computerized pattern sewing machine

Great Exhibition(Part1)-JYL-T1502 Industrial computerized pattern sewing machine for jeans

WHEN William McWilliams, the proprietor of the London-based Sewing Machine and Cycle News, decided to hold what he called the first exhibition of sewing machines in 1887, he immediately ran into trouble in the editorial columns of the rival Sewing Machine Gazette. In its report of the event, the Gazette pulled no punches in deriding its rival’s exhibition.

First, it proved that even its title “first international sewing machine and appliances exhibition” wasn’t even that. It pointed out that a previous proprietor of the Gazette, Mr. Messeni, had conceived the idea of an exhibition in 1881 which was held at the Agricultural Hall in Islington. What’s more, he repeated the event a year later making, in the Gazette’s eyes, it’s rival’s exhibition not the first but the third.

It then pointed out that the 1881 exhibition had had 12 sewing-machine companies exhibiting their wares, whereas the 1887 show had only seven. Even counting the smaller number of exhibitors, there were at the first exhibition 148 and only 62 at the 1887 event.

Asking itself why the event had been a failure the Gazette went on in these terms:

” The sewing-machine exhibition can only appeal to two classes: 1) dealers; 2) the fair sex. The dealers as a trade will not come to see a sewing machine and the public will certainly not pay a shilling to see a collection of them.

“The dealer has travelers calling upon him daily and can see every type of machine in the market without any traveling or hotel expense.

The public need only visit the city and they have within an arm’s reach every class of machine which they can inspect under far more favorable circumstances .”

This third exhibition was held at the Royal Aquarium in London and it can be surmised from the gist of the Gazette’s report that the area had a less-than savory reputation.

“Of all places in the world to hold an exhibition of articles intended for ladies, the Aquarium should be the last.”

To bolster this argument, the Gazette tells of overhearing a conversation on a stand where a gentleman asked that if he were to buy a sewing machine for his wife, could the bill be made out so that she did not know he had bought it at the Aquarium.

sewing machine for luggage hand bag

A Brief History of the Sewing Machine(Part2)-JYL-G3020R-sewing machine for luggage hand bag

He certainly produced the first practical sewing machine, was the first man to offer machines for sale on a commercial basis and ran the first garment factory. For all that, he died in the poor house in 1857.

In America a quaker Walter Hunt invented, in 1833, the first machine which did not try to emulate hand sewing. It made a lock stitch using two spools of thread and incorporated an eye-pointed needle as used today. But again it was unsuccessful for it could only produce short, straight, seams.

Nine years later Hunt’s countryman, John Greenough, produced a working machine in which the needle passed completely through the cloth. Although a model was made and exhibited in the hope of raising capital for its manufacture, there were no takers.

Perhaps all the essentials of a modern machine came together in early 1844 when Englishman John Fisher invented a machine which although designed for the production of lace, was essentially a working sewing machine. Probably because of miss-filing at the patent office, this invention was overlooked during the long legal arguments between Singer and Howe as to the origins of the sewing machine.

Despite a further flurry of minor inventions in the 1840s, most Americans will claim that the sewing machine was invented by Massachusetts farmer Elias Howe who completed his first prototype in 1844 just a short time after Fisher.

A year later it was patented and Howe set about trying to interest the tailoring trade in his invention. He even arranged a competition with his machine set against the finest hand sewers in America. The machine won hands down but the world wasn’t ready for mechanised sewing and, despite months of demonstrations, he had still not made a single sale.

Desperately in debt Howe sent his brother Amasa to England with the machine in the hope that it would receive more interest on the other side of the Atlantic. Amasa could find only one backer, a corset maker William Thomas, who eventually bought the rights to the invention and arranged for Elias to come to London to further develop the machine.

The two did not work well together, each accusing the other of failing to honour agreements and eventually Elias, now almost penniless, returned to America. When he arrived home he found that the sewing machine had finally caught on and that dozens of manufacturers, including Singer, were busy manufacturing machines — all of which contravened the Howe patents.

A long series of law suits followed and were only settled when the big companies, including Wheeler & Wilson and Grover & Baker, joined together, pooled their patents, and fought as a unit to protect their monopoly.

Singer did not invent any notable sewing-machine advances, but he did pioneer the hire-purchase system and aggressive sales tactics.

Both Singer and Howe ended their days as multi-millionaires.

So the argument can go on about just who invented the sewing machine and it is unlikely that there will ever be agreement. What is clear, however, is that without the work of those long-dead pioneers, the dream of mechanised sewing would never have been realised.

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A Brief History of the Sewing Machine(Part1)-JYL-G2516R-Sewing machine for luggage hand bag

Historians of the early days of the sewing machine can argue for hours over the simple matter of who invented what is, in many ways, one of the most important machines ever devised.

The story really starts in 1755 in London when a German immigrant, Charles Weisenthal, took out a patent for a needle to be used for mechanical sewing. There was no mention of a machine to go with it, and another 34 years were to pass before Englishman Thomas Saint invented what is generally considered to be the first real sewing machine.

In 1790 the cabinet maker patented a machine with which an awl made a hole in leather and then allowed a needle to pass through. Critics of Saint’s claim to fame point out that quite possibly Saint only patented an idea and that most likely the machine was never built. It is known that when an attempt was made in the 1880s to produce a machine from Saint’s drawings it would not work without considerable modification.

The story then moves to Germany where, in around 1810, inventor Balthasar Krems developed a machine for sewing caps. No exact dates can be given for the Krems models as no patents were taken out.

An Austrian tailor Josef Madersperger produced a series of machines during the early years of the 19th century and received a patent in 1814. He was still working on the invention in 1839, aided by grants from the Austrian government, but he failed to get all the elements together successfully in one machine and eventually died a pauper. Two more inventions were patented in 1804, one in France to a Thomas Stone and a James Henderson — a machine which attempted to emulate hand sewing — and another to a Scott John Duncan for an embroidery machine using a number of needles. Nothing is known of the fate of either invention.

America’s first real claim to fame came in 1818 when a Vermont churchman John Adams Doge and his partner John Knowles produced a device which, although making a reasonable stitch, could only sew a very short length of material before laborious re-setting up was necessary.

One of the more reasonable claimants for inventor of the sewing machine must be Barthelemy Thimonnier who, in 1830, was granted a patent by the French government. He used a barbed needle for his machine which was built almost entirely of wood. It is said that he originally designed the machine to do embroidery, but then saw its potential as a sewing machine.

Unlike any others who went before him, he was able to convince the authorities of the usefulness of his invention and he was eventually given a contract to build a batch of machines and use them to sew uniforms for the French army. In less than 10 years after the granting of his patent Thimonnier had a factory running with 80 machines, but then ran into trouble from Parisian tailors. They feared that, were his machines successful, they would soon take over from hand sewing, putting the craftsmen tailors out of work.

Late one night a group of tailors stormed the factory, destroying every machine, and causing Thimonnier to flee for his life. With a new partner he started again, produced a vastly- improved machine and looked set to go into full-scale production; but the tailors attacked again. With France in the grip of revolution, Thimonnier could expect little help from the police or army and fled to England with the one machine he was able to salvage.

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American Sewing Machine Patent Models(Part4)-JYL-G2210-jyl brand shoe sewing mahcine your first choice

By 1943, 15,000 models had been catalogued and moved to another site.

Then came fire number three which destroyed all the unpacked machines, leaving only those in the unopened crates.

Perhaps losing heart, Gilbert does little more and in 1949 fire number four starts, leaving him with just 2,000 crates undamaged.

There is a record at this time of 1,000 models being displayed in a “barn museum” in New Hampshire and three years later a new museum opens in an abandoned hospital in New Plymouth, New Hampshire, again with 1,000 models. It is reasonable to conjecture that these are from the earlier “barn” display.

By 1870 Gilbert has despaired of ever getting a museum off the ground and offers to sell the whole shooting match to the Smithsonian. The Institution officers visited Gilbert’s site, take one look at the vast array of unopened, unidentified crates and walk away shaking their heads, leaving the owner resigned to try to sell off the collection piecemeal.

A series of auctions takes place. As each crate is opened a catalogue is produced and a sale announced. I have a couple of these catalogues but have been unable to locate a full set so it is impossible to estimate how many sewing machineswere sold.

Sewing Machine Patent Models from the Maggie Snell Collection
Graham Forsdyke with a selection of patent models from Maggie Snell’s collection which he used to illustrate his lecture

Certainly they feature strongly in the catalogue that I have.

In 1979 Gilbert stuck a deal with patent model collector Cliff Peterssen who bought most, if not all, of the remaining crates. He has sold models ever since — there are no sewing machines left — we got the last one about 12 years ago.

There has recently surfaced a new company selling patent models at American antique shows. The paperwork it distributes is carefully worded to suggest a tie-up with the Smithsonian Institution, although my information is that no such deal exists.

Models are being offered at outrageous prices with an “own a piece of American history” sales pitch.

These models could be remnants from the Gilbert/Peterssen collection or could have been bought piecemeal over the past few years.

Whatever the case, the whole history of American patent models is a sad, sad story of government neglect.

America is not alone in doing too little too late to preserve its heritage.

A similar lack of foresight saw the selling off for peanuts of much of the British Patent Office library as late as the 1950s. Manchester Patent office disposed of a lot of archive material a couple of years ago, though we managed to rescue a long run of sewing-machine patents for the GF archive.

Other countries probably have similar ghosts in their cupboards, too.

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American Sewing Machine Patent Models(Part3)-JYL-G1510 shoe sewing machine your first choice

The remaining models were offered for sale, but interest was low. P T Barnum bought some for a proposed museum in Manhattan and a few went to regional museums. This only reduced the number by 2,000 and Government funds appreciated by less than $65.

The rest, poorly packed and protected, began a sad tour of various storage sites. For a time they rested in the cellars of the House of Representatives, stopped off for a few years in a deserted section of the District of Columbia Workhouse, and finally came to rest in an abandoned livery stable where they rotted away until 1925.

That year, following a series of embarrassing questions in Congress, another attempt was made to find a buyer.

Up stepped Sir Henry Wellcome, the English drug baron, who bought the entire collection — for an undisclosed sum — with the intention of opening a museum. The models were moved to a company warehouse in Tuckahoe, Wyoming.

Wellcome, a great philanthropist, first offered the Smithsonian the chance to take anything from the collection.

The Proof Is In The Label

WITH THE various dispersals of patent models over the years, it’s not surprising that there are still quite a few around.

On a recent three-week trip to the USA I saw over 20 authenticated models for sale at various antique outlets.

I say authenticated because this is vitally important. American antique dealers have a “system” for describing mechanical antiques. It goes something like this:

1. If it’s small, it’s a “tradesman’s sample”.
2. If it’s broken, it’s a “primitive”.
3. If it’s incomplete it’s a “prototype”.
4. If it’s small, broken and incomplete, it’s a “patent model”.

There is only one authentication for a true patent model and that is the original pink-ribboned tag that was affixed to it when the invention was accepted in the Patent Office.

Lack of such a label means, at best, that the model might be from the original patent collection.

Sure, a lot of labels went missing over the years and, when Gilbert and Peterssen sold such models, they included authentication notes that the item had come from the Patent Office collection.

Better than nothing, but not the real thing.

Fortunately, the head of textiles at the Smithsonian at the time was Frederick Lewton, a man greatly into the history of the sewing machine. He pulls out 700 machines but many remained for records of what is in which crate have in some cases disappeared. Again heirs of inventors are given the chance to claim models.

Wellcome died in 1936, his dream of a museum unrealised and his trustees offer the models for sale yet again. They are bought by a syndicate fronted by Broadway producer Crosby Gaige who aims to display them in the Rockefeller Center in New York.

He does show a small number but also sells of 700 to the organisers of the New York World’s Fair. Another 900 are bought by the University of Texas. The World’s Fair models are eventually re-sold to a Tuncliffe Fox who donated them to the Hagley Foundation in Wilmington, Delaware, where they remain today.

In 1940 Gaige sells out to a group of entrepreneurs calling itself “American Patent Models, Inc.” A complete floor of a skyscraper office building is rented and the long job of unpacking the models begun.

Various models go on display at department stores as a teaser for the museum that the syndicate is planning to open in New York City.

Laudable though the intention might be, the group runs short of funds and pressured by the skyscraper owners for rent, moved the collection to the Neptune Storage Company in New Rochelle. Problem was that there wasn’t enough money for this either and in 1941 the group is declared bankrupt.

At the public sale a Garrison, New York, auctioneer O Rundle Gilbert went for broke and bought the entire collection virtually sight unseen for by now most crates were unmarked and many records had been lost.

Gilbert paid $2,000 — sounds cheap even by 1941 standards until you add in the $11,000 storage charge owed to Neptune that came with the deal.

The big unpacking job started but soon Gilbert realised the enormity of the task and decided to sell off the first few hundred out of the crates to help pay for cataloguing those that remain. The models were sold at an auction organised by the Architectural League of New York.

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American Sewing Machine Patent Models(Part2)-JYL-CF6080-Punching & Sewing all in one machine

So the system of models survived until 1870 when the requirement was removed. But that’s all that happened. The revised law simply said that models were no longer required but inventors, well aware that models were displayed, still sent them with patent applications.

By 1888 the loophole was plugged. No more patent models were to be provided except in two particular cases.

A Willcox and Gibbs Patent Model Sewing Machine
Some patent models were simply machines taken straight from the assembly line. This Willcox and Gibbs machine was used by James Gibbs in 1858 to show improvements in his 1857 patent

Until 1903, when the Wright Brothers got off the ground, models were required for flying machines and even today if you want to patent a perpetual-motion machine, American government officials will want to see a working model first.

So here we had, during the most prolific part of the industrial revolution, tens of thousands of models flowing into the American Patent Office, providing a unique record of invention and achievement.

The official sources in the USA are more than a little coy about what happened to this model archive. If you write to the Patent Office you are fobbed off with a letter which talks about “dispersal to museums”, etc.

The facts are very different and a terrible indictment of the Patent Office and its oh-so-casual approach to the world’s greatest technical archive.

When, on 10 April 1790, the Patent Office was set up in Washington DC, models were stored by inventors’ names as no system of numerical cataloguing had been standardised.

For 20 years the models flowed in to such an extent that storing them was becoming a problem. Congress was approached for funds and agreed to buy Blodgets Hotel, a former music hall in Washington to provide a store and display area.

Maclean and Hooper Centennial Sewing Machine from 1876
Two models from the Maggie Snell Collection, London. The Maclean and Hooper Centennial dates from 1876 — the treadle model has yet to be researched

It immediately became a tourist attraction and, in good US style, opened all day on Sundays and late into the evenings so that the public could see first hand the inventiveness of the American people. British museums please take note.

The first threat to the models came in 1814 when the British were busy burning, sacking, pillaging and whatever else, in Washington. Most civic leaders had fled but not so William Thornton, superintendent of the Patent Office. He stayed and met the British troupes on the steps of the Blodget Hotel. Thornton successfully demanded to see the British commander and launched into a speech in which he likened the proposed burning of the building to the destruction of the library at Alexandria.

Over the top or not, it worked and Blodgets was left standing while all around it other government buildings burned.

In 1836 a new system of numbering was devised and a new, purpose-built home for the models is agreed, but before ground could be broken for the building, Blodgets burnt to the ground destroying every model produced to that date.

The new building was to house 10,000 models which was considered ample for the foreseeable future, but by the time it was completed four years later, rather like the British Library — although that still isn’t finished — it was already too small for the job.

During the next 30 years the situation got completely out of hand. models were stored on window ledges, stairways and corridors.

In 1877 the situation was eased somewhat by fire number two which destroyed a third of the models but they were still coming in quicker than they could be burnt and only the new law of 1888 stemmed the flood.

With no new models expected the Patent Office had simply to deal with the problem of how to deal with the ones it had.

Models which survived the blaze were moved into storage at the Union building and in 1908 certain institutions and inventors’ heirs were allowed to pick over them. The Smithsonian grabbed a few as did the Edison Company, but only 1,000 were disposed of in this way. Some of those picked out by Edison can still be seen today at the Deerborn Museum, Detroit, USA.

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American Sewing Machine Patent Models(Part1)–JYL-DF6050-Nailing & Sewing all in one machine

AMERICAN patent law was, before 1790, based on previous English law but with the 1776 war of Independence sweeping away ties with the previous administration, many new regulations were brought out including new patent legislation which required a model to be submitted with every application.

The reasoning behind this was simple, and difficult to fault.

Grover and Baker Patent Model Sewing Machine
Perhaps the most famous patent model of them all –the machine submitted by Elias Howe in 1846

Before 1790 patents were granted at local legal offices where the officials had little or no engineering background. Rather like asking your local driving licence centre to check over an improvement in the electronic-engine management system on a Ferrari.

Clerks in these offices, whilst not able to read an engineering drawing, could be expected to understand a model. A model could also be used to demonstrate to officials that an idea actually worked.

Some American states had a model requirement before 1790 but it was not until that year that it became an America-wide law.

Grover and Baker 1851 Patent Model Sewing Machine
The Grover & Baker patent of 1851was supported by this model which shows little resemblance to the eventual machine

For three years the new system worked well. Patent applications were checked for merit and originality but such investigation took far too long, with non-experts being called upon to do the research and in 1793 the act was repealed.

From that date patents were simply granted following the application with no checks made at all. The idea was that the courts could be relied upon to settle any disputes between various inventors.

This decision made models even more important. Now judges and juries would have to compare various claims – so much easier for the layman with a three-dimensional model rather than a confusing set of drawings.

But, of course, this led to further complications. With no expert checking of patent applications, the court cases threw up the poor standard of some patent descriptions. In fact, some were so badly and inaccurately worded that technical experts had to be called in to re-write them with only the actual model as a reference.

By 1833 this system of wholesale acceptance was causing big problems — too many hair-brained and crackpot ideas were being promoted and the worthlessness of a patent wasn’t appreciated by the public who were led to believe that the granting of a US patent was a recommendation of the product by the American government.

Even the system of deciding a patent’s validity by the Courts was turning into a joke. Should a patentee not like the decision in a court he would simply take the matter up in another state and keep trying until he got a satisfactory result.

In 1836 the legislature finally got its act together and changed the law so that every application would in future go before a team of experts who would grant patents solely on merit.

These teams, with knowledge of industry and engineering, could cope with working drawings and serious consideration was given to abandoning the model requirement. But it was argued that models would still provide a “fast-filing system” for the administrators and a facility for the public and wannabe inventors to check what had been achieved before.

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5 Most Frustrating Sewing Machine Problems-JYL-DF6050,Computerized pattern sewing machine,for your private custom service

I think it has happened to all of us at one time or another. You are right in the middle of a big sewing project and then your best sewing machine begins to act up. It might pop a bobbin, or the thread begins to not look right. And this usually happens at the most difficult or critical stitch. It just seems like your machine has turned against you and you will never get the project finished.

Sewing machine problems can be really frustrating. Especially when you feel like you have done everything right. You have maintained your machine the proper way and you have been following all the best practices. Yet it still happens. Regardless of preparation, skill level or attention to detail.

Even though you can’t really prevent every single unfortunate glitch that happens while you are sewing, you can take steps to correct them when they do happen. Today, I am going to cover some of the biggest and most frustrating problems that may arise with your machine and give you some quick fixes to correct them. Hopefully, this will save you at least some aggravation.

#1: Thread Problems

Sometimes you are just going along and your threading doesn’t look right. The stitches are too loose or too tight, or there is some other problem going on. In these instances, you might have a tension problem and need to re-thread the machine.

#2: Check The Bobbin

If re-threading the machine doesn’t work, then you might want to check your bobbin. A bobbin that is too tight or too loose can cause a myriad of different problems.

#3: Check The Machine’s Hygiene

If the above two steps doesn’t correct the problem, then your machine might be a bit dirty. Yes, I know. You thought you have been keeping up on minor maintenance, but sometimes due to the amount of work you have been doing on the machine it gets a little dirtier than usual and you need to clean it up a bit.

#4: Do You Have A Broken Part?

Okay, you have re-threading your machine, checked the bobbin and cleaned your sewing machine, but it still isn’t working correctly. If that is the case, then you might want to check for broken parts such as a broken bobbin or a bent needle.

#5: Am I Using The Wrong Thread Or Needle?

Sometimes the problem with your machine is that you are using the type of thread or needle. Always be sure that you are using the right needle and thread for the material and the project you are working on to avoid these problems. You should also check that you aren’t using two different types of thread. One time I was working on a project and started having problems, so I checked the thread and realized that the spool and the bobbin had different types of thread.

Check these five points and see if they are causing your frustration. Whenever I see complaints in sewing machine reviews about a particular machine, it is usually one of the five points that is causing the problem. Correcting them can really save you a lot of peace of mind.

JYL-G3020R1

Buying Fabric For Your Sewing Machine-JYL-G3020R Computerized pattern sewing machine,for your private custom service

You have researched and bought the best sewing machine. You have assembled all of the tools you need and have learned some techniques. Now all you have to do is sit down and sew. Then all of a sudden it hits you. You have spent all of this time buying the right machine, the right thread and the best thread, but you know little to nothing about what type of fabric to use.

To make things even worse, If you walk into a fabric store without any knowledge about fabric, then it can be an overwhelming experience. You are faced with rows and rows of different types of material. And usually the sales person in charge has as little information to offer you on the subject. This can turn what you thought would be a pleasant day buying fabric into some sort of a nightmare. That’s alright because I am going to give you a quick and dirty guide to buying fabric. Here are the basics of what you need to know about fabric.

Okay, let’s start with the basics. When you walk into a fabric store, all of the different fabrics are arranged in bolts. Bolts is a term for fabric that is either rolled or folded. These bolts are then arranged according to the type of fabric they have. Craft fabric is usually in one part of the store and household fabric is in another part. Don’t worry, these areas are usually adequately marked so you can find what you need to find quickly and easily.

There is one quick note I need to add about fabric stores really quickly however, before we move on. Please keep in mind that not all fabric stores offer a general selection of merchandise. Some stores specialize in specific fabric types. Just something to think about while you are choosing a store.

Some of the fabrics you are likely to find in the store include:

Cotton: This fabric will usually shrink when washed, so be sure to buy cotton that has been pre-washed. This material is good for aprons and other household projects.

Canvas And Denim: These materials are not only heavier than cottons, but are also a lot sturdier. These are great for projects that need a higher level of durability such as totes or items that are going to be used outside.

Flannel: This material is most often used for things such as pajamas or baby clothing. It is soft and comfortable, but be advised that it will usually shrink after it’s washed the first few times.

Jersey Knits: This material is like T-shirt material. It is often used for various apparel items. Just keep in mind that since this material stretches, it might be harder to sew.

This isn’t an exhaustive list but it does cover the basics. I do have one last tip before I go, however. Before committing to buying fabric, be sure to read sewing machine reviews to see which machine works best with each material.

JYL-G2010

Sewing Hacks-Part Two- JYL-G2010-Computerized pattern sewing machine,Your Ultimate choice!

In my last article on the best sewing machine hacks, I gave you some advice that would help you get started on those projects you have avoided doing on your sewing machine. Now I am going to give you some of the best sewing hacks. There are some that can be used while you are using your machine, but most of these hacks are for those of you who have to sew by hand.

Pin And Needle Order

Do you spend a lot of time trying to keep track of all your pins and needles? If you do, then I have a simple trick for you. Just toss a little magnet into a bowl and when you are done with your pins, then just toss them into the bowl too. The magnet will keep them all together and ready for work.

Keeping Track Of Your Scissors

Want an easy way to keep your scissors handy all of the time? Then simply tie a cord to them and wear them around your neck. That way, your scissors are with you whether you are at your machine or heading off to trace a pattern.

Using Oversized Spools

Is your thread spool to big to fit into your machine? Well, then take it and place it in a coffee cup located next to your sewing machine.

Cutting Patterns Without Tape Or Pins

This trick is really simple and will save you loads of time. Instead of using pins or weights to hold down your pattern while you are cutting it, then use freezer paper. The freezer paper will stick to the fabric and you can easily cut it.

Sharpening Dull Scissors

Don’t want to mess with a scissor sharpener? Well, now you don’t have to. Just use them to cut sand paper of aluminum foil. After a few cuts they will be very, very sharp.

Easily Threading Needles

If you have problems threading your needle, then here is a trick you might want to try. Spray the end of the thread with hairspray. This will stiffen it up and allow it to easily pass through the needle’s eye.

Keeping Pins Sharp

Most people simply toss out there pins when they begin to dull. I don’t though. Instead, I use a piece of steel wool as my pin cushion. It keeps them nice and sharp—and as an added bonus—keeps them shiny as well. Try it and you’ll be amazed.

This concludes my list of some of the best sewing hacks I have found. As usual, most of these hacks were gathered together from sewing machine reviews, but some of them were also passed down to me by my mother and grandmother. Hopefully, they are tricks that you will not only use on a daily basis but ones that will improve the efficiency of your sewing time.