We have all been there: sore, tired, overwhelmed and unfocused. These things can disrupt your mindset and also decrease your sewing productivity. Here’s why you must absolutely make time for self-care while sewing.
Sewers tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves. We spend long hours hunched over a sewing machine or cutting table while laboring away on the things we make out of love for everyone else. So often we end up with sore backs and wrists, or dry cut hands and cut bleeding fingers from our efforts. We give up hours of sleep to finish a project. Forgetting to take care of your overall health actually disrupts and also slows down your sewing production.
Take Time for Self Care
While this post is sponsored by Love + Leche, any opinions given are completely my own. I was compensated in some way for writing this post. See the disclosures page for more information.
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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 + Leche sent me their natural lotion bar to try and it’s been a game changer. While this bar is incredibly moisturizing, it doesn’t leave a greasy residue on your hands. I love that it comes in this adorable bag, and also 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 by giving them more control and dignity in their lives. It’s a win-win situation.
- 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 certainly 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 and preserve your physical health. If your table is not the correct height you are at risk for injury. Either look for a lower table or adjust your machine height by setting it into the tabletop. A handy man can cut a hole in your table to set your machine down into it without too much trouble.
- Take frequent breaks while sewing. It’s easy to get deeply involved in your project and spend hours without moving or changing position. You should get up and walk around at least every 20-30 minutes while sewing to relieve stress. Physical activity will also help to 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 long term. You will be amazed how much better you feel by simply raising your tabletop when you cut. Try using an inexpensive 8′ plastic dining table raised up on concrete blocks for cutting. You could also 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. (You can also find something similar on Amazon.)
- Pace Yourself. It’s easy to overcommit 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 simply not enjoyable if you are stressed out trying to finish a project. This situation also lends itself to mistakes. 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 and goes a long way in contributing to great mental health and emotional health.
- 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 since 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 either sew for a living or have a big stressful project to finish 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. Staying properly hydrated with definitely will help you concentrate longer and get more done.
Thanks to Love + Leche for sponsoring this post! Their projects have truly changed how I practice self-care while sewing. I most certainly recommend trying their lotion bar, your hands will thank you! I hope you enjoyed learning a few helpful sewing self-care ideas as well as self-care activities.
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