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Ergonomic Sewing

cycler1729 | Posted in General Discussion on

What is the correct height for a sewing table?  I see that a lot of people are using computer desks but since the sewing machine sits on top of the desk the machine becomes much higher than the top of the desk (where before it used to be included in the table and the machine was flat on the table). 

So what height does the desk need to be to allow for the extra height of the sewing machine (even allowing that the sewing machine might be tilted forword to remove a couple of inches of height)?

By the way – does anyone else sew barefoot?  I was sitting at my machine and I had slipped off my shoes and when I went to use the pedal I forgot that they were off and I had the greatest feeling of control over the machine!  It was so much easier to sew!  (Yes, I am very careful about pins and things!)



  1. dressed2atee | | #1

    I sew barefoot all the time!

  2. cynthia2 | | #2

    Yes, I sew barefoot almost all the time.  Only exception is the dead of winter, when I'll put on a pair of light slippers.  I seem to have much better control of the speed when I'm "driving" barefoot.  I've been known to sew in my underwear, too, if I'm in the middle of fitting something.  Just have to remember to draw the curtains lest the little animals in the woods behind my house complain (fortunately, we have no neighbors behind us)  :)   Cynthia

  3. LadyTaraC | | #3

    I use a student desk as a sewing desk.  Actually when I purchased it (approx 10 years ago) it was called a sewing desk in the catalog.  The machine is much higher as you have stated.  I use a typing table for my overlock which is a lot lower and is a bit more comfortable.  However, having said this,  I also use an adjustable chair that rises very high.  It's working well for me.  I have read that one should wear shoes while sewing but I sew barefoot as we don't wear shoes inside the house.

  4. User avater
    dayenu | | #4

    the height of a machine depends on your height. You want to be able to sit at it comfortably with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. and not have to hunch shoulders or lift your arms up high. I use a roberts table - like a koala only cheaper- and i removed the wheels because I am 5 feet tall. I also have it inset in the cabinet with a plastic insert to make the sewing table at about 28 inches high

    My pressing table is 30 inches high and my cutting table is 36 inches high.

    My serger is at the same height as my sewing machine but my embroidery machine is higher simply because that's the only space I have. I often stand to hoop it but sit for the thread changes.

    as for sewing barefoot. nope, I always wear at minimum, flip flops. although I can apprpeciate the allure. ( smile)

  5. Teaf5 | | #5

    As someone has already mentioned, the height should be related to your height while sitting. The science of ergonomics is fairly well developed, and I'm sure you can find some websites on this topic, especially if you search for "Ergonomics for keyboarding." or "for work spaces."You want your chair to fit so that you have good posture and so that your arms will reach out perpendicular to the floor--you really want to avoid a position that makes you bend your wrists up or down to reach the sewing platform, which can lead to very painful repetitive stress syndrome.I use an adjustable, armless task chair with a conventional sewing machine cabinet, and I try to emulate the perfect posture my early piano teachers preached. Also important is a lot of light in the right places so that I'm not squinting or hunching over to see my work. If you start with a good chair, you can then prop up or chop off table legs to make a good fit.

  6. User avater
    Becky-book | | #6

    I Always sew barefoot; much better control!
    Table or desk height relates to your height, sitting.
    I am short of leg so my chair seat was low to match my legs, but that aggravated my back and neck. So now my chair is raised to get my arms at the right level; and a wooden box under the desk supports the pedal and my other foot. It looks a bit odd but it works for me.Becky

  7. SueinNE | | #7

    Hi, the best way to determine the height needed is sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor, and elbows bent at a 90 degree angle.  that height should be the table height.  I have an old sewing table, about 29 ' high,  my 80+ year old neightbor used until she died, then she left it to me. We are both shorter than average. You should not have to hunch your shoulders or lean back to see your work. 

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