How often do you think about your hands? I marvel at my daughters tiny hands daily. Among the everyday things—like combing my hair and fixing a bowl of cereal—my hands do some marvelous things too. In as little as a day these hands can draft a pattern, cut fabric and then transform it with needle and thread into a costume. My days are full and can stretch into the night to meet a tight deadline, leaving my hands achy and sore.
That sore feeling in my hands is a sign of strain and muscle fatigue, caused by repetitive motion. Our hands are made up of many small bones, muscles tendons and nerves. Repetitive movement and stress on the tendons may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or tenosynovitis—both painful conditions that affect the thumb and wrist and are common to sewist. One way i’m working to avoid repetitive stress injury is switching up how I cut. Instead of using scissors for cutting fabric I’m using a rotary cutter.
Switching your cutting tool is one step, but proper posture while cutting is just as important. Using an Olfa handle is a great way to get a lot of cutting done with minimal stress. I’ve fitted this cute purple Olfa Splash with an Endurance Blade to show you my prefered cutting posture.
Keep your wrist as straight as you can, holding the handle in the middle of your hand with your thumb relaxed in the divot. Place your pointer finger on top of the grip, applying even pressure without pressing too hard. If your finger is turning red loosen up a bit! With a sharp blade you should be able to cut your fabric with minimal pressure.
Remember to take lots of breaks, stepping away from the cutting table for a cup of coffee or a short walk gives your hands a chance to rest. Try some hand exercises if you get sore, like these from Harvard Health.
With a bit of practice you’ll be cutting quickly and comfortably with your new rotary cutter in no time. For more sewing tips, trick and a peek at my sewing for for film and television follow me on Instagram @hollywoodseamstress.
Jessica was also featured in our Summer Maker Series
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Disclaimer- Information from this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.