With the start of the new year, I'm feeling inspired to be creative. With exciting live broadcasts with Create and Craft TV and a collaboration project with Neelam Meetcha, the #sewingrevolution is beginning to take off. Therefore I think 2015 is going to be a busy one.
If you are anything like me you also try and grab as long as possible at your sewing machine. Alternatively, you have been a work all day and you still try and cram in a few hours at your sewing desk.
Desperate to get a garment or project finished and you have not had a break, something to eat, let alone a cup of tea. Your poor body is aching from those hours at the needle and at work, as a result you cannot even stand up straight to wear the garment you have slaved over or appreciate the project you have successfully completed.
Well here are my top sewing resolution tips to ensure the perfect posture to go with that perfect garment. With additional benefits to boot, making those #sewingrevoultion projects a healthier one!
Size up that Sewing Station.
I know you have all searched the internet for the must have pattern, been on endless shopping trips to find the just right fabric to ensure the ultimate garment. Well, it is time to give your sewing station the same level of love and attention. We are all guilty of trying to spend as much time as we can at the sewing table, therefore it is really important that we make your sewing station a comfortable and caring place for your body, in particular your back.
1. Get a good chair! As much as you love that antique dinning chair that you have shabby chic’ed to perfection, does it really support your back? The answer is, probably not. You ideally need a chair that can be easily adjusted in height, seat and at the back rest. A chair that has wheels will also be an advantage so you can move close enough to your work without hunching or leaning forward to see it.
2. No dangling feet or one foot stretched out to operate the foot pedal. This position will be rotating your back for long periods, a big no-no! So stop tap dancing for that foot pedal and bring it closer to you.
3. Ideally your upper arms, lower legs and back should be at right angles to the floor. So adjust your chair to achieve this position. You should not have your hands higher than your elbows. So having a table you can adjust as well may help if you are particularly tall or short. For the best seated position your forearms and wrist should ideally be level.
4. Head down to Ikea, they have a great range of chairs and tables that can be adjusted to suit you at very reasonable prices. They are pretty funky too.
Now this is something that I’m guilty of not doing enough of (excluding wine of course), so not only will this tip help keep us all hydrated but it will force you to take those important breaks away from your sewing station.
1. Stand up while waiting for the kettle to boil and decide on what to eat for dinner. Alternatively you could even review the next steps of your pattern’s instructions while standing and drinking your drink. This way you are technically still sewing and taking a break from your seated position. Multitasking at its best.
2. Drinking anything would be an improvement for me, so I would suggest drinking anything you enjoy as long as it has water in it. Drinking more will generally help skin to look better, helps energise muscles, controls calories if you as sticking to low calorie drinks and helps remove toxins from your body.
3. Do not take your drink to the sewing station! With this tip you need to be firstly drinking all of your drink and in the time it takes you to do this, you are also taking a needed break away from your chair. Now no cheating!
4. Set a timer! Depending on how long you have been able to steal from your day to be able to do some sewing; factor in some drink/desk break times. Recommended ‘desk break times’ for someone who works in an office is short break around every 20 minutes. Now this time scale just is not going to happen, so I would suggest at least every hour. I know that would be a huge improvement for me even if it is just to sip a small teacup of earl grey. How about you?
Get up now, Get on up! James Brown.
In addition to your drink/desk breaks this small change will help achieve the recommended every 20 minute desk break and you won’t even notice you are doing it. MOVE YOUR IRONING BOARD. It seems so practical to lower your ironing board so it is level and closer to you and at the position where you don’t even need to get out of your new wheelie chair. While this will make things quicker and easier to finish that garment now, it definitely will not later when your back completely gives out.
1. Moving your Ironing board just a little so you have to get out of your chair and stand while you press, could be the small change that your back is waiting for.
2. Where possible cut out your fabric on the ironing board rather than leaning or bending over a shorter table. For projects that have smaller pieces to cut out, you have no excuses people! Your standing ironing board can be adjusted to the perfect hip height for this.
3. If you are lucky enough to have the space, invest in a cutting table that can be adjusted to your hip height. Not only will the standing help burn calories and is good for circulation, it will stop you from stooping over the dining room table. Happy backs all round.
Let’s get physical! Olivia Newton-John.
Don’t worry you do not need to run up a leotard for this… unless you want to of course. Mine would definitely have tassel’s. Anyway, doing a few stretches after you have completed your sewing task could really make a difference to your posture and will definitely keep your body happy. Here are a few little exercises to help relieve those aching muscles.
1. Carpal tunnel reliever- This is good for tired wrists.
Standing at your desk and keeping your arms straight. Place the back of your palms on the desk with your fingers pointing upwards. Slowly bend your knees to feel the stretch. You will not need to bend very low at all to feel it work and you ideally want to hold it for 10 seconds before releasing slowly.
2. Wooden leg exercise- This is good for your lower body.
While sitting with a straight back, extend one of your legs out straight and raise while flexing your foot. This will help to stretch out your leg muscles. Again hold for around 10 seconds and then lower slowly. Repeat on the other leg.
3. Stretch – Great for upper back and sides.
Stretching your arms towards the ceiling then hold your right wrist with the left hand. Sitting up straight pull with your left hand. Keeping your shoulders down. This will stretch your right hand side. Hold for 10 seconds and return slowly to the upright position. Now repeat on the other side.
4. Twist – Good for lower back.
Sitting up straight in your chair, stretch your arms toward the ceiling first then put your left hand on the desk, grab the back of the chair with your right hand and twist to the right. Hold this for10 seconds and slowly release by raise your arms toward the ceiling again to face the front. Then repeat on the other side.
5. Make sure you are breathing while doing these exercises.
You will be surprised how you forget to breath when doing exercise. So deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Doing this breathing exercise on its own is also good for stress relief.
6. Repeat the exercises.
You can do these as many times as you like but be aware these should be very gentle exercises. If you are cooking up a sweat you are definitely doing something wrong. Take each exercise slowly and gently remembering to breath as you go. Please consult a doctor if you have any health concerns before carrying out these exercises.
In true #sewingrevolution style, I hope these top tips help to not make sewing back breaking work but support you to sew for longer. Have fun and let me know how you get on. I’m already practicing what I preach as I have written this blog standing up and have finished a cup of tea while proof reading! Check me out! Viva La #Sewingrevolution !
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