on 5 January 2010 at 10:55 am
  2. so exciting!!
    my aim for the year is to do one creative thing each day. whether it’s a blog post, a photo, sew something or make a freaking pom pom on the couch.
    here’s hoping.
    can’t wait to see your creations! i got one for my 19th birthday and never looked back. i love the look of yours :)

    Posted on 5 January 2010 at 4:33 pm
  3. Beautiful, Buela!

    I would love to learn how to sew. Maybe one day.

    In the meantime, I adore your photos!
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..An open letter to The Universe =-.

    Posted on 6 January 2010 at 11:20 am
  4. What a great looking machine!
    .-= Erika Mulvenna´s last blog ..A New Bag for the New Year! =-.

    Posted on 9 January 2010 at 2:39 pm
  5. I have that same machine!!! Exact same machine, right down to the Model 460 Super Flairmatic ! :)
    I bought it for $30 second hand! No Manual though… I still haven’t worked out how to use the different decorative stitch knobs.

    Posted on 25 June 2010 at 11:52 pm
  6. Hi! I just picked up a Lemair sewing machine too but cannot for the life of me, find this scanned manual you speak of! Could you help me out, please??! I’ve got a picture of the Lemair I’ve got on my blog. Thanks so much!!!!

    Posted on 9 August 2010 at 1:00 am
  7. Hey Diane, it took some remembering, but finally found where I downloaded the old scan!

    It’s here:

    Good luck! Buela’s a beauty :))

    Posted on 9 August 2010 at 10:04 pm
  8. Thanks soooo much!!! :D

    Posted on 10 August 2010 at 2:46 pm
  9. Thanks for the scan link- I’ve got my mum’s (exact same model) and used it for the first time today. Straight? whats’s that?

    Posted on 26 September 2010 at 8:49 pm
  10. Jaw is on the floor at the fabulous photos of the old machines… this brought back some memories of my great-aunt’s 1920 table model that I always wanted to play with as a kid!
    and God Bless the Interwebs. At no other point in history would there have been the slimmest chance of finding that manual!

    Posted on 27 November 2010 at 1:54 am
  11. Hi there, thank you sooooo much for providing this manual. I just bought this machine at a garage sale and it works beautifully and I didn’t know how to thread the machine. You are a gem!!!

    Posted on 21 December 2011 at 12:49 pm
  12. hi there!
    I just recently bought my friend this machine for her to start out on. The only thing it didnt come with a manual. Would there be any chance that you could email it to me???

    Posted on 9 June 2012 at 8:16 am