Sewing and quilting are often both a stationary and physical hobby which can each cause stress and tension on your body. Today I’m sharing a few healthy habits to prevent extra aches and pains caused by sitting at the sewing machine and repetitive tasks such as cutting, pressing, pushing, and handwork.
Simple exercises during and after sewing, and using the proper tools and equipment are key for developing healthy habits for sewing! Personally, I tend to become so focused on my projects, I don’t even realize how my body is stressed or contorted.
You should always consult a health-care professional before starting this or any other fitness activity. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
- Sit Properly
A comfortable chair and table at the right height is so important. If you can’t adjust your table, find a chair with adjustable height so you aren’t hunching over. Good posture and keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed is important for working on any project. Choosing a chair with back support can also help with preventing back pain. Another tip is to keep your feet flat with your knees at a 90 degree angle for proper spinal alignment.
- Stand Properly
Make sure the table you use for cutting and laying out your project is a comfortable height. A table that is too low or high can cause your back and shoulders to ache. Note that your ironing board should be lower than your cutting table so you can apply more pressure as you iron.
- Ample Lighting
Lots of light is essential for preventing eye strain. Natural light is best, but additional lighting will likely be necessary for safely and accurately sewing at your machine and tasking at the worktable.
- Use Comfortable Cutting Tools
Cutting can be hard on your hands and wrists. Use a rotary cutter and scissors that feel comfortable to use. To prevent soreness, keep your blades sharpened so you aren’t having to press down hard. Our Rotary Cutter and Scissors are ergonomic, sharp, and comfortable to grip.
- Take Breaks
Set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move at least every 15-20 minutes. Sitting can make your muscles tight and moving will keep your blood flowing. Taking a short break will help you feel better and prevent tension. Also, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
During your break, you can do simple stretches, meditation, or yoga to relieve pain. There are a lot of great tutorials online you can search for and try what works best for you. If you like doing yoga, you could even sew a yoga strap using our free pattern to help with stretching.
Here are some simple stretches that are quick and easy to perform. For all of these stretches it’s best to begin by standing tall, with your feet hip-width distance apart. Keep your neck and spine long, reaching the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Also, move to the speed of your breadth.
- Look up at the ceiling, then down at your belly button slowly, several times
- Roll your shoulders
- Lift your arms above your head and reach for the ceiling
- Interlock your hands behind your back and reach down
- Spinal twists with arms extended and hips facing forward
- Stretch your wrists and ankles
Hopefully this list will help you develop healthy habits, relax your mind, and improve range of motion to prevent stiffness.
Founder | Sallie Tomato