A sewing machine is a powerful piece of equipment that most sewers simply can’t do without. Just imagine trying to make a king-sized quilt, or trying to sew your child’s Halloween costume completely by hand.
So sewing machines are fast and convenient. They can also be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions while using them.
Here are some sewing machine safety tips that you should keep in mind.
Make Sure Your Sewing Machine Cord Is In Good Shape
Most people don’t really pay attention to the cords of their appliances. They just plug them in and go. However, using an appliance with a damaged cord is never a good idea.
So, before you get busy sewing, spend a few minutes inspecting the cord of your sewing machine to make sure it’s in good condition.
Do you see any fraying? Are there any nicks or cuts in the cable? Are the prongs loose or bent? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then you need a new cord. Luckily, replacement cords for most sewing machines are relatively inexpensive, and easy to find.
To keep your cord in good condition, make sure it stays straight and untangled. Don’t sit anything on top of it, and make sure it isn’t in an area where it might be stepped on.
Unplug After Every Use
After you’ve finished using your sewing machine for the day, unplug it. This might seem like a hassle, but it’s a simple safety precaution that you should make into a habit.
You should also unplug your sewing machine before performing maintenance tasks, like oiling or cleaning it.
When unplugging your sewing machine, never grab the cord by the cable and yank it out of the wall. Do this often enough, and your cord will have to be replaced sooner rather than later. Instead, grab the plug and pull it gently out of the wall socket.
Pull Your Hair Back
A sewing machine has a lot of parts which move at incredible speeds when the machine is in use. And if you let your long, flowing hair hang loose while sewing, it can easily get caught in one of those rapidly moving parts. All it takes is for you to lean a little too close to your machine, and your hair could end up getting caught in your sewing machine. This is never fun.
The solution? Pull your hair back before you start to sew. It’s the easy way to avoid an unfortunate “Hair vs. Sewing Machine” incident.
Watch Your Fingers
When sewing on a sewing machine, your fingers can be pretty vulnerable, especially if you aren’t paying as much attention as you should. So the first of using a sewing machine is to always pay attention to what you’re doing. Let your mind wander for even a moment, and you could end up needing a bandage or two.
If you have to look away from your sewing machine for any reason (like you want to see what your suspiciously quiet toddler is up to) completely stop what you’re doing first before glancing away.
Don’t let your fingers get too close to the feeder. If you really feel like there needs to be something holding the fabric close to the feeder, use something else. The erasers of a couple of pencils can be safe substitutes for your fingers. Chopsticks will also work if you have any on hand.
Sew at a slow, steady pace. Trying to move too fast, and rush things, could end in a trip to the first aid kit.
To be on the safe side, unplug the sewing machine before threading the needle. If unplugging every time you want to thread the needle seems too inconvenient, at least turn the machine off. Even if you’re sure the machine is off, make sure your feet aren’t anywhere near the pedal.
Protect Your Eyes
Wearing protective eyewear to sew might seem a little extreme. But imagine this. You’re sewing a seam when you accidentally sew across a straight pin you didn’t realize was in the way. The straight pin breaks, and the sharp, pointy end goes flying…straight up towards your face.
When something like that happens, you’ll be glad you were wearing eye protection. And the good news is that you don’t need a pair of thick, clunky goggles to protect your eyes. You can find protective eyewear that looks more or less like regular eyeglasses. You can even get prescription safety glasses.
Some Quick Sewing Safety Tips
- Don’t sew across pins. As a pin nears the presser foot, stop the sewing machine long enough to remove the pin.
- Make sure you’re using the proper needle for the fabric you’re sewing. A needle that isn’t the right size or thickness for the job could end up breaking.
- Pay attention to the way your sewing machine sounds. If it starts making strange noises, or seems louder than usual, it might be time to have it checked by a pro.
- Make sure there’s enough light. Using a sewing machine in poor lighting can lead to mishaps.