For a few weeks now, I’ve been having (literally) a pain in my neck. No, it’s not (exclusively) from dealing with a 2- and 4-year-old, although carrying my younger daughter hasn’t helped. It is also because of bad posture and hunching over my laptop and my sewing machine.
I went to physical therapy and have had to lay off the machine for a while. So I decided to research “ergonomic sewing.” What could I do to improve my body position while sewing, I wondered?
Interestingly, I found out that OSHA (the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has a terrific website with great photos and explanations of how to sew more ergonomically. It is targeted to workers in the sewing/garment industry who are prone to injuries from long hours at sewing machines. Take a look! You’ll learn a lot about how to alleviate neck and back pain while using a sewing machine. The key take-away: 90 degree angles. There should be a 90 degree knee angle, elbow angle, and back-legs angle. My main problem has been having my machine too high and then stretching my arms and neck to accommodate that positioning. Not good!
I also acquired a sewing table– the cheapest decent-looking one I could find – with an insert spot for a sewing machine. It seats my machine much lower, which is good for the neck/back.
However, cutting, sewing, and ironing still take a toll, so I try to keep an eye on how much time I spend on each activity. I’ve also taken up hand applique to try a new technique and limit my use of the machine… more on that in my next post!