Safety Sewing Rules: Room, Equipment, People
Safety sewing measures
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.
If you need to solve an issue with your stitch or sewing machine, check out this guide.
Learn about the different fabrics used in the fashion industry in this series.
If creativity and reworking 'old' clothing into new fashion styles is on your radar, I highly recommend you to have a look at my creative refashioning projects.
By Mariana Kirova
Safe Storage Of Equipment
Keep all sharp tools and equipment stored in a safe space. 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 area, especially if you have kids, pets or other family members who could be at risk. Treat your fabric shears with great respect and never cut anything than fabric or textile material with them. Always use a different pair of scissors to cut paper or card.
Dispose of 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 crooked pins I use an empty glass jar that has a special difficult to open cap. It prevents children from opening it. Usually you must push down very hard and then turn to open. It could be from a medicine or from a nutrient supplement container.
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, ensure they are kept in a lockable cupboard to protect your family, kids and pets! When you have finished using these products, put them back and lock.
Heavy irons or presses should have a designated storage area to go when not in use. Therefore, rather leaving those on the usually unstable ironing board, put them back in their storage to ensure safety sewing environment.
Safety Sewing Room / Designated Sewing Area
When it comes to safety sewing room environment, you need to make sure that floors are clean of any unnecessary items while working on the project. The freedom to move around in your space and do things is the main condition for you to create with pleasure.
The storage of any additional equipment could also be optimised from safety sewing perspective. To do that ensure that there are no hanging equipment on the walls or open shelves. Hanging scissors might look cool but carry the potential risk of falling down. Furthermore, reaching out high open shelves is always risky of accidents to happen.
The common sense to clean and tidy up the room after finishing will contribute to the safe sewing environment, too. Pack away tools, put all raw materials back into their places, collect the scraps in a box (for the next 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 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 on the materials, than dealing with them if it 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 a first aid kit close containing the most necessary items for small accidents, like deeper poking, cuts or burns. Band Aids are a must, but also burn aid cream, spray for wounds and similar items.
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 a particular place to keep those hazardous items safe away from kids or your pets reach.
Safety Sewing Rules: Happy sewing comes EASY after efficient risk prevention!
Electrical Equipment And Safety Sewing
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 clear 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, unfortunately, develop heavy occupational related conditions. However, even sewing at home, long hours are sometimes enough to experience back pain, headache, fatigue, restrained eyesight and more.
Therefore, regular breaks or leaving the rest of the complicated project for the next day seems sensible and, again, would help prevent possible injuries caused by weariness.
Ergonomics & Surrounding Environment For Safety Sewing
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.
Another 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 an old light bulb, take it with you and buy a new, brighter, warm colour light from your local store or warehouse.
Besides, older bulbs overheat when left on for long periods of time. There are new types, different varieties and sizes, that can help not only your vision, but reduce your electricity bill as well.
Fresh air and good ventilation can also prevent headaches, dizziness and fatigue.
Storage Of Chemicals And Substances
Very important safety sewing rules 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.
ome natural dye sources could also be very poisonous, like plant leaves, flowers and so on – can affect the skin that is in contact with that cloth while using them or later on.
Therefore, research the selected methods well before use. For your safety, ensure 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 hair. 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 hair must 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 a 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. It will prevent possible needle breakage, including the possibility of any small pieces injuring your eyes or face.
When cutting always ensure you are wearing closed shoes. Designate a special area for 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 can often cause big damage. 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 temporarily on chest area of your blouse (and remove immediately when finished with pinning). Anything is better than using your mouth.
I found the easiest way to get rid of that habit is when you are in a sewing room with other dressmakers and notice they also put pins in their mouth. The thought of sharing those pins was very convincing ;)
Regular Breaks Ensure Safety Sewing
Considering how to redo and transform clothing, sewing, tweaking patterns, drafting and cutting are all processes that often take lots of time. Most of these are processes that require a lot of concentration. They also take a lot of time. The combination of all that, may lead to 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 at detailed stitching, it is time to look out the window and rest your eyes. Small re-organisation of what you are doing is often enough to support your energy 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 the maximum degree the worst, and will help you set up a workable, safety sewing place ready for happy moments and wonderful projects!,