Need better lighting when you sew? We have researched a lot to find the best sewing lamps at the best price.
It’s important to have good and balanced light in your sewing room and around the sewing machine. You have to be able to relax and focus your eyes at all times and avoid headaches. It’s hard to concentrate if the light is bad for your eyes. We need the right combination of natural light and artificial light.
The little light inside the machine is important. But it’s even more important to have additional light in the room when you sew. Otherwise, you will add stress to your eyes from the contrast between looking at the bright light and the darkness in the rest of the room.
Proper lighting makes a big difference in our mood, productivity, and overall energy level.
Let’s look at the different types of lamps and how we go around finding the best light for our sewing room.
Before we dive in and take a good look at the many models and options we need to go over some basic light stuff. There are different types of light and we need to know what they are used for before we continue. The best lamps on the market will have the option to choose what type of light we want but we’ll get to that in a second.
Let’s look at the 3 types of light we have to consider when shopping for the right sewing lamp.
Understand 3 types of light (and what they are used for)
It’s nice to have natural light for sewing. Many lamps have a yellow-ish light and that just not optimal when you are going to use it day-in-day-out for a project. You need a good light that looks as much as possible like natural daylight but sometimes the other types of light are the right choice.
Let’s look at the three types of light:
- The white light. It is clear and clean and it’s good for matching your colors. It’s also very light and can be hard on the eyes if you use it for a long time.
- But we also have the sunlight which has a little blue to it. It’s good for working during the day.
- The most common light is the tungsten lighting. It’s the soft white and it has a little bit of yellow to it.
We don’t think about it once the light is turned on but the different types are different.
The Stella lamp mentioned in the video below can do all three types of light. So you can match the fabric perfectly with the white light, and you have the daylight for daytime and you have the pleasant tungsten light for night time.
(take me to the section about the Stella lamp)
They call it “Warm white”, “Pure white”, and “Cool white”. It all has to do with the light spectrum which we measure in Kelvin. It ranges from 2,800 Kelvin for the “Warm white” light to 5500 Kelvin for the “Cold White”.
You can see great little video here that also explains it very well:
Fixing the built-in lamp in the sewing machine
Most sewing machines will have a small light bulb built in just above the needle. This way we can always see what we are working on and get a good light for threading the machine etc. Many of the newer models also have a little additional LED light inside the machine so that will add light to the working area around the needle.
If the little light bulb in the sewing machine is not working anymore you can often fix by changing the little light bulb.
If you want a little more light coming out of the bulb and you have an old machine you can change the old light bulb for a newer LED light bulb. That will often give you better light and a little more brightness. That way you can avoid eye strain and have a better look at what you are doing.
How to change the bulb
Before you start removing the cover of your machine you need to unplug the machine and make sure it’s not turned on. We always do this to make sure we don’t short circuit anything or get an electric shock. When that is done you can take a screwdriver and remove the cover at the end of the machine and remove the old bulb.
Once you have removed the cover you can access the little light bulb in there.
Now you can remove the old bulb by pushing it up and turn it counter-clockwise. Now you can put the new bulb in and turn it clockwise. It really works just like any other type of light bulb that you would find around the house.
Can I change a 15-watt bulb for a 20-watt bulb?
You should always stick with the number of watts that is written on the machine. When you look in the manual you can also see how big a bulb (how many watts) you can put in the machine.
What you can do though is to replace the old bulb with a new LED bulb as we mentioned in the beginning. By doing so you can increase the light substantially in many cases.
If you can’t fit it…
Sometimes the problem is not the bulb and you have to take the machine to the shop to get fixed. If you want to avoid that you can also use a clip-on lamp. There are many great options for clip-on’s for sewing machines.
You can either do this because you want more lighting or because you cannot get the built-in light to work.
There are many options with a little clip-on light as you can see here on Amazon.
A better option could be to get a nice table lamp as we will look at in the next part. First, you need to decide what type of lamp you want. There are a wide range of lamps from lamps with clamp, magnifying glass, LED, etc.
Best desk lamps for sewing
To get a good and steady work light a table lamp is often the best choice. There are some considerations when it comes to a good table lamp for sewing which we will look into here.
The Stella original desk lamp gives you the option of choosing between the three different types of light we discussed above. Really cool because you can adjust the light to have the best and most optimal light source during the day, afternoon and at night time:
You can get it for the best price here at (link to Amazon).
Another really good lamp is the OTT-Lite lamp.
A good lamp is the OTT lamp which is recommended on may forums and in many shops. It has a very pleasant light and it’s easy to work with:
You can find it here (link to Amazon).
Gooseneck sewing machine lamp
You can also find good table lamps with a gooseneck so you can move it around easily and fix it on a task. These are often smaller table lamps with a very flexible arm you can place anywhere.
Some have a clip-on clamp feature so you can attach it exactly where you want.
Magnifying lamps for sewing
A great floor lamp with magnifier built-in is often the best choice. Especially for visually impaired and elderly people with reduced vision. The magnifying glass is a great option for many tasks. When you need to find the eye of the needle or you need to take a close look at some stitches.
We recommend this table lamp with magnifier built-in. It will magnify 10x which is a good amount of magnification for close-up inspection of your work and stitches:
You can get it at here at (link to Amazon).
The best part about this lamp is the option to. It has a high frequency so you won’t have that blinking effect like it’s a stroboscope. It’s a steady and relaxed light with a good tone for working and concentration.
You can also check this post about sewing machines for the elderly with reduced vision. That provides more tips on how to get a good setup if you have reduced vision or may you have a shake on the hand.
Battery operated sewing lamps
If you are looking for a portable sewing machine light you should really go for a battery-operated lamp. That way you can bring it along and make sure you always have good and clear light for your projects.
There’s a lot of great models for this and you just have to find the style and type you like. You can see the variety here at Amazon.
Best floor lamp for sewing
If you have a more permanent setup at home you can also go for a good solid floor lamp. They will often give the best lighting for your projects and you can adjust them in every way.
They are also nice to have around the house for another project or when you want to read a book at night.
If you can use it for other purposes in between sewing you can probably spend a little extra money on a really good floor lamp that you can enjoy for many years to come.
These are some things to consider for at table lamp:
- Should it have a magnifying option?
- How heavy is it? (it should be easy to move but also steady enough to not tip over)
- How tall should it be?
- What is the price range?
- What type of light does it deliver?
We recommend getting it with a magnifying option so you can use it close-up when you need to see the little details. By having a magnifying option you can avoid eye strains and have more relaxed sewing experience.
You also need the right balance between it being heavy but not too heavy. It should be heavy enough to be steady but it shouldn’t be a hassle to move around.
You might need to take it to the next room once in a while since it’s a really nice lamp for any situation where you need to inspect something thoroughly.
The model above is found here at (link to Amazon).
Good tips for a relaxed light in the sewing room
For the rest of the blog post, we will zoom in on good tips for working with the light in the room. There are many great tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your sewing time.
We will start by talking about glare.
Avoid glare from shiny surfaces
It’s hard on the eyes to look at a surface with a glare. Shiny white objects will often cast a reflection and you need to either remove these objects or adjust the light so you won’t keep glare down.
You can reduce glare from diffusing the light. If you point a sharp light directly at a shiny surface you will have the highest glare. You should either point it away from the object or remove it.
If you have too much glare around the sewing machine you can try to move the table 90 degrees. Try not to have your face pointing away from the window if the sun is directly on the window. If you have a table with wheels under you can move around and face the window when the sun is not on directly etc.
Use natural light from a window when possible
Most professionals agree that sunlight is the best light source we have. That goes for photographers as well as seamstresses. Most lamps we can buy will try to mnemic the light we get from the sun.
So whenever you can you should seat yourself next to a big window to let as much natural light in as possible. That’s the best option for your eyes and it gives the best light for choosing colors and focusing for a long period of time.
Sit next to a window with sunlight during the day
For that same reason, we recommend you choose a room with windows for sewing. Don’t place your sewing machine in a little dark room in the basement of away from natural daylight.
If you have the chance you should place yourself in the best room of the house with the most amount of natural light.
That being said, many of us live in areas with many dark months. In the winter time, the sun will set early so we need to add good light sources to be able to work. If you are not able to sit close to a window be sure to take a quick walk once every hour. Just get up and stretch your legs on the terrace or take a little stroll down the street to stretch your back and get some “real” light from the sun.
Combine task light and ambient light
Our eyes get tired whenever they have to adjust to another lighting. So it’s not optimal to have your sewing area very bright (has a strong light pointing at it) while the rest of the room is dark. Make sure there’s a good balance between your working area and the rest of the room.
Make sure to have an ambient light added all over the room. Turn on floor lamps you might have in the room and have a nice dimmed light as much as possible. That’s the best thing for your eyes so you don’t get tired eyes from focusing in and out of light and darkness.
Avoid fluorescent light
The old fluorescent tubes should be gone by now. They give a flickering light which is not visible to the naked eye. But studies show that this kind of light will make your eyes tired over time. The light does flicker super quickly and when the bulbs or tubes are old you can even see it (and hear the ticking!).
This is probably the worst kind of light for sewing purposes as well as any other task we can think of.
Exchange these tubes for a better light source like LED or just a more natural tone. They are a migraine trigger and everything else is a better choice 🙂
Use a combination of light sources
As we mentioned above you should add some ambient light to the room. You should really just combine all the types of light in your sewing room. Have plenty of options so you can change it to whatever setting and mood you are in.
You should have these light sources available:
- Good light from above
- Task light (a good table lamp and/or a good floor lamp).
- Ambient light (around the room)
- Sunlight (whenever possible!)
Now you should be good to go and we hope you learned what you needed to know about how to get the most optimal light around your sewing machine area. If you have any thoughts or tips please leave them below in the comments!