Tuesday, April 20, 2010

{ Reader Poll } Do You Sew Barefoot?

While driving to work today I found myself analyzing my morning routine and thinking how the whole process affects my day. I'm talking about the mundane things we all do every day in the same order, without thinking. The tiny rituals you perform to help you get out the door in the morning. Do you get up and jump in the shower? Do you have breakfast first? What's the last thing you always do before leaving the house? If you forget to do any of those things does it throw your entire day off?

Can you tell I'm total type A? :)

The whole questioning my routine scenario came about when I was ten miles from home and having that "I forgot to do something" feeling. I was running through my morning routine in my head...

Got up, jumped in the shower, grabbed some coffee, ironed my clothes, got dressed, said hi to the kids, said bye to my wife, got the kids out the door and in the car, dropped them to the babysitter, headed to work...

It didn't do me any good. I couldn't come up with anything I "forgot" to do. All was well so to speak. I just chalked it up to rushing out the door and giving little thought to what I was doing. Maybe I set my coffee cup on the counter instead of in the sink and my brain was telling me I did something different than normal, therefore throwing a bright red flag up in my subconscious. Who knows.

Needless to say I had a crazy moment... but wait, I wasn't done yet...

The entire experience got me thinking about the things we as quilters do when we're in our sewing rooms. The stuff we do without giving much thought to. Is there always music on in the background, a TV maybe? Do you raise the presser foot lever with your right or left hand? Do you pull the loose threads from your machine to the left or the right after clipping them from your block? Crazy stuff like that. If you forced yourself to change the way you sew, how would it make you feel? Would you get the same creative satisfaction when you were finished or would you have the urge to do it over again?

We're all creatures of habit and one thing I always do is have my shoes off when I'm sewing. In fact, I don't think I have my shoes on at all when I'm in the studio. Even at guild meetings it seems foreign to be piecing with anything but socks on my feet. It's like using someone else's machine to sew. It feels odd, right? You get used how your machine is set up. Having something between my foot and the machine pedal kind of gives me the same feeling. It totally screws up my quilting mojo.

I'd like to hear from you about this. I started a poll in the right hand side of the blog posing the question, "Do you sew with or without your shoes on?" Yes? No? Doesn't really matter? Are you brave enough to answer?

79 comments:

  1. I clicked no shoes but truth be told I am usually hobbling around with one shoe on and one shoe off.

    It definitely feels weird to press the pedal with a shoe on but my tooties get cold so I usually have a shoe on the other foot.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one!
    Jaclyn

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  2. Bare feet all the way. My machine is designed to be used without a pedal so I curl up my legs 'Indian style' (I know -- totally not PC, but it was when I was in kindergarten, which is where I picked up the habit) and stitch away. I think sewing without a shoe give you more control, you get a better feel for how much pressure you're putting on the pedal. I have a serger also, and use that baby bare foot too. Great post! And I love your button. Totally adding it to my blog.

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  3. There is no way i could sew with my shoes on! I have been know to have 1 on 1 off though :)

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  4. Like Elizabeth, I also sit Indian Style while I sew, but because I'm a shorty, I pedal barefoot with my big toe (the other toes don't reach) ...very weird. Anyway, I also drive without my right shoe on.

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  5. I'm so surprised by how many sew without shoes! I can't fathom not wearing shoes when I sew and I love being barefoot. I have to put shoes on when I start to sew.

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  6. I'm usually in socks b/c I don't wear shoes in the house, but on sewing days with guild I'm in shoes. It doesn't seem to matter to me...Hey Danielle, why don't you put your foot pedal on a box or phone book with room for your left foot on there, too? I bet it would make your back happy!

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  7. I sew with my shoes off. For some reason it feels like I have more control without the shoes.

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  8. When I first read your question, my immediate response was, "Of course I wear shoes while I sew. That would be like driving barefoot" (which I think feels strange, like if I have to move the car to another spot on the driveway or park it in the street). But then I almost immediately realized that I do sew barefoot. I always take my shoes off in the house, so -- yes, I sew barefoot. Just never really thought about it before.

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  9. Bare feet! I tried mending a small hole, about 1 inch, in the seam of a shirt real quick and I had shoes on, DROVE ME NUTS! I don't even like wearing socks when sewing.

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  10. I am still wandering if you will ever know what it was you forgot. Sorry, I am just curious ;-).
    I have been thinking, but I do both, sewing with or without shoes. Just depends on whether I wear them or not. I will not put them on or pull them of just because of sewing.

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  11. Definitely barefoot. I take my shoes off as soon as I enter the house.

    I hate that feeling of having forgotten to do something, drives me mad. I got in the habit of unplugging the iron from the wall, because I could never remember if I'd turned it off or not, and I was fearful I'd return to a burnt down house. Now that I habitually unplug the iron, I don't have to worry about this. ;-)

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  12. It really depends on where I sew. If I'm using the shop's sewing machine for a class, then my shoe or sandal is on. At home is barefooted all the time. I live in the equator anyway. I used to live in 4 seasons country and I sew with my slippers on or my toastie on cold days.

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  13. Totally no shoes. But I do sew with shoes on at workshops. I also sew standing up,kinder on the lower back that way.

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  14. Bare feet, mostly. On a day off I basically go straight out of bed and sit in front of my machine. Here in Norway you never wear shoes inside anyways, so it kind of makes more sense, I guess :)

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  15. No shoes.....in Amerika Samoa...no shoes all day and then it is flip flops out the door.

    Yep, have to do things a certain way....

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  16. i have to sew with my pedal foot bare, sometimes my other foot gets cold or for whatever reason, it might still have socks and shoe on, then when i try to get up and walk i usually take them off, but i cannot sew with anything on my sewing foot

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  17. I am a shoeless quilter. I like to feel the pedal as I am sewing. If I have on shoes (like at a class) I will slip the right shoe off to sew. It just feels like I have better control.

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  18. What a cheerful and unusual question to wake up to this morning!! I usually sew barefoot, but if it's cold in the house I'm wearing socks or fuzzy slippers - old house, lots of drafts! To Purple Paisley Patch, invest in an iron that turns itself off - you'll never worry about it again! I had an "OMG" moment once when a friend loaned me an iron for a sewing class, and my husband and I booked out in a hurry afterwards for a movie - I couldn't remember turning it off, couldn't reach anyone to stop by my house and check, and worried about it all through the movie! Fortunately, she's memory challenged too, and it had automatic shutoff!

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  19. I'm the odd duck here! My feet live in shoes unless I'm sleeping or wet. I must have shoes on to feel comfortable and that includes sewing!

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  20. No shoes for me when I'm sewing. Feels like I have more control that way.

    And I totally hear ya - I'm also super Type A. :)

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  21. I can't sew with a shoe on my foot pedal foot! Even at classes and lock-ins and guild sewing events I take that shoe off. It's not unusual to see me at my LQS for a lock in, walking around the shop in one shoe :)
    ~ Jennie

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  22. with shoes, or at least socks. i don't even like being barefoot in the house at all. outside, OK, but not in the house. :)

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  23. I don't wear my shoes in the house, so that is probably where sewing barefoot came from (I often don't have socks on either), but I would thinking that sewing barefoot would give better control and a better "feel" than sewing with shoes on - especially if you have temperamental pedal (like me)!

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  24. in design school our sewing teacher preached on and on about safety. flip flops were not allowed in the sewing room. HAD to wear "proper" shoes at all times. drove me nuts!
    the most comfortable "foot situation" for me is to have my warm cozy slippers on bare feet. my feet get cold when i sit at the machine for long periods. then whenever i sew i slip the right shoe off and press the pedal barefoot. when i get up to iron i slip the shoe back on. it really does bother me when i can't do this MY proper way. silly, but true.

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  25. One barefoot... the one on the pedal! the other stays shoed! But when I get up and walk around, I often fumble to find that shoe to put on (at least in the cold upstate NY winters)!

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  26. Can't sew with shoes, can't drive with shoes. I need to FEEL connected to the machine. I have tried, but it throws my timing off! Actually, I am much happier barefoot and braless (TMI?). hehehe, we are all friends here ;o)

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  27. I ALWAYS wear shoes in my sewing room. I was a fashion design major in college and we had to wear shoes in the sewing rooms (like JoonToons). My current sewing room is carpet (which I hate) and I'm afraid of stepping on a fallen straight pin or having the iron or rotary cutter fall on my foot.

    But, I also rarely go barefoot anywhere in my house. I can't stand the feel of even the slightest bit of dust or debris on the bottom of my foot. Maybe I just need to sweep more.

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  28. I prefer to sew barefooted or sock footed in winter, but have been forced to wear shoes on occasion when sewing other places so many times that now I don't really even think about it. cyndi

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  29. What a strange question! And so many strange answers--at least to me. I used to go barefoot as much as possible, so once upon a time I probably sewed that way. but after a lifetime as a diabetic I've been forced to wear slippers inside the house. As my studio is a sidewalk away, I wear slippers there too, except when it's raining when I wear slide-on tennies. So that's how I sew, either with slippers or slide-ons. But I never questioned either way so maybe I'm the strange one. :)

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  30. It's amazing how we are all set in some sort of routine or other. But that is a good thing because it helps us focus to get things done.

    I personally can't be in my sewing space without music. Or for that matter, any room in the house without music! It's my life. I'd rather be without a tv than music.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  31. I have to go put shoes on to sew. If I am not wearing them I will not go down into the sewing room without stopping to put them on first. Even if it's just a pair of flip flops I HAVE to have something on my foot.

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  32. Not only do I not wear shoes, when I teach children how to sew I also suggest to them to take off their shoes if they are having trouble controlling the speed of the needle! I have pictures of my students sewing without shoes. One student got up to iron her project and I noticed one foot had a boot and the other was completely naked, she had taken her sock off too! I can sew with shoes on, but I don't like to.

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  33. No shoes!! I just can't control the speed... and since I don't wear shoes in the house anyway...

    of course, that got me into trouble when I had to have emergency surgery to remove the eye end of a needle from my left big toe.... (Did you know that John James needles will corrode in 3 days in a human toe?)

    but it hasn't changed ...i still sew without shoes...

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  34. I think I learned a lot of my little things from the person that taught me to sew... I was at my mom's this weekend and realized I do almost everything just like her.

    Threads to the left, trash on the right and I NEVER wear shoes, but must have some kind of sock!

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  35. I guess I am in the minority....I can't imagine sewing without shoes on my feet. Don't you worry about pins????? Then again, I NEVER go barefoot.

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  36. I had to laugh at your Type A actions. Count me in!
    I sew with socks on. Even on retreat last weekend on a really dirty floor, I took my shoes off - and ruined a couple of pairs of socks.
    We don't wear shoes in the house at all, which is probably where the sock thing started.

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  37. Definitely no shoes. And always thread to the right, after I clip it. Otherwise, it gets in the way for the next thing I put under the needle.

    I always have a filled bobbin right where I can reach it without getting up, for the times the other one runs out RIGHT when I'm doing something *fussy*.....

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  38. I always have socks on with my loafers so I can kick on the shoe on my right foot when I sew then slip it back on when I get up to iron or cut. No room in your survey for us one shoe people.

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  39. One of my machines has a knee pedal, so really it doesn't matter to me. I will sew either way. But I don't like driving barefoot...

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  40. We don't wear shoes in our house, but I always have slippers on in the house and sew in them. I drop so many pins under my machine that it would be quite dangerous for me to sew barefoot.

    I enjoyed reading about your morning routine. I'm happy to hear that I am not the only person whose day gets messed up if something in the routine is out of place! Just throws off the groove and it's hard to get it back!

    MGM

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  41. I quilt in my slippers, I'm retired and it doesn't matter what I do anymore. Its great. Keep up the quilting.

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  42. I voted "without shoes", but I almost always sew wearing my slippers. They're boiled wool with no sole on them, so they're quite flexible. If I'm sewing something really twitchy, I'll take the slippers off and sew in my socks. If I have shoes on, I ALWAYS take them off before starting to sew, but normally I take them off when I come inside the house.

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  43. Ryan I stepped on a needle in the carpet when I was 8 yrs old, so I always wear shoes. My sister was sewing and accidentally dropped the needle. I had to have surgery to get it out, so that's my story. Otherwise I might go barefoot.

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  44. I never wear shoes in the house. Ever. That is something that throws my whole day off--having to go back upstairs once I've put my shoes on.

    At most, in the coldest part of the winter, I'll sew while wearing slippers (my studio is over the garage, and BOY is that floor cold!). But socks, or best, bare feet is how I prefer to sew. :)

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  45. Without shoes all the way. Even when I go to classes at the LQS, I tend to wear easily removable shoes so that I can slip them off when I'm ready to sew. I've tried sewing with shoes on, and while I can, it always feels strange, like I can't gauge how much pressure I'm applying in order to get the speed of stitching I want.

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  46. Fun question, BARE feet, no socks, I can use either foot and still do a fine job. Love TV on when I am sewing. Love music on when I am cutting. Like it quilt when I am thinking about a pattern. Coffee or water! The machine must be in just the right spot, I can tell if it moved 1/4 of an inch!! We are all so funny in our ways!!

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  47. I'm a total type A, no shoes and sew with my left foot.

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  48. I cannot sew with shoes on. Can't control the pedal as well. I don't normally have socks on either...totally barefoot. I do switch feet tho...if my knee is acting up at the time, my left foot works just as well...

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  49. Hahaa, cute post! I'll be brave .... and admit to my "issues". But, I cannot sew with shoes on ... AT ALL! It just doesn't happen for me. Even at work, in an environment with wheelchairs and beds going around, I still risk sewing with my shoes off. It's just a thing of mine I guess.

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  50. I am worried about the needle embedded in the foot scenario; however, not worried enough to sew with shoes on!! How could I ever control my presser foot?? Ditto for the car ... love to drive sans shoes. Is it just urban legend that it is illegal to drive in bare feet???

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  51. Great question! No shoes or socks except in the winter.

    Very odd, considering I don't walk around barefoot. Chalk that idiosyncracy up to me stepping on a real live fish eyeball thanks to my devious kid brothers.

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  52. Boy, have you opened a can of worms...LOL....I voted on the no shoes but I've got more....I don't raise my presser foot..always have a scrap of fabric to sew onto then clip threads; always have the tv on as background noise; always have several cans of stray starch on ironing board; always have rulers in their little stands so that I can find them easily and the big one.....if someone borrows anything from me, I will not rest until it's returned.
    This was an excellent POST!

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  53. Bare feet all the way! In Australia, it's warmer most of the year so it's not really a problem. But in Winter when it gets slightly colder, I will wear socks. I just feel like there's more control if I'm in bare feet, I can use my tippy toes if I want to for a gentle press :)

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  54. I am supposed to wear shoes all the time because I have insoles (doesn't that seem wrong for 27?!), but I can't do it, and I really can't sew with them on. But, I have wood floors, so I always wear my wool slippers in the winter. I have tried to wear shoes while sewing, but it didn't work, besides, I drive different in each pair of shoes, I can't imagine trying to figure out how to sew in each one. :-)

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  55. one shoe - the pedal foot shoeless!

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  56. What a cute question for all of us and I had to read all the comments. I sew both ways, depends on the shoes, off they go if I don't feel like I'm in control.

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  57. I totally sew without shoes on. I feel more in control with my foot pedal. My husband makes fun of me all the time.

    I think it has something to do with my inherited "monkey toes". All the women in my family can pick up stuff with our toes. We are goofy that way. Even my two year old niece can. It's a funny trait, but we are noticing that my nephew can also. Hmmm.

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  58. I love your post more guys should quilt !!! and I just love the giveaway!! thanks so much!!

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  59. so very much a no shoe-sewer. and just like annabelle (above) i'm one with monkey toes too, which sometimes helps me pick up pins that i drop. carefully.

    i was nervous going to the first sew-in meeting for the mod quilt guild...i knew i needed to take off my shoes to sew, but about half the ladies did the same. kindred spirits! although i did notice our one token male sewed with his shoes on (he's my hubby).

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  60. no shoes, usually no socks either. and everyone who visits my sewing room or sees me sew at retreat wonders why i use my pedal backward. i typical sew with a Featherweight and like to hold the pedal under my foot and depress the "button" with the ball of my foot, rather arching my foot over the edge of the pedal box to reach the button.

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  61. I sew barefoot with my right foot and control with the ball/toes of the foot. I lift the presser foot with my right hand. I pull the threads to the left side of the needle, and snip with scissors rather than try to use the thread cutter. I take my glasses off to sew.

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  62. I almost always sew barefoot. It is my preference because I like to feel the petal. Without a shoe on my foot is more flexible and I can control my speed better. If I am dressed to go out the door and I have my shoes on I might sew for a minute or two with my shoes on.

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  63. Omg, I've tried with shoes when I'm at the LQS at a class, but it just doesn't feel right! I've gotta be barefoot.

    Even crazier, my girl Raygan only sews with socks on. Even if she's barefoot, she packs her "sewing socks" in her bag like they're one of her supplies! My silly friend.

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  64. Yes I sew without my shoes on...I think I need to be able to 'grip' the back the the pedal with my toes. It's a comfort thing - I feel like I have more control if I can feel the pedal on my foot.

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  65. Barefoot...but truth be told, if it didn't get so cold during the winter, I'd be barefooted all year long. One of these days I expect to be stabbed in the foot by runaway pins lol

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  66. I had never thought about it until you asked but now that I think about it, I always feel weird sewing with shoes on... :)

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  67. Looks the non-shoe wearers(which I have always been) are in the lead big time! Fun poll!

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  68. As long as you are not asking what clothes I wear when I sew ....I do wear my shoes. One time I got a pin stuck in my foot. Since then, shoes on.

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  69. Ryan,
    I thought of your poll this week as I was mentoring a girl at school for her Sr. Grad. project. Her topic is uniforms in school and she is making a uniform. She was pinning something and I grabbed the school pins and handed them to her. Then I paused and asked myself...why did I do that?? Then I realized that I always put my own pins in my mouth and didn't want anyone using them! The things we do and don't even realize...

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  70. i absolutely cannot sew with a shoe on. im the hobbling type too...i recently took a bag class with "me and my sister" and walked around all day with one shoe on, one shoe off. felt like a freak, but shoes are clumpy and hard to handle the peddle.

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  71. Shoes off for me! I have to have socks, though. My piggies (toes) get cold!

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  72. Great question! I answered "Doesn't matter" since I sew both with and w/o shoes, just depending on my mood, I guess, or what shoes, if any, I'm actually wearing.
    I've also starting using my left foot for the pedal so I can use my right leg/knee for the hands-free attachment on my machine but I go back and forth with that, too. :)

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  73. My toes need to feel the pedal - barefoot when warm, stocking feet when cold - this is MN after all:)

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  74. I am usually barefoot when I'm in my house, keeps the carpet cleaner, and I never wear shoes when I sew, it just feels weird not to be able to feel the pedal as good as you can with bare feet. It just feels to me like I have better control when I have a bare foot on it.

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  75. Always sew with my bunny slippers on!
    Great blog and great giveway to my FAV shop.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  76. i'm always barefoot in the house - and can't sew any other way. i agree that i feel that i have better control.

    i learned to sew on my mom's machine which had a knee control - hadn't thought about that in years - lol!
    momomadeit

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  77. Some of each. If I've been in the house all day, I'm either sewing barefoot or in socks or my leather LL Bean sheepskin booties depending on the temperature. But if I've been out and I'm in comfortable shoes (i.e., athletic shoes), I'll not bother to take them off. Dressy shoes come off as soon as I'm back in the house. So 80% barefoot or in socks or slippers; 20% in shoes.

    I am more than willing to risk the danger of dropped pins for the comfort of bare tootsies.

    Brenda

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  78. After hurting the arch of my foot, I now wear shoes. A combination of factors led to the hurt foot, but sewing without shoes on and over-arching my foot added to the problem.

    Sometimes I even sew with my left foot because my right foot still hurts now and again. Sewing with my left foot feels very, very strange.

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