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Let me preface this standing desk / sewing studio post with this: sit, stand, squat, kneel – work however feels right to you and don’t feel bad about it. I hate when self-help bloggers tell me how to live my life and that’s the last thing I want to do here. (Can you tell I'm a bit of a rebel?)
Just remember that this current infatuation I'm having with my standing desk is my perspective, right now, in this moment. It might change! And it’s not “right.” Just because you’re reading it on a highly credible blog ;), doesn’t mean that it’s scientific fact and you need to buy one ASAP. Maybe saying all of that is totally unnecessary, but, I just wanted you to read this post with that thought in your head. Moving on!
As you may have seen on social media, my sewing studio has transformed into standing room only. That’s right, people. I am now computing, designing, cutting, ironing and sewing all while standing up. I had various reasons for this change and now that I’ve made the jump I have a few tips as well.
Sewing while Standing: To Simply Feel Good
Let’s start with a very deep and complex quote from author, Neil Gaiman, about writing and staying focused, “[When struggling with writer's block, I ask myself] Have I had enough sleep? Have I eaten? Would it be a good idea to go for a short walk?”
Did you catch that? It was some seriously high brow philosophical reasoning. Let me break it down. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our creativity is to not create – it’s to take a nap or eat a snack or stand up instead of sitting down. After listening to a podcast with Tim Ferris, I heard this wonderful little nugget of truth, “To live a slightly better life today than yesterday is to simply eat, sleep, and move better than you did the day before and avoid people who drain you.”
If great lives are composed of great days, I want to try my best to maximize each moment and feel my best in those moments. So. Here we are. Standing. Is that the answer to all of life’s problems? No. But could it cause a positive ripple effect in my life? I hope so!
Sewing Studio Tour
To give you a clear picture of how this standing desk fits into my sewing studio, let me take you on a quick tour. In that tour, I'll also share with you some of my favorite things, and possibly, where you to can get them.
First, we walk into my second floor sewing studio. It's a snowy and slightly overcast day (very classic Chicago in January.)
If you read my post on creating a design wall, you will have seen that previously that entire wall was covered in cotton batting and used as a creative design wall. After working in my studio for half a year, and understanding my workflow better, I decided that I didn't need to have one of my four walls permanently dedicated as a design wall. I do a lot of work on the computer and only quilt a couple days a week. Wouldn't I rather have a pretty quilt hanging?
Read my How to Hang a Quilt tutorial to see exactly how I did it.
Let me also add that these Command Cord Clips were a lifesaver when trying to wrestle down all of the cords hanging from my desk and throughout my studio. After posting about my cord problems on Instagram, one of you amazing people told me about these. THANK YOU!
This sewing studio tour would not be complete without a cameo from my furry co-worker, Scrappy...
Note about the table: I know someone's going to ask in the comments where to get my cutting table. Unfortunately, I looked on the IKEA website for a link to this table and couldn't find one. It may be an in-store-only item or it may be sold out. Since IKEA rarely changes up their inventory, and I just got it in 2017, I would guess that you could still find it in the store. I found this in the kitchen department and it was labeled as a kitchen table with matching high-seated chairs.
EDIT: The table has been found! Thanks, for the fabulous sleuthing, Kristin! Here is the link.
Sewing while Standing: Some Thoughts and Tips
What I recommend if you choose to get a standing desk:
- Wear sneakers or shoes with cushion and good arch support. Currently, it’s cold here in Chicago, so I wear fuzzy slippers when prancing about my house. Sadly, those cozy slippy slips cause my feet to ache and legs to fatigue if I try standing at my desk for more than 45 minutes at a time while wearing them. Enter sneakers! Wearing cushioned gym shoes is a fantastic upgrade and dramatically prolongs my standing stamina.
- Get an anti-fatigue mat. This basically does what sneakers do – gives your feet cushion and support. If you’re a fashionista, and can’t be caught outside the gym wearing sneakers, this is a great option. My one (major) drawback with these mats is that they are total eye sores. Like Ugg-o-ly! (See below for a pic of mine.) I really like the added energy and the way I feel after a day of standing compared to a day of sitting, so I’ll deal. But I just finished styling my sewing studio and this mat is a bummer to look at. NOTE: If you aren’t ready to invest in another gadget after purchasing a standing desk, try folding a yoga mat and standing on that. It might be enough padding.
- Keep it fun by changing things up. I'm not big into tech toys. My husband is the one who's all about that. However, I do love gadgets and accessories – especially exercise related ones. Below you can see that I got a funny little rocking balance board. By standing and balancing on this (and trust me, it's not that hard to balance. You won't fall off.) you can work your core muscles ever so slightly. I haven't done it enough to see a big difference in my core strength, but it's still nice to change things up and rock out on it for a while every day.
- Give it time. There’s an adjustment period. I was smiling and giggling to myself like a fool on day one. The novelty of standing while working was so exciting! By day two...oy vey! My lower back was sore. My feet hurt. And the novelty was gone. Where’s my chair?! It was then that I realized that standing vs. sitting was not always going to be an easy choice. I changed my mindset to (now don’t laugh) that of an athlete training for a goal. (Did you laugh? I told you not to. OK OK, you can. I’m laughing too at the picture of me decked out in sweatbands and tube socks training for the big day I can stand without sitting.) When one trains for a marathon, they don’t start off running 26 miles. No! Sometimes they start off just running 3. So in the beginning, if I could only stand comfortably for a few hours a day – that’s still a win. Also during my mindset change, I realized the importance of walking around, shifting from side to side, randomly moving my body around and periodically practicing my kegels. TMI? My target audience is 95% women – you can handle it. 😉
- Take breaks. No matter what shoes you wear or how many cushioned pads you stand on, you will eventually get tired of standing. To counteract aching feet and muscles, I do random stretches on the floor (aka Quilt Yoga™), lay in corpse pose on the ground for a few minutes, or even sometimes, lower my table and just sit for a while. If you search for “quick yoga” you’ll find some great videos to guide you. Here's a nice short one I have enjoyed...
Sewing While Standing
After posting about this on social media I've gotten a few questions about sewing while standing.
- Does the table shake when you sew? A little bit. If I slam on the gas, and sew at max speed, the table will shake a bit. I have not found it to be a problem, however if that is a deal breaker for you, you should look into getting a sturdy sewing cabinet. See this article for more info. When sewing at a steady pace, the table does not shake at all.
- What brand is your standing desk? The brand is fully and the design I have is called Jarvis.
- Is it hard to move the table up and down? Nope! I just press a button and the table smoothly lowers up and down.
Let me know if you have any more questions about sewing while standing or how I utilize my sewing studio. If you have a standing desk and have any tips for us, please share in the comments! I hope you enjoyed my tour and happy sewing! xo
EDIT: In the comments and on Instagram many of you have asked where I keep all of my "stuff." I prefer to work in a tidy space, so as much as possible, I hide my stuff in a walk-in closet. I posted this pic of that closet on my IG stories a few months ago, but here it is again. I call this closet my panic room and sometimes take my laptop in there and work. Being surrounded by my fabric and quilts relax me. 😉