How to Light Your Sewing Space

Reduce eye strain, Improve your posture, and Have more fun with better light: 
Proper lighting makes for a more beautiful and comfortable sewing experience. Read on to learn about my favorite products from Daylight Company and why I use them!

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How to Light Your Sewing Room with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

Hi Friend!

If the most common questions I receive are about needles and thread and batting, then the most common complaints I hear are about lighting. Many of us do a lot of our work at night; maybe our eyes are aging or maybe our eyesight has never been good to begin with (raising my hand!). Regardless, quilting relies heavily on color and detail making bright, clear lighting a critical tool for our stitching success. 

Why does lighting matter?

1) Protects against eye strain- By age 50, our eyes need 10x as much light as a child performing the same tasks (read a bit more about this in an article by Nicole of LillyElla on the Daylight Blog)
2) Improves posture- Hunching and hyper extending the neck causes pain, tension, and fatigue. A primary cause of poor posture is straining to see your work (learn more about proper posture in my post on the Daylight Blog here)
3) Matching fabrics and threads- Let's be real, most of us do a good bit of sewing after dark, and even if it is daytime, our sewing space may not have good natural lighting anyway. Is there ANYTHING worse than struggling to match fabrics and threads for a project??

Sewing Room Light with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

What kinds of light bulbs / light products are on the market?

There are three primary types of lights / light bulbs available for home use

1) Incandescent- Though less and less popular, these are the iconic lightbulb we think of. The light is usually warm (yellowy), and the bulbs can get very hot
2) Fluorescent- Hello, vaguely flickering light of public spaces everywhere. More energy efficient, cooler, and blue-tinted. However, that vague flickering is real and can cause eye strain and headaches
3) LED- The latest in lighting technology, LEDs are bright, clear, and cool. Generally speaking, they are much more color accurate and long lasting than incandescent or fluorescent lights, though of course there is variation in quality across brands

My favorite lights are LEDs-- You just can't beat the color accuracy and energy efficiency of a quality LED. These lights typically cost more initially, but they will outlast and out perform cheaper alternatives. 

What types of light do I need in my sewing space?

Two types of lighting are most commonly found in sewing spaces

1) Fill Light- This is the indirect, often diffused light that fills a whole room. It may be caused by an overhead light, lamp, or even natural light coming in through the window
2) Task Light- This is direct light, focused on your work area providing a bright, clear light to help you see what you are doing. This is caused by a specific task lamp that you can adjust as our tasks change

Ideally, your sewing room will have both-- something like an overhead light to generally fill the space with even-ish light as well as a task light or two to illuminate key work stations like under your sewing machine or on the cutting table. Even if you install quality LED light bulbs in an overhead light or in household lamps, a task light is important to combat shadows that will still interfere with your work (especially under your sewing needle).

3 Must Have Lights for Your Sewing Room with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

My 3 Must-Have Lights

I am head over heels in love with products from Daylight Company. Their lights are high quality LEDs, long lasting, and aesthetically pleasing. It's hard to beat that!

3 Must Have Lights for Your Sewing Space with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
3 Must Have Lights for Your Sewing Space with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

1) The Slimline- Personally, I'm obsessed with both the table and the floor versions. I use the table lamp by my sewing room and twist it around below eye level to shine directly on my needle for accurate piecing and free motion quilting. I have a Slimline Floor by my ironing board. 

3 Must Have Lights for Your Sewing Space with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

2) The Luminos-  Daylight's brightest light, this LED powerhouse is a must have for lighting large areas of your workspace. I shine mine down the length of my longarm while I work, will reflect the light off my design wall to fill the whole room, use it for precise cutting, and, of course, it is my go to for photos and videos (this is always shining on my face when I'm yakking with y'all on Facebook live! LOL). It has a massive 44" reach, three dimmer settings, and comes with a table clamp. I have an additional rolling stand for mine, so I can wheel it around the room at will. 

3 Must Have Lights for Your Sewing Space with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

3) The Wafer Lightbox- I'm pretty new to paper piecing, but I don't think I would have attempted it at all without the Wafer. You can even purchase a coordinating cutting mat to cut directly on the light! Available in three sizes, this durable, dimmable, deceptively thin light box is definitely a staple in my sewing room now. 

As a little bonus, my other favorite Daylight products include:
-The Quilta Longarm Lamp
-The Smart Travel Lamp
-The Yo Yo

(Above: Watch me talk about lighting and demo my favorite lights on Facebook Live)

3 Must Have Lights for Your Sewing Room with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story