Vintage Sewing Machine: Brother Festival 451

Look what came home with me yesterday!

010Quick, give me some air – I’m hyperventilating!

009Isn’t she pretty?  Squeeeee!!!!!

012This is a vintage Brother Festival 451 in watermelon pink. I haven’t been able to get the machine out of it’s cabinet to find the serial number yet, but I Googled it and here’s what I found on ehow:

The vintage Brother Festival 451 sewing machine was a colorful basic machine produced in the 1950s and 60s. It was meant for the modern sewer and boasted bright exterior finishes that ranged from a tan to a bright pink. Beneath the mod coloring, the machine’s metal shuttle hook and motor system was built to last. If you are lucky enough to find a workable one at a garage sale or flea market, buy it knowing the machine is still capable of proving itself a workshorse for everyday sewing tasks.

Here’s her backside (oh, she’s blushing…isn’t that cute!)

011She runs like a dream. All metal parts (of course). She smells like oil and ozone when running, so I’m guessing that maybe she’s from the earlier run off the production line rather than the later? (I’ll let you know as soon as I uncover her serial number). I paid $50 at the thrift store, and she came fully serviced.

018She also came with attachments. Hold your breath…


027Now, what the heck is this? Does anybody know? Is it a walking foot, maybe?

022It looks like a funky steam-punk attachment!

023And can someone tell me what this foot with the double rollers is for?

024You zigzag by setting these pins to the length of the zigzag you want. Cool!

037She has a dual plug…one for the light and one for the motor.

030And a good heavy metal foot pedal (I adore my new Janome, but I have to admit that the lightweight plastic foot pedal is a pain in the rear – give me an old fashioned heavy pedal like this one, please!)

031The bobbin case is a bit awkward to access. Okay. REAL awkward to access. It’s waaaay in there.

032She is already best friends with my Janome 2030QDC. In fact, they are almost twins! They both do exactly the same stitches.

Exactly. The. Same.

Except the Brother is mechanical and the Janome is electronic. And the Janome even has a pink face! 🙂

029The vintage Sister (I know, I know…it’s a Brother. But doesn’t “sister” sound nicer?) will need a cabinet. Either that or it will live in it’s travel case. It doesn’t free -stand.

So that’s how I spent the last of my May allowance.  I’m totally broke but totally happy. Whoop whoop!

008oh…and dear previous owner, please know that I love your darling like mad and will take very good care of her, just like you did. ♥


  1. I got a 461 from the family of a friend that passed away in my senior apartment building. The downside to these machines is that they have plastic gears which break. The camstack gear on mine was in 5 pieces in the bottom of the machine and unfortunately is not worth fixing.

  2. Hello, I am working on one of these machines for my granddaughter. I am having a little bit of trouble with it, but it is so pretty we keep trying. Did you get a manual with your machine? I would really like a copy of the manual.

  3. This is not a 451, machine says 461 on it. Not much difference that I can tell from the 471 either.

    1. I agree it is a 461 model.Mine is identical except the color is brown and tangerine.I was lucky enough to ger the floral pattetn hard case with mine.No manual .I also have only 1 bobbln and just the zig zig zag foot.I’m satisfied with my machine.She sews like a sream!!

  4. Nita,
    A friend bought me this sewing machine (my first one that I’ve personally owned!) I do love it and I’ve figured out how to thread the bobbin and the upper thread but the upper thread keeps on breaking:( I’m trying to figure out how to fix the tension, but I can’t seem to figure it out!! In one project, my thread broke over a dozen times… was just a burp cloth that I was trying to sew!! Does your manual say anything about it??? I tried to find manuals online but they’re so expensive! Help a sister out please!!

    1. I have one of these machines that I inherited from my mother when she passed away 12 years ago. She made a lot of my clothes & Halloween costumes with it (I’m 70 now). I also learned to sew on it. It still works but I’ve really only been using it for repairs & alterations. I just retired earlier this year & I wanted to get back into sewing again, so I bought a new machine with a self threading needle (at 70 it gets pretty hard to see that hole–haha) and a few other bells & whistles. I just don’t have room for both so I’m looking for a new home for it. Mine has a full cabinet with built in chair & sewing pedal mounted inside the cabinet at right knee level. It has all the accessories in that box. The color is brown with an orange emblem & the cabinet is either oak or maple. In very good condition. If anyone is interested I can send you pictures. I was thinking around $300 OBO.

        1. HI. I have a festival 451, bought it from someone maybe 15 years ago–Hardly used and
          trying now to resurrect it. I am abroad, so wondering if there is any possibility for your scanning the manual for me, or parts of it?

  5. Hi! I found mine at a flea market. Got it for 17 dollars. I’m extatic! Anyway the machine separates from the bottom case. There you can easily access the bobbin case. It took a nice hard tug to separate the two but it snaps right back into the bottom case once your done cleaning the bobbin case. Just thought I’d share. Enjoy!

  6. Well hi Nina
    I found me one the other day I played $20 bucks. It didn’t come with the manual or attachments.
    But I’m smiling from ear to ear. Sewing on it now

    1. Can you please tell me how to thread it? I just bought one at an estate sale with no manual. Thank you.

  7. I have one just about Identical I’m trying to thread it does your manual tell how to thread it ??? Thanks

  8. Hi Nita, I got my 471 and the desk console (I call her my pink lady) for my 2nd wedding anniversary in 1973. Still love her and still my only sewing machine ❤️. Maybe because I’ve had her for 40+ years, I have no issues with changing the bobbin, I simply tilt the machine back and access the bobbin from the bottom.

  9. Thank you for this post!!! A Brother Festival 451 followed me home today! It’s in a small, compact cabinet with the bench inside it. It’s so pretty!!

  10. I bought a Brother Festival 431, at an auction for less than $5.00 a few years ago. It’s a nice, simple machine for the basic sewing that I do. And someday, my daughter will finally agree to let me show her some sewing basics!

  11. Hi Nita, I am glad I stumbled on your page.. I have a brother sewing machine that my mom has used to stitch our frocks when we were young! So that is like 25+ years back. I have been using it without much maintenance and I managed to stitch some basic stuff. I have not been using it regularly. I took out today and the machine is not running…I tried to oil and it has fully stopped working now 🙁 I tried to do google search but I cannot even find the same model that I have. On the machine it says Pacesetter and at the back on the motor it says Model F. Any idea where I can find more information about this?

  12. Hy. I’m so happy to find your post becouse I recently got one too.I just can’t tread properly.Can you help?? I couldn’t find any video …

  13. If you ever decide to sell yours let me know! I left my precious girl at my parents house when I went to grad school and it mysteriously disappeared (I believe to Goodwill)…have been trying to find a replacement ever since. I love that color, dont you? Just wonderful.

  14. That is the same model my mother taught me to sew on and made all our clothes when I was a kid, right down to the green plastic box held together will elastic. It was housed in the desk console (model A) cabinet, slightly rickety, with the pedal mounted to the inside for using your knee instead of your foot…. Wave of nostalgia right now! Made my first quilt with it, too. Sigh.

    Mum didn’t have all those feet though… I think Wendy Jane has it right about their uses. Enjoy the machine, and know that the bobbin can be a tricky thing even when you have easy access to the case. 🙂

  15. Hi Nita yes you have a ruffles foot, the roller foot helps with leather, Teflon, plastic etc. you hav a quilt guide and zipper foot, cannot make them all out.
    If I was you, and I wish I were, lovely machine, BTW, I would take it out of the base and leave it freestanding.
    For one it will look even more beautiful, and for two, it will be way easier to access the bobbin case.
    Enjoy I am soooo envious

  16. Like everyone else has said, the big foot is a ruffler. The roller foot is called a roller foot (!) and is for knits and other fabrics that would benefit from the use of a walking foot today.

  17. wow what a find and in 50’s ‘salmon’ as well! pretty sure the foot with the rollers is for keeping the heavier fabrics in place as suggested above. Looks like she was very well looked after. Everything green green here – garden and flowers in….happy days.

  18. I think that foot is a ruffler too and i am wondering if the roller one is forstitching something slippery but I have no real idea. I will forward your post to my friend Wendy as they repair and renovate vintage machines. What a find.

  19. The steampunk thing is a ruffled, the number determines the fullness of the ruffle. The foot with rollers is for use with leather or vinyl, in the days before Teflon.

  20. Nita! You hit the motherlode with this machine! It looks pristine! The first attachment you asked about is a ruffler. The second one with the roller foot is (I think) one that is supposed to keep bulky layers even, like when you are attaching binding or sewing with heavier fabrics like corduroy. I could be wrong about that, so hopefully one of your other followers will chime in. Have fun!

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