In Recognition of National Sewing Month –
Your workspace can be a place for a vacation from the cares and worries of your life. It may be a place to be comforted, warmed and soothed; a place to dream your own dreams; a place to create that gives you tangible form to those dreams. It can be a place for healing your body, your mind, and your soul. A well-designed workspace will provide you:
~ A lessened chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome
~ Increased enjoyment of sewing
~ Decreased errors
~ A productivity increase of 25% every year
In order to be sure the health of your body, mind, and soul improves while you work:
~ Make sure you have adequate lighting
~ Place all of your equipment in your sewing room at the correct height for your body
Your work surface should be four inches below the height of your bent elbow. One way to obtain a worktable that is right for you is to buy a folding “cafeteria” table at an office supply store. These cost about $30.00. Boost the table to the proper height with lengths of white PVC pipe or coffee cans.
Most sewing machine tables are several inches too high for good forearm and wrist health. When you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your knees and elbows are bent at 90 degree angles, your fingertips should rest lightly on the throat plate of your machine.
A simple calculation will help you find the correct height for your ironing board. Measure the height that will allow your elbow to be bent at a 90 degree angle while you iron. Subtract 4″ from that. This will be the correct height for your ironing board. Keep a footstool, six to nine inches high, near your ironing board. Put your left foot on it when you stand to iron. Flexing your hip in this way prevents swayback and forestalls back strain.
If you spend more than one hour a week on sewing, you must invest in seating that fits you perfectly. Your sewing chair should allow your feet to rest flat on the floor and have an adjustable backrest to support your lumbar spine.
Long-Arm Quilting Machines
Adjust the height of your machine so you can keep your elbows bent at 90 degree angles when you grasp the handles. Keep your back and neck straight while you work.
Good lighting is always a better solution than a stronger eyeglass prescription. Provide bright, glare-free light at each of your workstations.
Keep heavy equipment such as your sewing machine or serger stored close at hand so you do not have to lift them while they are at an arm’s length. Lightweight tools, such as your rotary cutter, ruler, etc. can be stored farther away.
Author: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Ohio State University Extension. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: Liz Smith, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension and Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension.
RX for Quilters Stitcher-Friendly Advice for Every Body, by Susan Delaney Mech, M.D., C & T Publishing, Lafayette, California, 2000.
Setting Up Your Sewing Space, Myrna Giesbrecht, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1994. ISBN – 0-8069-0495-X