The Dangers of Sewing – Part 1 of 2

Suggestions on How to Have a Safe Sewing Environment

Hard Hat Area Sign imageThose of you who have more than a week’s worth of sewing experience will probably read this article and nod in agreement. Sewing can be a dangerous experience. Fulfilling? Yes. Worthy of that feeling of accomplishment? Absolutely. Especially if you have lived through any of the experiences described below. Still, beginners would be wise to consider that there are potential dangers, as there are with many things in life, that are probably both inevitable and yet still avoidable.

Beginner Sewists, Take Note!

I have personally experienced more incidents than I could possibly ever list in this work, and yet I am sometimes still amazed by stories I hear from other people. I took an informal poll with a group of experienced seamstresses and tailors – 33 of them – and found that the most common mistakes can happen to anyone. While we all laughed about it later, some of these individuals actually ended up in an emergency room and had serious damage to their bodies.

Of those who offered feedback, I found that:

  • Nine of them had their sewing machine needle break and hit them in the face. Some of them were hit in the eyes and luckily did not have lasting damage. Some of them actually chipped their glasses. One of them ended up with their broken needle embedded in her cheek.
  • Seventeen sewed a needle through their finger. Several ended up in the emergency room. Don’t think this is a beginner’s mistake: some of those who “knew better” simply weren’t paying attention or had other distractions going on in the room: trying to watch TV, pets or kids distracting them, or watching what they were sewing but not monitoring how close their fingers were to the machine’s needle.
  • Fourteen of them had miscellaneous body parts (some of which I can’t list here) cut, pierced, or otherwise damaged by scissors and pins.
  • Eight of them accidentally sewed their own clothes to their sewing project.
  • Six of them were cut by their own scissors or other rotary tool.
  • Five of them had been bumped, bruised or cut by the sewing machine screw as the needle was travelling up and down and their hand got in the way.
  • Three of them were stabbed by their own seam ripper.
  • Three of them reported being burned by their sewing machine light bulb.
  • Three of them had an impact on the hand or foot while attaching grommets
  • Three of them were burned by hot irons
  • Two bled on their fabric (due to one of the above instances)
  • Two of them damaged the table or broke the actual sewing machine from trying to sew too fast on an unstable table. One warned against sewing on tables with folding leaves. She said the leaf support gave way and the whole machine came crashing down on her.
  • Two messed up cutting out their pattern due to either intoxication or just being too tired and pushing to get the pattern cut out before bed.
  • Two of them had allergic reactions to the fibers and the preservative that is used on many new fabrics.

Click here to continue on to Part 2!