More than half the reported accidents with sewing machines involve needles; you do not want to stitch your fingers so consider using finger guards to keep them out of the way. Your sewing machine manufacturer should be able to supply these or you can check your local supplier.
Some injuries may be less obvious like carpal tunnel or other repetitive strain injuries to neck, back and elbows.
- Wherever possible keep your machine away from the kids and pets, kids especially may like to take a test drive!
- Pets are just curious so closing the door to your work room, that helps.
- Never be tempted to carry on sewing after a liquid lunch or evening glass of wine, operating a sewing machine should be fun but it should be a sober experience at the same time.
Do not rush
- If you have a deadline it is better to review that than try to rush and finish a project
- Always turn it off when it is not in use, power surges can cause a great deal of damage and apart from that they do generate heat when just plugged in, quite a waste of energy.
- Cords can be trip hazards so if you really have to walk over them consider taping them down.
- Better still try to ensure they are at the back of the machine, behind it in other words.
- Unplug the machine when you carry out routine maintenance, oiling, changing light bulbs, cleaning and so on
- If you are unsure check the manual for routine maintenance
- If you are still unsure get friend or engineer to help you
- Just the usual common sense applies really
- As regards servicing, if you are really constantly at your machine and using it for many hours then you may need a yearly service
- If you just use it for the occasional creative project and/or a few repairs then it will probably only need a service every couple of years
- Never, never sew over straight pins, they can break and a flying pin is a definite hazard.
- Apart from anything if you cut your finger when you are sewing you may end up with a ruined garment before you even got to the hem
- Do not try to force material that is too thick, it can damage the machine
- You should look around for help, find someone who has the machinery to work with thicker fabrics and write it off as experience
- Check you are working at the right height, table and chair wise
- If your table is too high it will cause strain on back and arms
- Your feet should be on the floor
- Elbows should be at a 90 degree angle
- Even if you feel like being the bare foot seamstress it is better to wear shoes for;
- Using the pedal and walking around with the hazard of treading on stray needles and other tools like scissors
Disposal of needles
- Take care when you are finished with needles
- Put them in a container away from new needles
- Make sure your work area is well lit so you do not strain your eyes
- Cats are more prone to playing with bobbins and thread spools and puppies may like them too
- Perhaps you can let them have a few old ones to play with but keep them well away from thread which can end up being swallowed and an untimely visit to the vet
Following safety tips with electromechanical equipment is always a good idea, ask people who sew all the time how many times they have managed to stand on a pin or needle or pair of scissors when they do not have shoes on.
Most dedicated seamstresses will have had a bloody finger at some stage of their career and they learn how not to run the needle over their finger.
Keeping younger children out of the way is always wise, perhaps they can have their own hobby table and make use of your scraps.
If your children nag you for a kid’s sewing machine for Christmas consider telling them to wait until they are older and getting a suitable machine if they really show willing or seem to be very craft orientated. It is worth waiting for, a decent sewing machine is not a toy.
It makes no difference if you are working for pin money or just having a good time with your hobby creating original accessories for your home you still need to look at safety. Even an experienced machinist can have a safety review every now and again, check cables, plugs and sockets to see if you can make it all safer for you and your family.