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BellaOnline's Sewing Editor

How to Make Cutting Fabric Easier on Your Back

ironing boardIn a perfect sewing world, we would all have large sewing rooms with separate cutting and sewing workstations perfectly suited for our individual needs. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us make do with a dining room table or card table for cutting and sewing. Using the surfaces that we have at hand, such as the floor or dining room table, can cause us to bend more than we should while cutting and cause back fatigue or even injury. To reduce bending, your cutting surface should be at a height just below your elbows.

One solution is to use an adjustable height craft table like the one I recommended using as a sewing table in my earlier ergonomic sewing article. If you have a limited amount of space, or don't want to have to move your sewing machine off the table every time you need to cut something out, another option is to use your ironing board as a cutting surface. Ironing boards are naturally height adjustable and you can use a plastic cutting mat on top to protect the ironing surface. The ironing board shown on the left has an extra feature that is a valuable asset for sewists; the fold out sleeve board is great for pressing garment sleeves or other small, tight areas that are difficult to press on a regular ironing board. One downside to using an ironing board is that it is not as wide as you might need for cutting out larger projects. If you are interested in a wider ironing board, there are a few extra wide ironing boards that provide more surface area to work with. This wide ironing board is really nice because it has an extension piece that converts the board into a rectangle shape. If you hate dealing with the point of your ironing board when ironing long pieces of fabric, this is the ironing board for you!

Additional Ways to Reduce Sewing Fatigue

There are some additional ways that you can make cutting and sewing fabric easier on your body so that can sew for longer periods of time without suffering residual pain afterward.

Scissors: To reduce hand fatigue, use spring loaded scissors. If you like to make rag quilts, a pair of these is a must. Clipping all of those seams is difficult and repetitive and can cause major issues with your fingers and wrists.

Lighting: Use an adjustable neck light and position it so that you can see your fabric better as you are sewing. Not only will this help your posture, but you will sew more accurately as well.

I hope that this ergonomic sewing article series helps you make adjustments to your cutting and work stations so that you can sew more comfortably and prevent fatigue and injury to your back or other body parts.

Happy Sewing!

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Content copyright © 2013 by Tamara Bostwick. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.

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