We have all been there: feeling, sore, tired, overwhelmed and unfocused. These things can disrupt your mindset and decrease your sewing productivity. Here’s why you should make self care a priority for better sewing.
I sometimes think that as sewers, we are destined to take care of everyone else but ourselves. We spend long hours hunched over a sewing machine or cutting table, laboring away on the things we make out of love for everyone else. So often we end up with sore backs, wrists, dry cut hands and cut bleeding fingers from our efforts. Forgetting to take care of yourself actually disrupts and slows down your sewing production. Here’s how you can remedy your physical issues that keep you from being more productive in your sewing.
Take Time for Self Care
This post is sponsored by Love and Leche. I was compensated in some way for writing this post. Any opinions given are completely my own. See the disclosures page for more information.
Top Self Care Issues
- Cure dry chapped hands. Here in Wisconsin, our long cold winters attribute to dry skin and cracked hands. With all the cutting and sewing I do, I find that my hands are just a mess. Nothing seems to keep my hands from feeling chapped and sore. Sewing just makes the problem worse. Love and Leche sent me their natural lotion bar to try and it’s been a game changer. This bar is incredibly moisturizing, and it doesn’t leave a greasy residue on your hands. I love that it comes in this adorable bag, and has a mini-lotion tin for my handbag. This eco-friendly gift bag is made by Work + Shelter in New Delhi, India. Your purchase of this product (the gift bag) goes to help impoverished women giving them more control and dignity in their lives. It’s a win, win.
- Be sure your sewing table is at the correct height. Working on a table that is too low, or too high for long hours will cause back and shoulder pain. Your hands and wrists should be perpendicular to your machine while sewing to relieve stress in your neck, back and shoulders. If your table is not the correct height you are at risk for injury. Look for a lower table or adjust your machine height by setting it into the table top. A handy man can cut a hole in your table to set your machine down in it without too much trouble.
- Take frequent breaks while sewing. This may seam obvious, but it’s easy to get so involved in your project that you spend hours and hours without moving or changing position. You should get up and walk around at least every 20-30 minutes to relieve stress and relax your muscles.
- Cut out your project on a waist high surface. Many women who sew have lower back pain from leaning over their cutting surface. You will be amazed how much better you feel by raising your table up when you cut. Try using an inexpensive 8 foot plastic dining table raised up on concrete blocks for cutting. You can even put two tables together for a wider cutting surface. Look for inexpensive plastic risers to add to your own table at Walmart or Ikea for this purpose.
- Pace Yourself. It’s easy to over commit to your sewing projects. I have 5 cut projects waiting to be sewn as I write this post. As much as I love to sew, no one can sew 24 hours a day. Set a realistic deadline or goal for your sewing. I have a project scheduled on my calendar for each month. If I get it done before the month is over, I start another one. If not, then I have some time to squeeze it in during the next month. Sewing is ment to be an enjoyable hobby, it’s not enjoyable if you are stressed out trying to finish a project and make mistakes because of it. I limit my sewing to 2-3 hours per day. If I try to work longer hours, I end up making unnecessary mistakes in my work. Pace is important!
- Treat yourself to a massage. I am a firm believer in massage. Get one once a week or once a month to stay loose and limber for sewing. Massage releases toxins that build up in your muscles over time. The most effective massages are at least 60 minutes long, it takes that long to truly relax and enjoy the massage. It may cost a few dollars, but you will be more productive in your sewing if you feel good. This is particularly helpful if you sew for a living, or have a big stressful project your are working on such as a bridal gown or large quilt. You won’t regret it, I promise.
- Drink plenty of water. Headaches are the first sign of dehydration. Be sure to keep a bottle of water next to you as you work on your projects. It’s easy to forget that you need to keep hydrated as you work. Definitely will help you concentrate longer and get more done.
Thanks to Love and Leche for sponsoring this post! If you would like to try their products, they are offering a free mini-lotion for your first purchase as a special offer to my readers. Enter the code Chambrayblues at checkout. Offer is good until May 15, 2018.
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