If you have spent numerous hours in front of your sewing machine, you know that sewing can be stressful on your body. Poor posture, whether sitting at tabletop machines like the Juki F300 or working at a longarm or quilting frame, can cause serious neck, shoulder, and back strain leading to discomfort and even injury over time.
Before sitting down to work at any Juki sewing machines, you should consider the following important tips about sewing posture and how to prevent strain due to poor machine height.
- Proper machine height for tabletop models worked in the sitting position is with elbows bent at a right angle, wrists on the sewing table, and feet flat on the floor, which is similar to proper ergonomic height for working on a computer. You can achieve this by adjusting the sewing table and chair to the ideal height. If there are no adjustments to raise the table, consider raising it on wooden blocks. To lower the machine, cut the table legs or make a recess so the unit sets into the surface. Purchasing a sewing cabinet that is the right height is an easier alternative.
- Sit directly in front of the machine needle, despite the tendency to sit toward one side or the other. Working with the needle directly in front reduces arm and neck strain while allowing the free movement needed to use the machine properly.
- Work on a surface that is large enough to support the fabric weight. You won't need to constantly adjust fabric over the tabletop. Ideally, Juki sewing machines should be set into the sewing table surface, with a large work surface to the left so the fabric slides easily, reducing body strain.
- Take breaks to stand up and walk around. Even when seated properly, you should stand up every 20 to 30 minutes to walk around, straighten up, and allow your muscles to stretch.
Standup sewing machines, like longarm quilters, require a different approach to ergonomics than tabletop models as follows:
- Standing machines are set up higher than sit down models. It is recommended that the handles should be at belly button level. Although fine for most people, you may prefer to adjust your machine slightly higher for a more comfortable arm position and best view of the needle.
- Adjust the quilting handles up or down as necessary until your wrists are in a comfortable, natural position. This will reduce wrist strain while providing better control with less force. If your wrists and hands sit too high on the handles, the machine probably needs to be more elevated.
- Avoid holding on too tightly. Holding the handles with a death grip increases arm, shoulder, and back strain. Longarm machines that are properly positioned require that you use a very light touch for perfect control and easy use without straining your body.
- Move with the machine. Rather than only using arm movements, moving your entire body movement along with the handles makes the machine easier to use and keeps your muscles loose and flexible.
Before settling in to spend a few hours working with sewing machines of either type, you should make sure your machine is properly set up and that you are working with good posture. Avoiding uncomfortable neck, back, and arm strain is easy when Juki sewing machines like the Juki F300 or even longarm machines are set to the proper height. When they are, it will be easier for you to assume correct posture to prevent body strain!