If you are right-handed, you have probably never considered the difficulties of left-handed sewing. Every task involved in sewing projects favours right-handed people, so to mark International Left Handers Day on Friday 13th let’s consider our lefty sewists.
Looking Back in Time
Back in the 1600s, left-handed people were suspected of witchcraft and as recently as the mid-1900s, left-handed children were punished into using their right hand. Thankfully, today lefties are accommodated and encouraged for their uniqueness, but there are still many challenges.
Early sewing machines had a hand crank and because it took strength to operate, it was placed on the right-hand side where most people were stronger. Once sewing machines moved to a foot pedal operating system, the design of the machine stayed the same. This is why the modern sewing machine still has a left-sided orientation.
Adaptations for Sewing as a Left Hander
While lefties manage to adapt to sewing machines, they can use special left-handed scissors, but these are often hard to find and more expensive. Have you considered how tricky it is for lefties to use something as simple as an iron?
Many left-handed sewing enthusiasts agree that rotary cutters and automatic needle threaders are almost impossible for them to use. The ironing conundrum can be solved by using a steam press, which is more ambidextrous.
International Left Handers Day is an opportunity for right-handers to consider the challenges that lefties have to endure. Perhaps try and do a few tasks using your left hand and you will soon empathise with your southpaw friends.
Our left handers must be admired for their ability to adapt to what is largely a right-handed world – especially when it comes to careers and hobbies that involve handwork.