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Pumping Iron

Your pressing station is a big part of your sewing room. It's worth taking a few minutes to set things up correctly.

This board is just a tad too high for me. Notice how my wrist is raised and slightly bent ?

That's because the ironing board is set too high, which will place strain on the wrist and the shoulder as it raises as well. The shoulder scrunch is so slight and difficult to see, but the tension will accumulate and eventually place strain on the neck as well. This can also lead to tension headaches.

We want the motion to come from the 90 degree angle of the elbow – from elbow to flat hand, neutral wrist while holding the iron – not to the top of the ironing surface, because then we need to bend wrist up. For most people its about hip height.

Too often we set the board up at waist height. Today's irons may not be as heavy as older models but they are larger, which means we need to compensate for the size.

The Family and Consumer Sciences department at Ohio State University provide a simple calculation to determine the perfect height for your ironing board.  "Measure the height that will allow your elbow to be bent at a 90 degree angle while you iron.  Subtract 4″ from that.  This will be the correct height for your ironing board" states Lisa Barlage, from Ohio State.  In addition she suggests keeping a footstool, six to nine inches high, near your ironing board. By placing your left foot on it when you stand to iron, it may prevent back strain.


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