Can Blind People Use a Sewing Machine? (Guide For The Blind)

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Disability is not an inability. Yes! Blind people can use sewing machines if well trained, guided, and provided with sewing machines that are ideal for the blind.

Have you lost your sight and wondered whether you could use a sewing machine? Or maybe you are looking to help a visually impaired friend or relative sew using a machine? This article looks at how blind people can sew with their hands and a sewing machine.

Training A Blind Person To Sew With A Machine

When learning to sew with a sewing machine, the blind person must have a needle threader since the needle threader will assist the blind person in threading the needle. Needle threaders are pretty cheap and are readily available.

You will then braille an A4 size paper with lines that can run from the center to the top, center to the bottom, or any preferred layout. The blind person will then place the brailed A4-sized paper on the sewing machine and target to match the needle with the braille line.

That routine should be repeated many times with different A4 sheets with varying braille patterns. Then, when the blind can sew a straight line on the sheet, that should be seen as an indicator that the blind is making progress.

It is now time to give the blind person a fabric and a pattern. The fabric, in this case, could be a shirt, bed sheet, curtains, pillowcase, or even a scarf. Through practice, the blind will eventually acquire sewing skills to the extent that they can carry out repairs or even complete a new sewing project independently.

Training a Blind Person To Sew By Hand

Before the blind person can sew with a machine, it is crucial that the person can comfortably sew by hand. Thus, you will require to have a needle and a thread. Since the blind can’t see, a self-threading needle should be provided.

Self-threading needles have been specifically made to help people who have challenges threading the needle. They are thus the best pick for people who have poor sight. You will also need a thimble so that the blind person can protect fingers when sewing on the fabric.

For the blind person to practice sewing by hand and get to a point where the sewing can be said to be perfect, ensure you provide the blind person with a practice fabric. Different types of stitches can be sewn by hand. You could also provide some buttons to sew on the fabric, and with such practice, the blind person will eventually get to a point where they can sew on their own.

Sewing Aids For The Blind People

Poor vision should never be allowed to distract you from your sewing hobby. So let’s look at various sewing aids available for the blind developed to ensure that the blind enjoy their sewing hobby.

Adjustable Seam Guide-Magnetic

Adjustable seam guide-magnetic is a small metal aid that is magnetic. The aid sticks to the sewing plate of any sewing machine typically located in the presser foot. When using an adjustable seam guide, the magnet in the aid ensures that the fabric being sewn with the machine is always firmly in place.

Thus, by using this aid, the blind person will have a solid and reliable guide for ensuring that reasonable allowances are set, while at the same time, the lines sewed are guaranteed to be straight.

Compared to other sewing guides, the magnetic sewing guide is different in size as it is small. In addition, it also attaches to the sewing machine on its own due to the magnet in it, while other sewing guides have to be attached with something else.

Magnifying Glass For Embroidery

Magnifying glass to be used in sewing
Magnifying glass to be used in sewing by the blind

Even if you feel you don’t need a magnifying glass, the glass comes in handy when you want to enhance your work by making sure you can clearly see all your stitching details. When you are purchasing a magnifying glass, you have to consider the size of the magnifying glass, the shape of the magnifying glass, and the color of the bulb on the magnifying glass.

There are many types of magnifying glasses available for you to choose from most sewing equipment suppliers. Get one from your supplier if you don’t yet have one.

Self-threading Needles

Self-threading needles ensure that anyone who finds it hard to thread a needle can easily do that. These needles are mainly targeted at the elderly and those with poor vision.

However, anyone who loves sewing and can’t be bothered threading the needle can also use self-threading needles. The most common self-threading needles comprise V-shaped self-threading needles and spiral self-threading needles.

Cushioned Grip Scissors

They are scissors that have cushioned grip. The grip in the scissors ensures that when one is cutting a piece of fabric, thread, or anything else, pressure on the thumb and fingers is reduced. Thus, these scissors offer an easy cutting experience. Cushioned grip scissors are popular with people with arthritis, vision impairment, and other physical disabilities.

Needle Threader For Sewing Machine

A needle threader is crucial in threading all types of needles in the sewing machine within a few seconds. In addition, for the visually impaired, a needle threader is important in helping them get a fine thread through the tiny eyes of the needle.

Talking Tape Measure

A talking tape measure is usually 16 feet long. It announces the measured length with high accuracy of about 0.05 inches. In addition, the tape has a memory function that can be used when there is a need to measure anything longer than 16 feet – rare in domestic sewing.

This tape is ideal for visually impaired people as it helps them measure different materials that they are working on in their sewing projects.

Tactile Measuring Tape

This tape has been developed to ensure that whoever uses it can measure and find out measurements through feeling. The tape has various tactile marks in ½ inch, 1inche, and 1-foot increments.

5 Best Sewing Machines for Visually Impaired

Your vision challenges should not hinder your interest in sewing. There are many sewing machine models designed for people with vision impairment.

Even if there are no sewing machine manufacturers that will openly claim that they have sewing machines specifically designed for the blind, there are selected sewing machines that are just great and friendly for the blind.

These sewing machines have to be operated by knobs as they can be easily felt and identified by the blind. Moreover, the ideal blind person’s sewing machine should have minimal or no automated features.

Let’s now discuss the best sewing machines for the blind.

Here are our five best sewing machines for the blind

Singer Simple 3223BY Sewing Machine

As the model’s name suggests, Singer Simple 3223 is a basic sewing machine with 23 built-in stitches. The blind can easily operate the machine through the use of various knobs. The four-stage buttonhole feature of the machine makes it easy for the blind to sew buttonholes in four simple steps. The free arm feature makes it easy for anyone sewing to sew sections of the fabric that could be challenging to reach, such as the trouser hem.

The loading bobbin is well designed and can be easily felt and recognized by touching. Blind people can, therefore, easily thread the machine and monitor the amount of thread remaining in the roll by touching it.

It will be easy for the blind who would be using this sewing machine to acquaint themselves with it in a few days. Moreover, with the use of various sewing aids, the blind can successfully work with the machine and sew amazing products.

Consider this a model if you are looking for a sewing machine that a blind person can easily operate and maintain.

Galadim GD-015–AG Sewing Machine

Galadim GD-015-AG sewing machine model is not popular as Singer and Brother. This is a basic sewing machine whose main target is sewing novices.

The sewing machine has basic functionality and a variety of stitches to select. However, the key physical features that make it a perfect fit for the blind are the two knobs in different sizes. One of the knobs is located close to the needle, while a bigger knob is located on the front of the machine. Through the use of knobs and other sewing aids, the blind can sew various items as desired.

It is also important to highlight that Galadim GD-015-AG sewing machine has a built-in LED light that brightens when the fabric is being sewed. In addition, the reverse stitch feature also makes this sewing machine a good option for those with vision challenges.   

Jem Gold 660 Sewing Machine

One of the notable features of this sewing machine model is that it is compact and portable as it is normally classified as a ¾ size sewing machine.

The sewing machine has a built-in buttonhole and eight stitches. Some of the notable features that make the Jem Gold 660 sewing machine ideal for the blind comprise; the rotary hook, which is magnetic and houses the bobbin (makes it one of the simplest bobbin threading configurations), an automatic declutch bobbin wider, and a dial to choose sewing stitches.

If you are looking for a compact and light sewing machine to be used by a blind person, then this sewing machine should be under your consideration.

Bernette B35 Sewing Machine

This is a basic sewing machine targeted at people looking for a traditional sewing machine. The sewing machine does not have a single computerized control, thus making it ideal for the blind.

Even if there are other cheaper sewing machines available in the market, don’t let the price of Bernette B35 put you off since this machine has many unique features which make it stand head and shoulders above other sewing machines in the market.

The machine is highly durable, and if well maintained by servicing it regularly, it can last you a lifetime.

To control the sewing machine, three knobs are used. One knob lets you select the preferred stitch pattern, while other knobs are used to set thread tension and length of the stitch.

Final thoughts

The fact that you are visually impaired does not imply that you cannot pursue your sewing passion. On the contrary, there are many prominent blind people in the fashion industry, and their work has been admired worldwide.

With the right guidance and training, various sewing aids, and choosing the ideal sewing machine, you are destined to achieve your sewing goals. I have offered you basic advice on how you will start your sewing journey. It’s time to start!

You can also consider joining your nearest sewing guild. By becoming a member, you will learn a lot from others in your position in the past but who have now perfected their sewing.