I see many students who come to me because they’re having difficulties using a sewing machine and quite often the issues are very easily resolved. Sometimes the problems start the moment they sit at the machine so here’s a few quick tips to make sure your sewing session is successful, and isn’t damaging your health. Here are my 5 top tips for happy, and healthy, sewing.
1.Firstly, you should sit at the machine as if it’s a computer or your work desk. Make sure you have a solid surface at normal desk height, on which to place your machine, and the machine is close to the edge of the table.
2. Ensure your chair is also the correct height so your lower arms are extended straight out or slightly downwards from your elbows. Sit comfortably on the full seat
Correct Sewing Positionof the chair; I see too many people perching on the edge or twisting slightly! This is not good for your back, shoulders or neck and you’ll not have full control over the machine. Sit close to the table so you’re not leaning in and have the foot pedal on the floor just in front of the chair so your foot is underneath your knee, and you don’t have to stretch out to reach it. Again, this will give you better foot control.
3. Make sure you have good light. The bulbs in most sewing machines are not always bright enough so if you can’t sew in good daylight, then have a separate desk lamp directed on your working area but not aimed into your face or so it’s causing reflections. And if you’d normally need spectacles for reading, then you probably should be wearing them for sewing too!
4. Next, and it seems strange to have to say this: RELAX! Shoulders should be ‘soft’, not clenched up to your ears! Sewing should be fun, not an ordeal, so if you’re tensing up then your sewing will suffer. A long session in the wrong position will leave you with back, neck or shoulder pain, and is hardly going to make you want to repeat the experience.
5. Take regular breaks. Get up from the chair, walk around, and roll your shoulders. It’s too easy to get engrossed and be sitting in the same position for hours! Your machine needs regular breaks too so while you go to make a cup of tea, remember to switch it off.