Healthy Sewing Tips
Hi, I'm Lindsay from American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and this video is brought to you by Baby Lock.
Quilting is a very physical hobby. In order to save your body from pain and stress, it's important to practice healthy sewing habits. We're sharing some easy changes you can make that will make a big difference in your sewing life.
First, let's talk about your sewing machine table.
When you're sitting at your table, the height should be where your elbows can be bent at a 90-degree angle and close to your body. In order to accomplish this, you can have your sewing machine sit down in your table so the feed dogs are even with the table.
If you don't have a table to accommodate this, add an extension table to your machine to provide extra support.
A larger table can help support the weight of sewing and quilting heavy quilts to avoid strain. If you have a smaller table, try adding an ironing board or collapsible table to one side when needed!
Your chair should be at a height so you can sit with your legs at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. When you're sewing, sit with your shoulders relaxed and your back straight. Add a lumbar pillow to your chair if needed.
Take frequent breaks while sewing (about every 15-20 minutes). During your break, take a quick walk, or do basic stretches with your wrists, arms, and shoulders.
Next, let's chat about your cutting and ironing surface.
The cutting table should be 2-3" lower than your waist, so you can give direct downward pressure while cutting.
To achieve the perfect height, you can use bed risers to lift a table.
Your ironing board should be at waist height, so you're not lifting a heavy iron too high up or slumping over to iron. Always stand when you're cutting and ironing.
Now, let's talk about lighting. Good lighting in your sewing room protects against eye strain, improves posture (because you don't have to hunch over to see better), and will help you match fabrics better. If your room doesn't have good natural light or you're sewing at night, consider adding extra light to your space with overhead and task lighting.
Baby Lock has a Light Bar that may work for your space. It has LED light, which is color-accurate and long-lasting. This will help light your whole room, especially your workspace. (Check out the light bar here.)
If you need task light by your machine, increase the machine's light in the settings. (The Aria has 10" stadium lighting and adjustable brightness).
Next, there's a few tips to try while you're sewing to reduce hand and shoulder pain. Try using a stiletto to guide fabric while sewing, instead of gripping fabric so hard when pushing it through the machine.
If your eyesight isn't as good as it used to be, find a machine that has an automatic threader – it's truly a lifesaver.
And consider using your knee lift if your machine comes with one, because it leaves both your hands free to maneuver a large quilt through your machine and help support the weight.
We hope these tips help you make healthy updates to your sewing space, so you can quilt pain-free well into the future.