Enjoy five minutes of self-care.

Once you have your brush, its a free weekly treat!

Greater blood flow = less pain = more sewing time.

Why: We know that we detoxify through our sweat, and that sweat leaves through our pores...so it makes sense that creating a clear path will help speed up our body’s natural detoxification. However our liver eliminates toxins for us daily, without any help from dry brushing. So why dry brush?

Dry brushing increases blood flow and naturally improves circulation, which means your organs and muscles receive a better supply of oxygen.

Greater blood flow = less pain = more sewing time.

When: Morning - Brush to get your day started. Dry brushing is energizing as it increases blood flow so its great to in the morning before you shower. You may have a restless night if you do it before bedtime. It can take as little as two minutes, or a decadent ten. I personally don't have the attention span for more than about four minutes, though I've never timed it.

Where: Since you'll be naked, the bathroom with a locked door is a good idea.

What to use: Choose a brush with stiff natural fibres, synthetic fibres can be harsh on your skin. This is something best to buy in person, so you can be sure the bristles are not too rough. You can find decent brushes at the drugstore, but have a look, around your house, you may already have one tucked away.


Always brush towards the heart and on dry skin.

  • start with the bottom of your feet and make small circular movements, working your way up your legs

  • use a clockwise motion on your tummy

  • don't forget your back - which is why the long handles are best

  • for your arms, start with your hands moving up towards your shoulders

  • use firm, long upward strokes, or work in a circular motion where appropriate

  • the whole process takes between two and five minutes

There’s no wrong or right way to do it, any stimulation is better than none if you don't overdo it.

Go Easy! Aim for stimulation not harsh exfoliation, brushing should be gentle and never break the skin. Dry brushing stimulates your natural production of sebum, which means smoother skin in the end. Wash your brush once in a while to get rid of the accumulated dead skin cells or tap it against the edge of your sink.

I can't guarantee it will stimulate your lymphatic system or make your thighs look like they used to, but it can’t hurt!

I’ve had sexy orthotics in my runners for years, but my legs will still pay the price if I stand on a hard surface for too long. So even if you are already wearing the right shoes, you may still benefit from using an anti-fatigue mat in your sewing room. I have two, one in front of my longarm and one by my cutting table. When I have a lot of pressing to do (but not enough to sit down ) I just drag a mat over to the ironing board. When I'm working on a big quilt, I position both in front of the longarm.

Here in Canada, building supply and home furnishing stores all carry anti-fatigue mats in varying degrees of quality and price points. While speaking at the Festival of Quilts in the UK this summer, I was surprised at how many people were not familiar with them. I had lecture attendees from Germany, England and Ireland that had never noticed these for sale. They may have just not been looking for them, but they sure are now. My dad and brothers are machinists and I've worked in a few restaurants, so these are all too familiar to me.

Anti-fatigue mats are specifically designed to reduce the fatigue and discomfort that happens when standing on hard flooring for long periods of time. They provide a cushioned surface that encourages slight leg and calf muscle movements. These micro-movements increase blood flow and circulation , reducing the amount of stress and fatigue on the body. A perfect mat will be firm enough to support your weight but will give slightly under your feet to create instability and promote blood circulation, which relieves tension from pressure points in the lower back, knees, calves, ankles, and heels.

In 2012, two professors at Loughborough University, George Havenith and Lucy Dorman, conducted a study of anti-fatigue mats in a special laboratory created for the test. No not a sewing studio. The study involved 14 participants who stood on either a concrete floor (no-mat condition) or on anti-fatigue mats (mat condition) for 90-minute sessions over a 5-day period. Pain, discomfort, tiredness and fatigue that might develop after standing for prolonged periods were measured by a variety of methods; these included infrared thermal imaging, body temperature sensors placed on the participants, infrared photographs and post session questionnaires. After evaluating the results, the researchers found that standing for the 90-minute periods caused serious discomfort to the feet, legs and back of the study participants. The researchers also found it caused stiffness to the neck and shoulders. The study also concluded that the use of mats designed to reduce stresses on the feet and leg when standing for long periods made a statistically significant difference in helping to prevent many of these health concerns.

Things to consider when purchasing your mat:

  • Aesthetics – Quilters and sewcialists are creative makers that like colour and design. We are visual animals. Some mats are downright ugly. With so many quality mats in aesthetically pleasing colors and textures, why invest in something you’ll hate looking at every day? I purchased neutral ones that I plan to paint someday. If anyone has any tips on that, please let me know @ rose@roseparr.com

  • Size Matters- Softer and thicker may not always be better. Choose a mat that provides some elasticity, but at the same time is not so soft that you feel wobbly or cannot stand on comfortably. Mats that are 1/4″ or 3/8″ thick will provide very little relief for your feet and back. Halfway-decent mats begin at 5/8″, and the very best will be 3/4″ thick. Keep in mind, though, the material matters as much as the thickness. A 3/4″-thick sponge mat won’t provide as much support as a 5/8″-thick solid polyurethane mat.

  • Compression – Material compressibility is what determines how comfortable a mat will be for prolonged use. If a mat is too squishy and soft, it will compress too much (‘bottom out’) under your weight, becoming virtually as hard as the floor. They should be soft and have enough cushioning to provide relief and encourage subtle movements throughout the day. On the flip side, a mat that doesn’t compress at all will create too much pressure on the legs and feet.

  • Grip - Mats should have enough grip against the floor, so that they cannot easily slide, but not be so sticky that you can’t reposition them with your foot.

  • Sloped edges - This lessen the chance of having them become a tripping hazard.

  • Durable - Mats that are completely sealed, with no visible seams will ensure that no water from an overfilled steam iron or spilled coffee are absorbed into the mat.

All Anti-Fatigue Mats Are NOT Created Equal

Anti-fatigue standing mats were originally designed for factories, warehouses and industrial kitchens. Some of today's versions are great for 20 minutes in the kitchen and are often designed with bare or sock feet in mind. A more durable mat will withstand having shoes on it, yes, we all sew barefoot sometimes, but those pins can hurt. Office-grade standing mats or industrial mats are specifically designed for longer use and shoes. The best anti-fatigue mats will be much firmer and will maintain their buoyancy throughout the workday.

Just like a mattress it’s what’s inside that counts. Low-quality mats can’t withstand the daily pounding of feet without breaking down; they tend to lose their cushioning over time. However for the average sewing enthusiast who is not standing in one spot for an 8-hour shift, a less expensive version might work just fine.

I purchased mine from Homesense after they had been marked down to about $24 and they work fine for now.

Will I need to replace them sooner than later? Who knows!





Time to step away from your machine! These videos are nice and short which makes them easy to fit into your sewing time. They may not always be pretty, but they get the job done. The less I worry about how clean my sewing room is and how good my hair looks, then the more videos I can share. Watch, Stretch, give me a thumbs up if you like and if you want to see more stretches, please subscribe. Let me know if there are any specific stretches you'd like to see.

Stretching is an important habit to add to your daily routine and a great way to take a break from your busy day to recharge and strengthen your body and your mind. While I’m all about sneaking in stretches in between cutting, pressing and sewing - these quickies won't replace your regular yoga practise or stretching routines. When you are rewinding your bobbin or waiting for your iron to reheat, wiggle, jiggle, and stretch.

Benefits of Stretching for Sewcialites

Stretching has multiple benefits for both your body and your mind. Incorporating stretching into your daily routine allows muscles to be well circulated and ultimately healthier Stretching is an extremely important practice to add to your daily routine to be on your way to better health. Even if you are not planning on exercising vigorously, it is still important to stretch to receive multiple benefits for your body and your mind. Studies about the benefits of stretching have shown that stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, the range of motion of your joints. Motion is Lotion!

Better flexibility may:

· Help your joints move through their full range of motion

· Enable your muscles to work most effectively

· Decrease your risk of injury in all of your physical activities, whether it be your workout or lifting your kids.

· Increases blood flow, energizing all of you, not just as your muscles!

· Improve Posture, stretching strengthens your muscles and encourages proper alignment, your body posture will be less slouched and more vertical when standing and when sewing.

Stretching essentials. Before you jump into stretching, make sure you do it safely and effectively. While you can stretch anytime ( like while your bobbin is reloading), and anywhere, proper technique is key. Stretching incorrectly can do more harm than good.

Use these tips to keep stretching safe:

Don't consider stretching a warm up. You may hurt yourself if you’ve been at the sewing machine too long, stop sewing and start stretching too hard and fast. Before stretching, warm up with shoulder shrugs, stepping side to side or a trip to the loo. A dynamic warm up involves getting blood flow to your muscles with easy movement.

Strive for symmetry. Don’t just stretch your tight side, your “good” side will compensate and in time will give you trouble. Everyone's genetics for flexibility are a bit different. Rather than aiming for the flexibility of a teenager or gymnast, focus on having equal flexibility side to side (especially if you have a history of a previous injury). Flexibility that is not equal on both sides may be a risk factor for injury.

Focus on major muscle groups. Sewists tend to have tighter hip flexors, shoulders, lower back, wrists, chest, and forearms. Concentrate your stretches on muscles and joints that you routinely use in addition to the major muscle groups.

Don't bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can injure your muscle and add to muscle tightness. This doesn't mean you can't step side to side as you stretch your upper body.

Hold your stretch. Breathe normally and hold each stretch for 20 - 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to start with just 10 -15 seconds and work your way up to a full minute.

Don't aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you've pushed too far. Ease off to where you feel the stretch, but not the pain, then hold the stretch.

Use it or Lose it. Stretching improves flexibility. The more you stretch, the more you move your muscles, and the more flexible you become. Over time, stretching helps you increase your range of motion, but it can decrease again if you stop stretching.

Benefits of Stretching for the Mind

Calmed Mind

Stretching releases endorphins and provides your mind with a mental break. It allows you to recharge and refresh the blood flow throughout your body, resulting in a calmer and more peaceful mindset.

Release Tension

Many individuals carry stress in their muscles. When feeling overwhelmed, muscles tighten acting as a defensive strategy. The more you stretch, the less tense muscles will be. Stretching is a highly effective form of stress management.

Increase Energy

Because stretching allows for an increased blood and nutrient flow throughout the body. Not only will you feel refreshed, but also your energy levels will be increased, allowing you to keep on sewing..

Know when to exercise caution

Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns. If you have a chronic condition, injury, or a strained muscle, stretching it may cause further harm. If you are stretching and you feel pain, it is crucial for you to ease up on the tense muscle to prevent damaging it further. Stretching does not mean you can't get injured or totally prevent an overuse injury.