Have you ever wondered about keeping calm and sewing? Following a few sewing safety tips is the best-kept secret to calm sewing experiences. The average seamstress is handling some pretty dangerous utensils ranging from sharp cutters, pointed needles and pins, electric cables and hot irons. Suddenly sewing takes on a whole new turn.
Keep Calm with Sewing Safety
Cut, sew and finish sums up the sewing process and here are some essential safety tips to keep the sewing room a safe haven for the seamstress.
Sewing Safety: Step One – Cutting
Starting with the rotary cutter is probably a good idea. This fantastic gadget is probably one of the most dangerous sewing aids you may possess. It is sharp, swift and easily gets out of control without some serious safety tips.
1.Follow the basic guidelines that come with the cutter and read carefully how to handle this accessory.
2. Keep the rotary shield closed whenever you are not using the cutter. The rotary cutter blade is exceptionally sharp.
3. Replace the blade with the utmost care following the instructions given. Change the blade over and make sure you dispose of the old blade efficiently. Sometimes the new blade is in a plastic sheath and this can be used to dispose of the old blade. If not, wrap the old blade in some duct tape or strong tape to seal off the blade. Put the blade in a bag or packet to dispose of it safely. Remember even the old blade is still a sharp blade.
4. Always cut away from your body and never roll back and forth with the blade on the fabric. Cut cleanly and directly. Don’t make cross over cuts but rather use your cutting ruler and cut on one side. If you are right handed cut on the right side. Left handed cutters should secure the ruler with their right hand and cut along the left side. Keep fingers away from the edge of the ruler.
5. Use the correct rotary cutting mat and ruler for the cutting process. The rotary cutting mat will protect your table and help keep your fabric secure. If your fabric is very slippery you can use ‘fabric grips’ to secure the fabric as you cut on the proper cutting board.
6. Always use the rotary cutter in a standing position. If you are unable to stand and cut then it is wise to search for alternative cutting options that allow you to sit and cut in safety.
7. Use the rotary cutter just for your sewing use and do not to cut anything but fabric. Guard it and keep it in a safe place for your use only, not as a quick tool for other tasks.
8. Scissors are potentially dangerous weapons too! Keep them in a safe place and not lying around for busy fingers to test their cutting skills.
9. Watch out for seam rippers too. They can be serious little danger items as they are pointed and sharp and definitely fit the profile of sharp and dangerous.
Sewing Safety: Step Two – Sewing
This covers the area of sewing up the item to be made. It includes the sewing machine, needles and pins and other sharp implements, using the hot iron and watching your posture as you sew.
10. Consider your machine to be a power tool and have respect for what it can and can’t do.
11. As your sewing machine is an electrical power tool, electric wires are part of the deal. Don’t drag them across the floor so they are out there to be tripped on or played with by family pets and toddlers.
12. Don’t plug too many cords and outlets into the same power source.
13. Pack your machine away carefully after use.
14. Machines need needles. The machine needle is a sharp instrument and can be dangerous. It is a good idea to switch off the machine when you change a needle. Feet can be tempted to press down suddenly and then the needle gets carried away and zooms ahead. Suddenly you are pinned down and the needle has stitched your finger into the garment – A painful experience to be avoided.
15. Most machines have a speed selection, so try slow and steady if you are getting to grips with a more difficult sewing project.
16. Pins are also potentially dangerous and should be treated with respect. Don’t put pins in your mouth; they can be swallowed and very uncomfortable to retrieve. The age old pincushion is an essential safety device. If you move around a lot in your sewing room, then a wrist hugging pin cushion is ideal.
17. Sewing posture is another aspect of safety. If you sit in front of your machine for a long time make sure you are sitting correctly. It is very important when you sit for long hours to have the right posture.
18. And a final note to self. Don’t sew if you are exhausted, not well or have had a few celebratory drinks putting you over the legal limit. You may be home alone but the machine is unforgiving and it is easy to make a slip in the wrong direction.
Sewing Safety: Step Three – Trim and Finish
Finally, it is time to trim your garment. Many of the safety features from the cutting and sewing sections will apply here as well.
19. The iron can cause serious damage to the garment and to the seamstress. This part of the sewing process needs to be treated with the utmost care and caution.
20. Pets, your beloved companions, have been known to raise pins from the carpet and get needles stuck in their throat. Avoid expensive vet bills and try to keep the sewing room a pet free zone. This may not work for every seamstress!!
21. Rapunzel and other ladies with long tresses may consider tying their beautiful hair up before entering the sewing safety zone.
22. Working with hand sewn trims can have a prickly effect on finger tips and a thimble is a good safety device to protect the tips of your finger if necessary. If you find the metal ones uncomfortable then there is a leather variety that will do the same job.
Sewing safety is important. During the Second World War sewing groups, known as sewing bees, got together to be part of the queen’s ‘Stitch for Victory’ drive to contribute to keeping soldiers uniforms in good repair. It was a wonderful way contribution through pins and needles to the safety and security of the soldiers fighting for their safety in the war. So keep sewing safety in mind and don’t turn your sewing haven into a war zone – Keep Calm and sew on!