Safety Sewing Rules: Room, Equipment, People

Safety Sewing Rules: Room, Equipment, People

By Mariana Kirova


Ensure Safety For Your Sewing

To prevent injuries or general health issues of yourself, your family members, kids and pets at home or in your sewing studio, you should consider the safety of the following three:

  • Equipment storage
  • Sewing room or area
  • Personal (and others) safety

This article covers what exactly these areas include and how you can set the right environment for happy sewing and creating.

Storage Of Equipment

Keep safe all sharp tools and equipment. Adapt drawers, special cupboard sections, boxes or anything to keep hazardous items secure from somebody else’s use.

Sharp items, like scissors, rotary cutters, needles, pins, safety pins and so on, should be stored in a lockable areas, especially if you have kids, pets or other family members who could be at risk. Threat with great respect your fabric shears and never cut anything than fabric or textile material with them. Use other pair of scissors to cut paper or card.

Dispose all sharp needles and pins in a special jar that you can hand over for discharge at your local pharmacy or sewing supplies shop.

For all broken needles and crocked pins I use an empty glass jar that has a special difficult to open cap. It prevents children from opening it, usually you have to push down very hard and then turn to open. It could be from a medicine or from a nutrient supplement.

Supplements or medication jars with special protective cap are good storage for broken needles and crooked pins

If you keep hazardous substances, such as textile dyes, bleach, glue or similar, assure they are kept in a lockable cupboard away to protect your family, kids and pets! When finish using these products, put them back and lock.

Heavy irons or presses should have designated storage area to go when not in use. The foldable ironing board is not good place for that.

Sewing Room / Designated Sewing Area

​General Housekeeping

Make sure floors are clean of any unnecessary items while working on the project. The freedom to move around in your space and do things is main condition for you to create with pleasure.

Another part of the safety sewing rules for the sewing space is to be organised in such manner that no hanging things from the walls or shelves can fall over, do damages or injure someone.

The common sense to clean and tidy up the room after finishing will contribute to the best sewing environment, too. Pack away the tools, put all raw materials on their places, collect the scraps in their box (for the next scrappy upcycle project;). Quick general housekeeping should be the last thing you do before leaving the room or the sewing area.

If you are in the middle of a project, clean up the stuff you won’t use and keep only the necessary pieces. Thus, when you come back, you would be welcomed in a fresh, ready to go sewing space.

If it is possible, avoid drinking and eating in your sewing area, especially around machines and materials. It is so much easier to prevent spills over machinery and electrical cords, or food and beverage marks from the materials, than dealing with them if happens! Besides, it is always a good idea to have short break for a snack or a coffee and stretch;)


Accidents happens to all of us sometimes. So, just in case, keep close a little kit with the most necessary items for small accidents, like deeper poking, cuts or burns. Band-Aid is a must, but also burn aid cream, spray for wounds and similar kind of stuff. If you use any specific hazardous substances, research and prepare ahead the particular preventative solutions that can neutralise the injured area and keep it close while working. Designate particular place to keep those items on a safe place, away from kids or pets reach.

Safety Sewing Rules: Happy sewing comes ONLY after efficient risk prevention!

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In an industrial working environment all electrical cords are set up away from the floor, on walls or from the ceiling. To avoid any damage of electrical cords and plugs, which could be very dangerous, put them away - under tables, around corners or whatever suits your space. Ensure that the floor where you walk and work is clean from any electrical plugs, cords, adapters or else.

Personal And Others Safety

The chances of getting injured while sewing or experiencing physical pain after long hours bending are quite possible. The good news is they also can be prevented.

Ask professional patternmakers, dressmakers and tailors... Some develop really heavy occupational related conditions. However, even sewing at home, long hours are sometimes enough to experience back pain, headache, fatigue, restrained eyesight and similar.

Furthermore, those increase the risk of injuries, so definitely worth the attention. The following safety sewing rules can help you to avoid all that

Ergonomics & Surrounding Environment

Ensure your working tables are at a good level. The sewing machine chair should at least have adjustable height. If you can’t avoid the long hours bending over your work, then swap activities or take a short break.

Other important is the light in the room. If there is not enough daylight, then avoid cold or the old luminescent lighting, if possible. If your sewing machine has old light bulb, take it with you and buy a new, brighter, warm colour light from your local store or warehouse. Besides, the old bulbs are getting really hot when on for long. There are new types, different variety and sizes, that can help not only your vision, but reducing your electricity bill as well.

Fresh air and good ventilation can also prevent from headaches, dizziness and fatigue.

Very important safety sewing rules should apply when using poisonous substances, such as bleach, fabric dyes, some types of glue or similar. And we all know clothes reworking techniques use lots of these. In those cases you must get acquainted with the particular technique before use and create safe conditions for yourself, other family members or pets in your household. Keep those safety rules in mind if you are into eco-dyeing, too. Some natural dye sources could be also very poisonous, like plant leaves, flowers and so on - while using them, or later can affect the skin that is in contact with that cloth.

Therefore, research the selected methods well before use and assure they are not dangerous to work with or to the skin when worn afterwards.

Clothing & Hair

​Some of the most important safety sewing rules are related to sewist's clothing and hear. Avoid any loose or hanging accessories, clothing or dangling items. Instead of too loose, long, fitted and tight clothing, wear something comfortable, semi-fitted to the body.

Keep the jewellery to minimum and remove everything that can get caught into the machinery. Long hear has to be securely tied back.

And last, but not least, always wear closed shoes when sewing, cutting and doing all the related things.

Use Of Machine & Other Equipment

Paying attention when dealing with needles, cutting equipment or machinery is the best prevention

When sewing keep your fingers clear of the sewing point at all time, especially when you are beginner or you use a newly purchased machine. When machine sewing thick materials, bulky seams or buttons, go slowly (or stay as far as possible), because the needle may brake and small pieces could go into your eye of face.

When cutting always ensure you are wearing closed shoes. But also designate a special area for the heavy and sharp tools somewhere on the cutting table or around it. Be cautious not to leave scissors under the material, for instance. It could slide off the table easily while removing the material away.

Pins are small, but often cause big damages. The simplest safety sewing rules are to be aware when using pins and never put them in your mouth! If you have that habit, it’s time to change it. Place a magnet cushion around you, buy a wrist pin cushion or pin them temporary on chest area of your blouse (and remove immediately when finish with pinning). Everything is better than using your mouth.

I found the easiest to get rid of that habit is when you are in a sewing room with other dressmakers who also put pins in their mouth;)

Regular Brakes

Considering how to redo and transform clothing, sewing, tweaking patterns, drafting and cutting are all processes that sometimes take lots of time. On one side, absorbing our attention and time, but on the other, may cause dizziness, dehydration, fainting, headaches etc. and by that, increase the risk of injuries.

Therefore, keep in mind the time and try to have small breaks. Or simply change the activity with the opposite. If you are sitting for long time, go and do something else to walk around. If you are staring too long in detailed stitching, it is time to look at the window and rest your eyes. Just small re-organisation of what you are doing is enough to support your energy and caution and keep you going for longer.

Why Safety Sewing ​Is Important

Ensuring safety around your sewing is in your hands...

While researching, I stumbled on a Sewing Room Safety article from Sew4home. Some of the comments after the article were quite overwhelming. Here is one of them, a story of a girl that needed a surgery...

“Years ago we had to take my four-year-old to the ER because she stepped on my sewing needle. My husband had to remove it from her heel with needle-nosed pliers, but only half the needle came out. Turned out the other half was lodged deep in the coffee table (where she had stepped on it). All was fine in the end, but I'll never make the mistake of leaving a needle out again!”

(comment from HotTea)

I hope this post will prevent to maximum degree the worst and will help you setting a workable place ready for happy moments and wonderful projects!

Take care,


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Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others to make their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.

  • Denise Reed says:

    Very well written, great tips and insight to our responsibility as artisan/crafters. Thank you for putting it all so nicely.

  • mutava cephas says:

    Share your thoughts…its quite intresting thank uuuuuu

  • Millie Hue says:

    We needed to buy sewing machine parts to revive the machine of my grandmother. It will be a nice way to remember her since her death anniversary is almost near. I have never tried to sew before, so I also thought of trying it when the machine is working again. To be safe when using the machine, I like that you explained that first-timers should maintain distance from the machine, especially when sewing thick fabrics because the needle can break and cause injuries. Thanks for the tips!

    • Thanks for sharing, Millie. I love that you kept your grandmother’s sewing machine, what a wonderful way to bring memories back by you learning sewing! The most beautiful story I’ve heard of ever, very precious. All the best!

  • Maria says:

    I’m having pain in my eye and back pain after 6 hours of sewing, and feeling nauseous! Never happened before, i had breaks!

    • So sorry to hear that, Maria. 6 hours sounds a long time sewing at once, imagine if you didn’t have those brakes!

      I tend to feel nauseous too when do not have time to drink water or have a meal, so these are important. To make the best conditions for your eyesight, I’m thinking, you probably could check if you could change the light of the machine with brighter or add another lamp around in your sewing area. Back pain is terrible, so you probably could prevent it by splitting the sewing time into two days or shorten it by improving the techniques used, if possible. In fact, any still position for a long time could cause pain somewhere in our body, unfortunately. My weakest point is my neck.

      I hope you will prevent and won’t experience any pain in future. On other note, it must have been a gorgeous thing you had at the end?

      All the best

  • we should always keep us safe from machines. some times we can face some real problems for not taking care of the machine. we should maintain these safety rules very well. thank you for nice tips and great ideas.

  • Michael says:

    This is so good for us practicing Tailors
    Thank you for putting this together
    God bless you

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