Cutting & Sewing Bottleneck Openers

The biggest single difference between now and thirty years ago when I started supplying SewBiz products is not what we sell but who is buying. Back then all over the country there were still literally millions of folks whose first – and maybe their lifelong – job was in the local sewing factory, whether it was making overalls, jeans, t shirts, dresses, lingerie, living room furniture, auto upholstery, or who knows what. Those folks knew more about what we were selling that we did. Well, we haven’t gotten any smarter, but nowadays so many of you who find yourselves somehow making a sewn product are more likely to have stumbled into it without the benefit of the experience that those local factories provided. So now we seem smarter because we know about products you might not even have suspected exist. But trust me, we’re still pretty much the same dumb clucks as when we started. Nevertheless, we’re happy to share a few glints of wisdom about sewing aids that might make your life easier.

1. If there is sewing crack, it is silicone spray. If you don’t want to have to keep buying silicone spray, don’t ever buy the first can. You just don’t realize how hard you work at a sewing machine table until you spray some silicone on its surface and see how much easier it makes moving your work through the needle. The formulas we sell – whether SouthStar Jumbo Silicone Spray as pictured above or Sprayway #946 Silicone Spray – are colorless and dry so they won’t stain your fabric, and odorless. The Sprayway brand we stock, by the way, is certified safe for use on or around sewn products that might come into contact with food.  The SouthStar brand comes with free straws for directed spraying. The formulas are different but we can’t tell you how, some customers like one better than the other, but it seems to be like chocolate and vanilla, a matter of taste more than function. We sell lots of both.

2. Work on a good surface. Starting out, many folks do their cutting on the dining room table. Once they’ve ruined that table and it’s too small anyway, they decide the cheapest quickest fix is to go to Lowes and get some plywood and 2X4’s and build a nice big surface that is soon warped, dinged, and has a big crack between plywood sheets that catches your cutter and knotholes that make your straight lines curved. If you are going to move on with your business, eventually you need to bite the bullet and invest in a good, firm cutting table. I am happy to report that the best ones in the world are made right here in the U.S.A., right here in Tennessee in fact, and we’ve got the inside track on them. For all the steel and nice wood laminate you get, they really don’t cost much; the biggest hurdle is shipping, because they have to come by truck, and then you need wrenches and pliers and hours to assemble the many nuts and bolts that hold them together. The smaller sizes are called workshop tables and the larger ones, which can be any length you want in 4’ increments, are called cutting tables. Click on either one of those links to see popular sizes and prices, but they can be ordered to fit any space or need.

3. Cutting & sewing are pains in the back, and the wrists. Once you have things really going in your business, you or somebody has actually got to cut and sew all that stuff, and that is when the pain begins. For one thing, whether sewing or cutting, you are bending over a work surface, and that means stress on your lower back. For another, you are repeatedly working your wrists in ways they’re not used to, which in the worst case can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Many years ago an Aussie gent came up to me at a trade show and offered me a product that was being used by the Australian pro football league (yes, they do have one, and knowing those blokes I bet they’re as tough as our guys, and party harder). The products – a back wrap and a wrist wrap – were hits with our customers right away. In fact, here is a bona fide testimonial we got many years ago: “Your new product has worked wonders. Production is up among the sewers who wear them. They have all thanked me repeatedly for providing this product to them.” I wear one of the back wraps myself at times and can attest, it works. They are more expensive than the similar things you see in Walgreens, but try them and you will see the quality is far better.

This post is getting too long so I will have to continue it another time. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a great deal: Use coupon code TWEEZER online in checkout when ordering our #TWE6 stainless steel 6” bent, serrated grip sewing tweezer with alignment pin and save 20% at any pricing level! Click here to get to the TWE6. This coupon expires June 30.


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