The correct sewing posture is vital if you want to enjoy a long and pain-free sewing journey. So often we become engrossed in our projects and neglect our posture, leading to aches and pains that can limit our ability to sew comfortably. This year, I want sewists to pay more attention to their postural health and work towards creating a healthy sewing space that promotes good mental and physical wellbeing.
The first step towards creating a healthy sewing space is to be more mindful about your posture when using your machine, so to help guide you, here are 5 tips for helping to improve your postural health when sewing.
1. Don’t use your sewing machine on the floor or a low platform.
If you’re currently using your sewing machine on the floor, or a low flatform such as your coffee table, please stop! This position is incredibly bad for your posture, but not only that, working with a machine at such a low height gives you far less control over the foot pedal, over your machine in general, and forces you to instinctively lean in closer to get a better view.
As a result, your body ends up in a position similar to a semi-circle, creating strain in your arms, neck, back, legs, and shoulders. In fact, after 10 minutes or so in this position, you’d likely find that your whole body would start to ache uncomfortably and you’d probably get fed up with sewing quite quickly.
Frequently sitting in this position could lead to serious postural health concerns, so instead of having your machine set up on a low platform or the floor, find a table or platform that you can adjust to your ideal height. The ideal platform should allow you to keep your back straight, your neck in sync, and your feet flat on the ground. You should not be hunched over, your shoulders should be relaxed and you should have plenty of room to move your arms around whilst sewing.
2. Finding the ideal height for your sewing table and chair.
The ideal height for your sewing machine table and chair will depend on your height and build, but commonly a table measuring around 28 - 30 inches tall works for most people. To find the most comfortable position to sew in, sit upright with your head above your shoulders, elbows in, and feet flat on the ground. Sewing chairs are usually adjustable too, so be sure to adjust both table and chair until you can comfortably stay in a position that promotes good posture whilst sewing.
3. Looking after your postural health whilst standing.
If you struggle to keep track of your posture when sitting, standing to sew might be beneficial to you. Ensure that your table is at the correct height, and when you sew, you’re standing tall rather than slouching or leaning into your hip.
4. Take frequent breaks and stretch out your muscles.
If you have ever worked in an office, you’ll know that sitting in one position for too long can cause discomfort. Every now and then you must move away from your sewing machine and take a break. Do some yoga or some stretches, go for a walk, or just head to the kitchen and make yourself a cup of tea. Moving your body will reduce built-up tension and help you to relax.
5. Ensure you have good overhead lighting.
Dim lighting makes us lean in closer to the machine because the visibility is too poor for us to maintain a good postural position. Our instinct is to slouch forward, creating tension on our shoulders, back, arms, and neck. To avoid slouching for a better view, and avoid putting extra strain on your eyes, make sure you choose to set your sewing space up in an area with good natural light or invest in an overhead LED light.
It’s normal to catch yourself slouching again…
These postural health tips should help you on your way to creating a healthy sewing space that nourishes your creativity and supports your body correctly when sewing. It’s normal to slip back into slouching when sewing, especially if you’ve never tried to focus on improving your posture before. If this happens to you, don’t beat yourself up about it; instead, simply correct your posture whenever you notice it starts to slip. Sitting with the correct posture may even be uncomfortable at first as your body adjusts to its new positioning, however, in the long run, these changes will vastly improve your physical wellbeing and help you to avoid injury.
Ready to try it out? Try these free Start To Stitch Patterns!
If you’re eager to put these tips into action, take a look at our free Start To Stitch patterns! Have a go at being mindful of your posture whilst sewing a quick and easy project, such as the Start To Stitch Twist Headband pattern, or the Kids Dress-Up Cape pattern. These are beginner-friendly, quick, and easy projects to get you used to sitting properly at your sewing table. Let me know how you got on over in the Kernow Sewcial Facebook Group, or leave a comment below!
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!