A Tailor’s Guide to Full Spectrum Lights

If you've ever spent hours on end in front of a sewing machine, then you know just how visually draining it can be.  Whether you sew for fun, for the satisfaction of making your own clothing, or for financial gain, it's an activity that requires sharp vision and attention to detail.  A lot of tailors and seamstresses don't think about the impact that their sewing light can have on their vision, their state of mind, and ultimately on the quality of their work.  This is where full spectrum lights can make all the difference. 

First of all, the affect that light, and the lack thereof, can have on a person should not be underestimated.  The quality of the light that our bodies receive is extremely important, and not only for those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Getting enough of the right kind of light can improve our moods and recharge our batteries, so to speak.  This is one of the reasons that choosing a sewing lamp that utilizes full spectrum bulbs, which emit a natural light, is so important.  Not all of us have can enjoy the benefits of a large picture window and convenient daytime scheduling (those pesky day jobs can sure get in the way...)  

Improving mood isn't the only reason to invest in natural lighting.  Sewing is an art that demands a great deal of attention to detail, and the eyestrain that can result from measuring, marking, threading, and stitching can be a real burden.  After so much time staring at this thing or that, the headaches and tension can make a person miserable—I know more than one seamstress that keeps a bottle of aspirin in her sewing table!  Yet how few of us stop to consider the light that we're using? 

Most of us use either the overhead light or grab a cheap desk lamp to lighten our way, not realizing that regular incandescent light bulbs can actually contribute to the problem by making our eyes work harder than they should have to.  The light that they produce is not only dull and imbalanced, but actually discolors everything that it touches.  Compare the color of a fabric swatch in sunlight to that same swatch under a regular light bulb.  They're not the same, are they?  Yet that same piece of fabric under the illumination of a full spectrum bulb is the color that it should be—the color that nature intended.

If lighting can affect your mood, strain your eyes, and potentially distort your work, it clearly has an impact on the quality of your crafts and garments.  Whether you sew for pleasure or profit, it's worth the investment in your craft to buy a light that will work for you rather than against you.  Even something as simple as a small, flexible craft lamp can make a huge difference in your perspective.  Sure, full spectrum lighting can cost a little more than your standard 60-watt disposable bulbs, but your eyes, and your projects, will thank you for it.

By: Alan King

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