Sewing Machine Safety : 10 rules you need to follow in a Sewing Room to be safe while you sew

sewing machine safety

Once there was a news article about this child who had to be operated because a needle somehow got into his body. I read it and it gave me the heebie-jeebies. For one week I was so terrified that I had left needles like this and it had —-. Too horrified to even write about it. In that article, the doctors had said that a needle can pass through your body undetected until it gets stuck in some organ, like the liver. It read like one of those freak accidents which we think will never happen to us. But it can.

So keep those pins on the pincushion and needles in the needlebook or a separate box designated only for needles. Works better if there is a magnet in the box.

strawberry pincushion

Small kids will take anything foreign on to their mouth with no rhyme or reason so this is one safety thing seamstresses with small kids ought to be strict about.

So that is Rule No 1

Rule No 2 Place the scissors, closed and preferably inside protective covers when you are not using them.

Especially a rotary cutter. They ought to be inside their covers, all the time, except when you are using them. If you won’t I will start with another horror story about a finger getting sliced.

sewing safety rules

You can wear gloves to protect fingers from the sharp blade of the rotary cutter. But if you get distracted as you use it, you can still cut something. So concentrate as you use and be careful with fingers and keep the thing away after use.

Also never hold the scissors sharp side pointing straight when someone is in front of you. If that person accidentally falls or trips they will fall straight on to the pointed scissors.

Rule No 3 Keeping the pins in the mouth ( between teeth ) seems to be one adventure that many seamstresses indulge in while both their hands are occupied draping on the mannequin or fitting the client. This is one disaster waiting to happen and they are asking for it. 

Rule No 4 If you are a beginner start operating the machine with slow speed and if you are a kid do not operate at all – unless your mummy or teacher is nearby and they are ok with it.

Concentrate on the sewing and the movement of the needle. The rest can wait. This is applicable to beginners and the experienced.

Rule No 5 Keep your fingers well away from under the needle when you sew. This is basic common sense but I have sewn over my nail and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. So I thought I would include this. I had accidentally stepped on the pedal while I had kept my finger conveniently just under the needle, I don’t know why.

Do not rest your foot on the foot pedal when you are not sewing. It is not a footrest. You may accidentally set it on and sew over God knows where.

Rule No 6 Switch Off the machine when you are threading the needle and generally when you are not working the machine. This goes with what I said earlier

You should also Switch off the machine ( and remove the plug from the power point) if you are cleaning the machine or changing the light bulb or doing any repair work or the regular sewing machine maintenance.

Rule No. 7  Flying hazard – Needles can snap into two and break with the sharp point flying here and there, even to an eye, while you are sewing. For me, this happened because the presser foot got loosened as I was sewing and the needle hit the presser foot and snapped.

It can also happen if the needle is not the appropriate one for the fabric you are sewing. Or the accessories you are using is not appropriate for your particular machine.

Some times wrong needle plate can cause the needle to break- say you are using a straight needle plate and you accidentally changed the sewing mode to zig zag. 

Or even when you are sewing over pins. It is prudent to remove pins as you approach them as you sew. Better be safe.

When you are sewing over beads or sequins do wear protective eye gear. Beads can break and fly into the eye.

Rule No. 8 Keep the sewing room clean of plastic covers – people tripping on plastic covers is one major cause of accidents anywhere in the world. In a sewing room, there are always many plastic covers – the ones with the fabric scraps, the ones with the trims. When you are not using them, keep them in a separate drawer, not the floor

Ensure that sewing machine cords or any machine cords are not spread on the floor as a tripping hazard.

iron clothes

Rule No 9 One major accident in a sewing room is a hot iron scalding the hands. Keep your hands away from hot iron as you press. Do not try to touch the faceplate to see if the temperature of the iron is appropriate.

Keep kids well away from the hot iron. My daughter tried to check whether the iron is hot by keeping the palm on the sole plate. The rest is hospital history

Rule No 10 Always heed Sewing Machine safety tips in your sewing machine manual.

For Sewing machine Safety one of the first things every sewing manual says is not to use the machine with extension cords or multi-plug adaptors. Next sewing machine safety tip is not to touch the plug with wet hands. Keep the sewing machine cord protected from heat, cuts and other damage.

Most of the problems with a sewing machine can be self-repaired. You can look it up in your sewing machine manual and try to solve small problems. Check out this post on the simple solution to 25 common sewing machine problems.

But if you hear unusually loud sounds or burning smell or spark from your machine, Switch off the machine immediately and consult a repair service or the shop which sold you the machine. Electrical and mechanical repairs are best done by experts.

Any socket you plan to use to plug in a sewing machine should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider using an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults. www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

I had some concerns regarding sewing needle pricks and tetanus shots so read this question and answer site with some interesting answers. Here it is. Maybe it will help you and maybe you will have a good laugh. 

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