How I learned left-handed sewing
Growing up, my mom always told me I was special. I, and 10% of the population have something in common with the following people, maybe you’ve heard of them: Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, Marie Curie, and many more. What do we have in common? We are all lefties, or ‘south paws,’ as we’re sometimes called. (We all also, I suspect, smudge while writing and curse spiral bound notebooks.)
In my family, out of five children, my brother and I are the only left-handers. There are family rumors that my great-grandmother was a leftie, but they are unconfirmed, as left-handedness was discouraged at that time. Studies show that lefties tend to be more creative and artistic. I will say we were both imaginative from a young age! My brother is now a veterinarian, and performs all of his surgeries with his left hand dominant—except, he says, he struggles with scissors. My mom taught us both to sew when we were in preschool. I wonder what challenges she faced showing two left-handed sewers how to stitch. As a veterinary surgeon, my brother performs his own brand of left-handed sewing. So, how does being a leftie creep into quilting?
I have to admit, I’m a conformist in a right-hander’s world. Most tools, especially scissors, are made for right-handed people and I’ve learned to adapt. So, I write, eat, and hand sew left handed, but almost everything else is done righty! I’ve been working on some projects from this lovely Hand Sewing eBook, although I haven’t tried any of them with my right hand!
Have you ever run into a quilting problem that was caused by your handedness? I had an interesting experience with a sewing machine the other day. This particular model has an automatic needle threader. To activate the threader one must pull down a lever with one’s left hand, while manipulating thread with one’s right hand. I cannot do this. I tried for a solid 20 minutes before calling it quits. My right-hand does not know how to delicately move the thread that way! (I thread my home machine without a threader with my left hand). I have been using these handy needle threaders lately. Do any left-handed quilters out there have any tricks to share?
I use scissors with my right hand, and I also rotary cut with my right hand. This weekend, I tried, for the sake of this blog, to rotary cut with my left hand. Not recommended unless that’s your usual folks! It felt weird, and rotary blades are a little too sharp to play around with. I recommend this glove to help keep your fingers safe while rotary cutting.
The bottom line is, embrace your differences, and keep quilting!
Comment with any left-handed sewing hacks you’ve come across in your quilting career!
Check out a few of my favorite left-handed sewing resources and tools: