Sewing Room Setup for Healthy Sewing

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  • Sewing Room Setupfor Healthy Sewing Page 1

    Today, corporate work spaces areergonomically designed, which simplymeans body-friendly. Millions of dollars arespent each year on repetitive motioninjuries, forcing companies to address thecomfort and health of their workers.Ergonomics are very important when itcomes to sewing since poor posture andawkward positions will result in earlyfatigue and pain in the shoulders, neck andback.

    The four areas to be considered in thesewing room are your chair, sewing table orcabinet, cutting table and ironing board.Proper lighting is also important and will beaddressed in another guideline.

    The Right Chair

    A good chair is amust, and there isno one chair thatfits all bodies.Personalpreference and thesize of your bodywill determinewhether aparticular chair willwork for you.

    First, sit all the wayback in the chairwith your backagainst the chair back. Do not sit on theedge of the seat. Sitting improperly cancause myriad health problems ranging frompoor leg circulation to upper back, neck,shoulder and hand pain.

    A good chair has the following features:

    Pneumatic Seat Lift: This enables the seatheight to be adjusted to accommodate thelength of the legs. A good chair will have awarranty on the pneumatic lift and will notbreak down in a year.

    Padded, Articulating, Waterfall Seat:Articulating means that the seat can betilted to be level or to slant down in thefront. A waterfall seat curves down at thefront edge (behind your knees), reducingthe pressure on the back of the leg, whichimpedes circulation. Be sure to sit in a chairbefore purchasing it. If the chairs seat is toodeep from front to back, the seat will cutinto the back of the legs and impedecirculation. If it is too shallow, it wontprovide enough support.

    Adjustable, Soft Armrests: Armrestssupport the weight of the arms, relievingthe shoulders of undo stress. Again, sit inthe chair and adjust the armrests to fit. Ifthe armrests are set too wide, or too closefor your comfort, and the armrest width isnot adjustable, the chair does not fit you.

    Lumbar Support: A good chair will have anadjustable back with lumbar curve. Thechairs back should raise and lower, so youcan adjust it to fit the curve of your back.

    Sitting in the Chair

    When sitting, your knees should be slightlylower than your hips. Your seat and hipsshould be fully in the chair with your backagainst the back of the chair. Position yourlegs out in front of you at a comfortableangle with your feet touching the floor. Ifyour sewing table height is not adjustableand the chair is, you may need to raise the


    Setting up your sewing room properly is of paramount importance in regard to yourphysical well-being. Sewing, cutting and ironing in positions that tax your posture lead tofatigue, muscle pain, and chronic or serious conditions of the spine. Just as you measureand adjust a pattern to make a garment fit, so should you measure to find the properheights for your sewing table, cutting table and ironing board. This is especially importantfor children. If a child really loves to sew, doing so with poor posture for many hours canimpact his or her growing spine.

    A good chair is a must!

  • Sewing Room Setup for Healthy Sewing

    Page 2

    chair to fit the table and puta footrest under the chair tosupport your legs.

    Sewing Surface &Sewing Table

    There is a distinct differencebetween the sewing surface(needle area) height and thesewing table heightparticularly with free-armmachines. If your machine isset into a table or a cabinet,the sewing surface andtable height are one in thesame. If your machine sitson top of a table, then thesewing table height is lower than the sewing surface(needle area) height. First find the proper sewingsurface height; then raise or lower the table or cabinetso the needle area is at that height.

    To find the proper sewing surface height, sit in yourchair, hold a magazine in front of you and readcomfortably. Measure from your elbow to the floor andadd 5.5" to 7" to thatamount (the additionalheight is the differencebetween where yourelbow is and whereyour hands will fallwhen sewing). Thisexercise will also giveyou the angle at whichyour machine shouldbe tilted. When sewing,your hands should bein a straight line withyour wrists andforearms, not bentforward.

    The Cutting Table & Ironing Board

    The height of the cutting table is as important as thesewing surface because of the many hours spentcutting, marking and pinning the fabric prior to sewing.If youre bending over a cutting table, you run the risk ofstraining and injuring the lower back. There are many

    types of cutting tables, and there are adjustments thatcan be made so your table is the perfect height for you.It would be worth having a carpenter build a cuttingtable, or alter your existing one, so it is the correctheight.

    Cutting Table Height

    Stand with your elbows bent atright angles, then drop yourhands very slightly so your armsare in a comfortable position.This is the height your cuttingtableand ironing boardshould be. Lowering the tableheight slightly from the 90degree angle prevents you frombanging your elbows on thetable. You may want to vary it abit, depending on the type ofwork youre doing, but it shouldnot be much lower.

    Available Sewing RoomFurniture

    There is a myriad of sewingfurniture available. There areadjustable cabinets that accommodate a sewingmachine and a serger with containers on the doors thathold supplies, thread and notions. If these pieces arentthe right height, have someone alter them so they arethe correct height for you. They usually tend to be toolow, so adding height is many times easy for acarpenter.

    Credits:The Perfect Sewing Chair and the Tiltable are from:

    Ergonomic Advantage, 3898 South Jason St., Englewood, CO 80110303-783-4810



    Sitting in the Chair Properly

    Correct Posture for Sewing.(The Tiltable is pictured underthe machine. For more

    information on tilting yourmachine, see Guideline 21.115.)

    Cutting Table & IroningBoard Height


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