A sewing room isn’t a sewing room without a place to do the sewing. After 3 months of active sewing in this space I am not yet convinced that I have designed the “perfect sewing station”, but I am getting closer.
With the opportunity to reinvent my sewing room, I laid out three goals for the sewing station:
- Improve my sewing posture
- Reduce eyestrain (i.e. improve lighting)
- Maintain easy access to pertinent sewing tools
If you are wondering, here are the OSHA recommendations for sewing posture and ergonomic solutions. Just because our home sewing rooms aren’t textile factories doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be conscious about our posture and physical health.
Here are two visualizations of good and bad sewing posture:
Previously I was using such a short folding chair that my eye line was almost level with the sewing needle and my arms were positioned as if I was doing the Thriller Dance. To keep an eye on the fabric going into and out of the feed I would have to hunch my shoulders.
The OSHA-recommended posture reminds me of good computer and laptop posture – arms and knees bent at a right angle and eye line straight ahead (without craning your neck). It seems my head should be well above the machine (which would be much safer should a needle snap during sewing) and I should be able to look down but not hunch my shoulders (still re-training my body).
I can feel a slight difference. My shoulders & neck hurt less and I can see the sewing surface and needle better – or at least I have a greater range of motion to keep an eye on it.
- Ikea Table – $20-$30 (LINNMON/ADILS combo)
- IKEA NISERIK Stool – $50
- IKEA RIBBA shelf – $10 (find it in Frames)
- Ott-light (at least 10 years old) – but similar here:
- Floor lamp with flexible secondary light (Target I think, also 10 years old)
The Sewing Table is the cheapest IKEA table and leg combination (LINNMON/ADLIS) you can purchase. It is now priced at $25, I bought it for $20 over a year ago. It is small & lightweight table and can be moved next to the cutting table for larger projects that needed a space to spread out fabric. These table legs are not adjustable, thankfully I could swap the legs out down the road. (My frustration with the table is that the sewing machine causes the lightweight table to vibrate and rattle a lot. As it turns out, I don’t move the table around as much as I thought I might. Maybe some casters would encourage me to do that more.)
I bought a stool, even though a task chair would be better. This was partially a financial decision. The task chairs I wanted were upwards of $200 or more. This IKEA stool was $50. (Yes, I also looked at some of the IKEA task chairs and for what I was getting the prices were still a bit high for me.)
This stool is lightweight and height-adjustable. I can use it at my sewing table (lowest setting) and I can raise the seat to use it at my cutting table during a long pattern drafting session. In truth the lowest setting might be a hair too tall. When I upgrade my sewing chair again and purchase a task chair with back support (Sewing Room 2.5 or 3.0), I will transition this stool to being the cutting table seat.
Lighting & Eyestrain
Inspired by Feng Shui, the sewing table is in a place where I can “always see the door” which also happens to be one of the darkest corners in the room. So I have two lamps – one small table top Ott-Lite for close-up lighting and one tall floor lamp with a movable reading lamp arm.
I haven’t settled on the right lightbulb wattage yet for the floor lamp. One lightbulb is white light, the other is soft yellow-white light and neither are bright enough. I have been sewing on weekends and draping or pattern drafting and cutting during the evenings.
I might just buy a new floor lamp. Currently the one I am using has a very large base which pushes my table away from the wall. I am looking for something more sleek, like this or this or this one with CRAFT SUPPLY STORAGE.
This is my proudest achievement at the sewing station.
I have tried a few different thread storage solutions, including keeping them in drawers or in a separate box.
Right now my thread stash is small enough to display on a narrow shelf. This thread holder came in a large Art Bin brand thread storage box. I have since re-purposed that box to hold fabric scraps. This shelf right next to my machine is an easy reach when I need to swap threads while I am working on the big costume projects.
Access to tools
I use the cutting table cubby holes that is closest to my sewing station to store all of my sewing and pattern drafting tools. You’ll see a better description and photos when I write about my cutting table. It is within am arm’s reach when I spin around on my stool so I can access and put things away easily.
In addition to the improved lighting, I want to add a thread catcher bag on the edge of the table and a tape measure (inches and metric) on the edge of the sewing and cutting tables.
What tools do you have to have within reach at your sewing machine? Do you leave your machine out or cover it and store it between projects?