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Thread: At what height is your sewing table?

  1. #1
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    After sitting at my machine for a few hours I get a tired/sore spot across my back. I'm thinking it's from the height of my sewing surface and/or my posture. I can work on my posture, but am interested in hearing about the "ergonomics" of the height of my machine and my body. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    I have a low table 26 high which is perfect for me. My other tables for other machine are reg normal 29-30 inches which I find too high so I have an office chair I adjust height so I'm higher..

  3. #3
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    My sewing machine is recessed into the sewing table; I raise an office chair as high as possible to still have my knees fit underneath. If your sewing machine sits on top of a table, you need to sit higher.

    Basically your elbows should be at about the same height as the surface you are sewing on. Theoretically you should be able to rest your forearms on the sewing surface.

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    It's not just the height of the table ... also the height your machine sits at. Eg. most portable machines sit on top of the table, so that raises it higher still. Also, the chair height you are using

    So for the ergonomics of things ... think right angles and you've got it sorted out.

    Chair ... sit with your legs/hips at a little more than 90; also feet flat on the floor, knees 90. I bought a drafting chair, which let me get higher than a normal office chair.

    Sewing surface ... elbows again bent about 90 will determine where your sewing surface should be.

    Table height ... the above determines the table height. And remember, if your sewing machine sits on top, instead of into the table, the table height is different.

    That's the ergonomics that I've been told ... though you need to see what works best for you and adapt from there.

    The same right angles spill over to your cutting surface ... stand at the table, and be able to stand straight and tall, as you cut. So 90 for your elbows bent and touching the cutting surface determines the height.

  5. #5
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    My table is about 36" if I go any lower I have to fold my legs around the base of my chair ahd get leg cramps my DH made it for me several yrs ago the top was a dye table from a shoe store I manged

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    It's not just the height of the table ... also the height your machine sits at. Eg. most portable machines sit on top of the table, so that raises it higher still. Also, the chair height you are using

    So for the ergonomics of things ... think right angles and you've got it sorted out.

    Chair ... sit with your legs/hips at a little more than 90; also feet flat on the floor, knees 90. I bought a drafting chair, which let me get higher than a normal office chair.

    Sewing surface ... elbows again bent about 90 will determine where your sewing surface should be.

    Table height ... the above determines the table height. And remember, if your sewing machine sits on top, instead of into the table, the table height is different.

    That's the ergonomics that I've been told ... though you need to see what works best for you and adapt from there.

    The same right angles spill over to your cutting surface ... stand at the table, and be able to stand straight and tall, as you cut. So 90 for your elbows bent and touching the cutting surface determines the height.
    Thank you for this, QuiltE! Ever since I began piecing quilts in earnest about 8 months ago, I've had trouble with both my median and ulnar nerves (symptoms: both sides of both my hands go numb when I sleep with my arms in a flexed position). I finally realized that sewing and these symptoms were correlated.

    But I didn't know how to fix the problem. Your 90 degree suggestion sounds right to me. I'll give it a try!

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sushi
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    It's not just the height of the table ... also the height your machine sits at. Eg. most portable machines sit on top of the table, so that raises it higher still. Also, the chair height you are using

    So for the ergonomics of things ... think right angles and you've got it sorted out.

    Chair ... sit with your legs/hips at a little more than 90; also feet flat on the floor, knees 90. I bought a drafting chair, which let me get higher than a normal office chair.

    Sewing surface ... elbows again bent about 90 will determine where your sewing surface should be.

    Table height ... the above determines the table height. And remember, if your sewing machine sits on top, instead of into the table, the table height is different.

    That's the ergonomics that I've been told ... though you need to see what works best for you and adapt from there.

    The same right angles spill over to your cutting surface ... stand at the table, and be able to stand straight and tall, as you cut. So 90 for your elbows bent and touching the cutting surface determines the height.
    Thank you for this, QuiltE! Ever since I began piecing quilts in earnest about 8 months ago, I've had trouble with both my median and ulnar nerves (symptoms: both sides of both my hands go numb when I sleep with my arms in a flexed position). I finally realized that sewing and these symptoms were correlated.

    But I didn't know how to fix the problem. Your 90 degree suggestion sounds right to me. I'll give it a try!
    PLEASE NOTE ... I am not a medical professional. If you're having symptoms so severe, you should seek advice from a trained medical professional to ensure the diagnosis is correct, and the proper steps to resolution be taken.

  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    My machine bed is at 38" and I 'sit' on a high stool with my right heel on a block of wood so I push down on the foot pedal to operate the machine. Left foot stays on a rung of the stool and shoulders and arms are as they should be. You may think I'm quite tall because of this arrangement, but I'm just 5'3". It sounds really weird, but it works perfectly for me and I never get aches or pains no matter how long I sew.

  9. #9
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Super Member tellabella's Avatar
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    My cutting table is 34 inches because I am not very tall...I too had a lot of back pain since I sew lots of drapery and was using my sons' ping pong table...now it is better...felt awkward at first but it has really helped my back...I did a lot of reading about ergonomics too and read that your cutting table should be 1 inch lower than your elbows, (when you angle them) that is so that you don't smash your elbows into it...and for me it was good advice...my chair goes up and down as I need and I also have a taller stool with a back so that I can also sit at the cutting table..

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