6 Tips for Quilting Safely (And Avoid an ER Visit)

Ask me why I’m writing this blog post.. And I’ll give you one hint: it involves a visit to the ER. 

I’ve been quilting since I was little, often using sharp instruments, scissors, rotary cutters, hot irons, sharp pins, etc. and I’ve truly never injured myself in any meaningful way. 

Until last weekend. 

And now I’m determined to prevent you from your own ER visit. Because it was easily preventable, and yet I never thought to implement safety measures BEFORE getting injured. Read on to get the whole story (if you're not squeamish!).

So learn from me, and then you won’t have to write a blog post with 9 fingers because one of them is bandaged!

Quilting Safety

Quilting is not just a fun activity but also a great way to express our artistic side. Aside from that, it also provides a creative outlet and helps reduce stress.

However, like any other hobby, quilting presents some risks that we should be aware of.

So let’s discuss some of the best practices to follow to stay safe while quilting. 

Wear Appropriate Attire

Quilting sometimes involves the use of sharp tools and needles, so it's important that you wear appropriate clothing while quilting. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that can get tangled up in the needles or cutting tools.

For instance, loose sleeves may get caught up in the rotary cutter, and jewelry can get stuck in the fabric.

Also, make sure to wear closed-toe shoes or slippers with non-slip soles when quilting. This ensures your feet don't encounter anything sharp or hard.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Quilting requires focus, but it is crucial to remain aware of your surroundings.

Ensure that your working area is free of clutter, and all the sharps are kept out of reach of children and pets. 

Also, keep liquids away from electronics and electrical cords. Avoid answering phone calls or checking your phone while using sharp tools.

Use Proper Lighting

Proper lighting is essential to avoid straining your eyes while quilting or making any unnecessary slips while cutting or sewing.

It's best to use natural light if your quilting space permits it. If not, invest in bright, adjustable lights that allow you to direct the light to where it is required.

I have the Stella Two light and I absolutely love it!! Some other options are Ottlite and The Daylight Company

Using a Sharp Rotary Cutter or Scissors

Using the right cutting tools is critical for quilting safely.

To avoid accidents, keep all cutting tools in their sheaths (or with the safety covers on) when not in use. Also, keep them out of reach of children and pets. When cutting, use a cutting mat to protect your work surface from marks and scratches.

A sharp rotary cutter or a pair of scissors makes the job easier and quicker. Rotary cutters are so handy, but also dangerous!

Make sure to close your rotary cutter immediately after using. Using a suction handle on rulers can ensure your fingers aren’t near any blades, as well as using cutting gloves.

Replacing your blade often can help make cuts fast and easy rather than a dull blade that requires multiple passes.

Protect Your Eyes

Protecting your eyes is critical when quilting. I don’t know anyone who wears safety goggles while sewing, BUT if you have a habit of sewing over pins, maybe you should be!

Sewing over pins can cause broken needle ends to fly at you (eyes, face, etc.). So be safe.

Maintain Good Posture

Quilting involves sitting for long periods, and maintaining good posture is essential to prevent back and neck pain. Use a comfortable and adjustable chair with back and arm support. 

Take regular breaks to stretch and relax your back and shoulders.
Quilting is my favorite creative outlet, however It's important to enjoy it while being mindful of the risks involved.

The Accident That Could Have Been Avoided

Last weekend I was with a friend in my sewing room, we were casually talking while I worked on a project.

While making a cut, the rotary blade jumped up on my acrylic ruler and before I knew it, half of my fingertip was sliced off. I’ll spare you most of the gory details, but I'm really grateful quilty husband works at the hospital and was able to get me right in to see a doctor. 

So after a visit to the ER, an orthopedic surgeon and many painful days of recovery, I can say that good safety habits are definitely worth your time and effort!

My fingertip has thankfully begun to heal (did you know they grow back?!), but I'm sad that it even happened in the first place.

I wish I could go back and prevent it from happening in the first place. I certainly won’t be so casual with rotary blades (or anything sharp really) in the future.

Things that contributed to my accident:

  • distraction (I was chatting and laughing with a friend),
  • pressing too hard on the rotary cutter (it was a little dull and needed to be changed),
  • and finally, not using any precautions like a suction ruler holder or cutting gloves. 

And I hope you’ll be more aware of some of these easily preventable injuries. 


I, too, had a visit to the ER many years ago already, when I was cutting backwards, my cutter slipped and sliced my little finger to the bone. A trip to the ER, several stitches and $500 later, I was back at sewing at the class I was taking. Yep, I still have the scar.


Another tip – use a stiletto instead of your index finger when sewing in tight areas. I sewed through my finger while making a gusset on a Disney costume for my granddaughter. The needle broke off in my finger and I had to have an X-ray so they could locate the broken machine needle. It healed beautifully but now I keep a stiletto or seam ripper by the machine to guide fabric .

Terry G

So sorry to hear of your accident! I appreciate you sharing your experience so we can all be more diligent while using rotary cutters. I too had an accident but was in the kitchen while prepping food. I too was chatting with a friend. The outcome was good but a wake up call for paying attention to task.
I think I spotted the gloves on Amazon but the ruler handle…is it designed for quilters or also used in the shower or tub for safety? I think just using those items would make us more on guard, thanks!
Love your designs, look forward to your blog and ideas!

Quiltd Studios replied:
I’m so sorry you had an accident too! The ruler handle is a giant suction cup thing, I’m not sure it could be used in showers but I don’t see why not!!


I have had a few trips to the ER. Twice was from washing dishes which broke around my hand with my hand inside of glasses. I had to get stiches to close the cuts. Next was a needle broke as I was sewing. I was not wearing glasses at the time but a piece landed just below my eye. No trip to ER. Last was I was barefoot and a needle broke when I stepped on it. After a week my foot was still sore. An X-ray showed part of the needle was under the back of my toes. I needed to have surgery to remove it. So many lessons I have learned: eyewear, footwear and I used to watch Fons and Porters who always wore gloves when rotary cutting.


I’m sorry this happened to you. I did the same thing although yours sounds worse. I only needed five stitches, but on the same finger as yours. The year I did mine was just a couple of days before Christmas so most doctors’ offices were closed so all urgent care clinics were extra busy. Fortunately the second one took me right in when they saw the problem. My husband makes me take many precautions now plus I don’t cut sitting down!


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