Best position for sewing?

Hi all, since I,ve had fibro I,ve stopped drawing and painting and taken up sewing, which I really love. However, whenever I hand sew I end up with a bad neck and shoulders, even after a short time, mayb because I,m looking down onto my lap. Has anyone got any tips on how they manage their sewing, tables, cushions etc., I,m determined not to give up! Thanxxxxx

42 Replies

  • Afternoon Wild woman,

    I do quite a lot of different art/sewing projects, In order to be comfortable at my desk I have a rolled towell to put my arms over and I wear a neck brace soft one.

    In my chair I have a table tray on a cushion which raises things up and makes a tremendous difference when I am sewing. I tend to work in little bits and then rest between,

    Wishing you loads of luck do let us know what you end up using.


  • Hi gins, thank you so much, your tips are exactly what I was looking for, I,ll give them all a go. What do you enjoy creating? Xxx

  • I am a felter I work on landscapes in felt. I draw I write, I paint, I am a florist though my fingers have topped me wiring, I tried jewelery but fingers cannot manage that but felting is wicked :) what about you Wildwoman?

  • Hi gins, I used to be a wildlife artist, but I just love felting! I mainly do wet felted pictures, and I make wet felted scarves too. Is any of your work posted, I,d love to see it! I do like hand sewing,

    And I,m just about to start on a quillow. This wend I,ve made a wrist pincushion which I,m so pleased with, and an apron out of material from the charity shop. I,ve learned how to mitre a corner and put the ties on properly. Today an apron, tomorrow the world! Have a good day xxx

  • Hi wildwoman Like gins I also have a lap tray and support my elbows on cushions so that I am only moving my lower arms. I do the same when typing only with the computer an a table

    I also swap between playing games on the laptop and doing craft projects so that I dont spend too long with my hands in one position sue

  • Hi sue, thanks for reply, really helpful, I,m encouraged that I can continue with something I really enjoy. I,m glad I,m not the only one who succumbs to games, I,m dreadful for wasting time that way, what,s your favourite?

  • At the moment papa pear. I have been stuck on candy crush for weeks.It`s driving me crazy.

    When I get bored with that I can always stumble :P

  • I,m stuck on papa pear. My iPad is very old, so candy crush keeps dropping out. What,s stumble? Xx

  • Stumble is a web site. where by clicking on the stumble symble it gives you random pages from the web. click and you get a resipie. click again and you could get pics from around the world.

    You can also choose what interests you have and opt for just one of your interests

    I don`t know how to set it up my son put it on when he gave me the lap top. Try typing in stumbleupon if that doesn`t work come back to me and I will ask him when he gets back sue

  • I enjoy the sherlock puzzles.

  • Hi wildwoman

    I sincerely hope that you are feeling well as you possibly can be today? Sorry but I know nothing about sewing, but I wanted to wish you all the best and I genuinely hope that you can find an answer to your question.

    Take care

    Ken x

  • Aw come on Ken a talented guy like you, surely you can sew. :P hugs xx

  • I bet if there was a biscuit in the offing, ken would sew! Xx

  • Did somebody say biscuits?

  • No! I do try but I end up drawing blood with the needle and my wife doesn't like blood! So I have to buy new stuff when I get a hole in it.

  • my Dad could knit and learned to sew and darn - which stood him in good stead in the RAF.

  • I think that is wonderful. Sadly, I am a useless, all thumbs bloke who cannot knit, sew, draw or paint! But I do have my moments?

  • I sew using a standing frame, so that I don't have to hold it up and sew. I can't do it for very long, because my hands hurt too much, but I can do it for longer when it's being 'held' in front of me by a stand.

  • Thanks Lucy, see reply below.xx

  • Hi wildwoman my mum used to use a standing tappistry frame it was one that swivels up and down so you could have it at different angles she used it a lot for cross stitching aswell, I can't spell I know good luck hope you find somthing that suits you . Sithy

  • Thanks for that, there,s one hiding somewhere in the house, if I whistle do you think it,ll come? Xx

  • you can give it a go you never know it might jump out but watch out for the hidden dust from the darkest depths of the cupboard lol.

  • Oh you,ve sussed me! There are piles of dust everywhere, but I do have a very mucky husband (engineer, greasy hands and little bits of stuff everywhere) and two dogs, oh, and fibro! Xxxx

  • I was going to suggest a tapestry stand :)

  • Hi Wildwoman,

    Know just how u feel. This fibro's a real pain in the neck for me too. Now I channel my creative "talents" into gardening. Its still painful, but easier while I'm moving around. Good exercise, too!

  • Thanx spiro, yes, gardening is good for the soul. I,ve just bought a kneeler with handles, makes me feel 100, but once I,m down I,m a bit like a beetle on its back! You,ve got to laugh I suppose, but today in the garden hasn't been too bad, I think the key is to keep changing activities, but I do get a bit carried away and forget. Hope you have a good day. Xx

  • You've been in the garden today? Hasn't stopped raining here all weekend. I agree w. you about changing what u do. If only we had the discipline to practise what we preach!

  • Only slight drizzle here, no real rain for ages, I,m in E Anglia, you? I think the prob with changing activity is if you,re creating, it's hard to stop the flow, it takes long enough to get started! That,s my excuse anyway! Xxx

  • I'm in Devon...& it's still raining! You're SO right! I used to be a librarian but now I can't even read a book for more than a few minutes at time. Same with writing/typing - I have to leave out half of what I want to say cos it gets too painful. It doesn't really get me down now, tho'...just so long as I can get out in the garden. The sun WILL come out tomorrow, so they say!

  • Hi wild women I love to make my own cards but I have arthritis in my fingers and hands as well as fibro. I just do it for short periods of time. It takes me a while but I get there in the end x

  • Hi Huskybike

    I sincerely hope that you are feeling as well as you possibly can be today? My daughter makes all her own cards and they are fantastic. I keep them afterwards as I love them so much. She has made me a Dalek card a Cyberman card and loads of others.

    Last Christmas she got my 4 year old grandson to make me a science fiction card, and I will treasure it for as long as I live!

    Take care

    Ken x

  • How clever to make cards, there are some wonderful things to help you make them aren,t there, I sometimes watch on the tv crafting channels. Xx

  • Hiya WW glad you put this post on as I have the same problem. I also have sjrogrens so bad sight causes me to make a lot of mistakes (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). Don't give up. Happy crafting. Xxx flossy xx

  • Hi flossy, Thanx for your reply, I,ve had a lot of good tips and encouragement, so don't you give up either, and, I,ve got really good at disguising mistakes! Xxx

  • Hi. Wildwoman.

    Great that you are crafting,its the best for taking your mind off of things. What a sense of satisfaction when you have finished something. Well, I knit, sew, quilt (badly) paint, jewellry make, garden and dabble in all sorts of things. I have just finished doing 100 wedding invites and it has knocked me for six. I did a bit at a time, then turned to something else to move other muscles, plus gives eyes and brain a break. My house looks like a junk shop there is so much crafting in it. I have a good daylight (well a couple ) lights which angle over my work, plus I think it helps the vitamin D topup. I do no more than 2 hours at any one time. My tip, get the best equipment you can afford. I got given some KnitPro knitting needles and what a difference on my hands, arms and wrists!!! Buy good sewing needles (gold tipped) and decent thread and fabric, it makes sewing all the more easier. It is true, you get what you pay for! You MUST take regular breaks, put it down, get up walk around and do something different. I like a good cushion at my back and a soft comfy chair. Bring the work up to your eyes, not your neck down to the work. Good posture is very important I love my garden and hubby has to drag me away to give me a break. One reply said a table on her lap, I have one of those bed tables with fold down legs which can sit over my legs and bring my work up to me, plus you can get those tables with the bottom bits which slide under your chair, usually in those small booklets you get with saturday, sunday papers. Be very very proud of what you finish, its a masterpiece and give yourself a big pat on the back, you've achieved something fantastic. Carry on crafting. ps learnt a lot from Create and Craft tv if you ignore that fact its a shopping channel, the demos are great and theres lots of info on how to do things.

    Crafty hugs, Lynn x

  • Hi, Thanx so much for your post, I appreciate your taking the time. I,ll certainly take it on board. I am enjoying sewing a lot, but I have today decided to try and get back to painting. I,ve had a huge loss of confidence, but, having got some of my drawings into a local gallery, I thought mayb I,m ready to have a go. I,m not giving up on the sewing though. I do take your point about stopping regularly, but I do find it hard once I,m in the flow! Thanx again and lots of hugs to you too! Sally xxx

  • Hi,

    Wow, if you have got drawings in a gallery you must be good. I too sell the occasional one at exhibitions (mind you I've just as many that don't make it). Funny how life goes, when I was down I was introduced through a friend to a lovely lady who lives locally who paints (now she's really good). Anyway she runs a local art group and I was invited to come along. Just 2 hrs a week, but gets me out and socialising, met lovely people, got some good tuition and manage to sell some stuff including my jewellry. I can't give up my other crafts, I love them all. I've some Inktense Watercolour pencils which I am trying out on different fabrics, the results are amazing, yet using them on watercolour paper I'm not so good. I guess there are some others in your family who can draw or paint and appreciate what you do. Give yourself a great big pat on the back for being so creative. I've just been making fabric horseshoes for weddings, with lace, pearls and crystals and wedding garters. Just the sort of stuff you can sew in front of the telly by hand. Going to take them up to my hairdressers as they recommend me for wedding fascinators.Anyway, keep sewing and drawing,

    gentle crafty hugs Lynn xx

  • Hi Lynn, your art group sounds good for you. When I was at art class I found it really hard to produce anything because I like to work alone with just the radio. I,d love to see some of your work, can you post it somewhere? My only family is two daughters and their families, they support me, as does my husband, but they,r not really artistic. Well done for getting in with the fascinators, that sounds like a winner, especially with the wedding season coming up. Good luck with that, i love hand sewing. I meant to write to you about something different, I,ve just remembered - in this month,sLeisure Painter, there,s an article about using Inktense on fabric, I like the results. I don't often buy this mag, but this issue is quite good. Keep in touch, with love, Sally xxxx

  • I adore sewing it was or still is my passion and what I find is pump as many pillows as possible behind you, for the neck those travel U shaped supports are brill, although I do have a neck collar which I have to wear. those U shaped pillows will stop your neck dropping into a uncomfortable position hence saving a lot of pain later on, this I know as I have spondylitis in neck plus prolapsed discs. Hope these help and do continue with the sewing it takes your mind away from the pain for a short while.

  • Hi I do patchwork and quilting ,if you use a sewing machine , I got my son to cut a hole in an old computer desk to drop the machine threw ,so the bed of the machine is level with the table top , so no strain on my wrist's , I also have a proper office chair with lots of padding and arms on it so I can rest my arm and plenty of day light bulbs so I don't damage my eyes , I also do a bit of beading and embroidery happy crafting x

  • Hi Wildwoman, You and I appear to have traded places regarding therapeutic pastimes - you have given up your drawing and painting and I have given up my sewing. I used to do lots and lots of cross-stitch and conventional embroidery (which I found much quicker and less taxing). Not sure if this will be applicable to your current sewing projects, but I used to use a frame on a stand that I could use in a comfy armchair. On days when I had to sit bolt upright, the frame would go on the dining table and I could manage that way. The one item I could never do without was a daylight bulb in my task light (a real godsend). I also used to do quilting in this fashion too, sadly nowadays, I cannot hold a needle (which kind of defeats the object of relaxing sewing hours) so I have picked up pencils and sketch away - I am awaiting the arrival of some pencil grips which should help my problem. Good luck with your sewing, it is a wonderful pastime and so very rewarding. D xxx

  • Hello, ive been in the some boat since fibro. I lost my beading business from it. I still craft tho when i feel ok.

    These are the things ive done to help:-


    My workstation has been change, to a high breakfast table. Helps my neck /back.

    I wear a back support fabric brace from ebay. It put you in the right posture . Its like elastic type thing. 4.99

    I have a posture stool which i can change the hight of. 49.00

    I have a neck support pillow with is like a rolled up towel which i lay with that under my neck after doing my work.4.99

    You can buy a embroidery frame which you can sit infront of so ur neck is straight and not looking down. Good with a posture stool. Seen alot in charity shops.

    I have suffered from repetitive strain and forward head disorders before fibro. Now fibro gives me the same sort of pains so this is what helps me.

    All this messing around just to do some craft work,gets to ya abit x

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