Let me introduce you to (drumroll...) my Standing Sewing Station!
For the past year or so, I've been having back pain that was exasperated by sitting. If I would sit for even 30 minutes at my desk, I would stand up feeling really stiff with a sore back. I didn't have a terrible case, but bad enough that I knew I needed to change something. I tried so many chairs- I switched from a regular office chair, to a exercise ball, to an exercise ball on a pedestal, back to a different office chair.
Nothing helped! Whatever chair I was using, I still had the problem. I saw a spine specialist- she told me that I was getting old, and I just have to accept the reality that I will have aches and pains. Really? I'm 52, in relatively good shape, and you are telling me that I'm "old" and this is normal? Well, that really ticked me off, and I just started researching on my own. Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.
I started reading about standing computer stations, and since I do spend a good chunk of my day at the computer, I decided to try one out. First, I just rigged up something temporary with plastic crates and footstools. After a week, the pain was completely gone! No joke.
Standing desks can be pricey, so rather than buy one, I decided to construct a more permanent version. I sent my daughter, who lives in Chicago, to IKEA with the shopping list to build this $22 standing desk. I had her get enough supplies to make two- one for my computer, and one for my sewing machine! They have the side tables in all kinds of fun colors, but I decided on black. I don't spend long amounts of time sitting at the sewing machine, but I figure that every bit that I don't sit might help in the long run.
I will admit that it did take some time to get used to it. My legs started feeling a little wobbly at first, but it didn''t take too long to get up to speed. I started this in late January, and am standing whenever I use my computer at home now. Standing all day is not good for you either, but I have a regular sitting desk at the school that I work at, and I spend most evenings sitting watching TV, so I'm still getting in plenty of sitting.
For sewing, it definitely takes more coordination, as you are effectively relying on one leg to steady yourself, and the other to run the foot pedal. You can see here that my cord is just barely long enough to still rest on the floor. If I were to need to do some sewing that requires more precision, I would definitely take it off the table and sit down. But for the majority of my sewing, standing is just fine. We didn't need the shelf part of the standing desk plan for the sewing machine, just the side table. The height is absolutely perfect for me when I am standing. I have a very clear view of the area right under the presser foot, without having to bend forward at all.
My serger doesn't have a long enough cord to sit on the table, so I have it sitting on 10" high storage container. It's not my dream solution, but it will work until I can find a 10" high table that is sturdier. My husband found a extra large computer mouse pad that fits underneath of it and helps stop it from traveling. This is important. Otherwise, the container will just slide once the serger starts up.
I've gotten a lot of very interesting information from the Katy Says blog about body alignment and prevention of back pain. I purchased two of her books- Alignment Matters and Move your DNA, and had several light bulb moments from each of things that I was doing that could be potentially damaging in the long run. I highly recommend checking it out if you are anyone you know has back pain issues.
My lesson learned- if you have back pain, don't stop sewing, start standing!