Skip to content

Parkinsons, Sewing and Me

I have been asked many times to write this blog post and I kept putting it off. It is not easy to write but if it helps anybody then that makes me very happy.

The tools and equipment featured are all from jaycotts and I will give you the links as we go along. Please note that the products featured are suitable for use no matter what your disability, be it arthritis or poor eyesight.

This is me with my father and brothers.

Firstly, what is Parkinson's?

There is no set pattern as to how long Parkinson's takes to progress or the age it starts or indeed the symptoms as  It varies from person to person. I have had young onset Parkinson's for around 20 years and at the moment there are signs that it is deteriorating. This is normal as it is degenerative and incurable.

The disease is very complex and it affects the whole body.

It is a neurological disease caused by the part of the brain which produces dopamine dying. Dopamine controls motor and non motor functions and so the effect of the lack of this chemical causes a lot of changes to your body and how it works.

At the beginning it affects one side or the body, the right in my case, but eventually affects both sides. I have a tremor which worsens when I am under stress or tired, or even when somebody notices it. It affects movement which becomes slower and often my face freezes giving me a blank expression. That makes people think I am disinterested and can cause arguments! I find it very difficult to swallow and my coordination is poor. Walking is also difficult, there is a specific Parkinson's gait which you may have noticed, and I am in constant pain in my legs and digestion is also very poor. I get a lot if muscle cramps which are extremely painful and often the muscles in my feet and hands will contract making the fingers and toes bend backwards.

Non-motor symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia and many more.


So, that is roughly what Parkinson's is, although this is only a brief description, there are many more symptoms.

For more information go to Parkinson's uk


My mother Joan who died recently following complications from her Parkinson's

Although it does not run in families my mother had it too.




This is something I made earlier, my son Matthew who is a SHO in a hospital. I am incredibly proud of him, hmm, he is sat in my "electric" chair doing my crossword!





This is what I mean about lack of coordination and poor hand control. This was probably the very last time I attempted to bake a cake. It takes far too long to tidy up afterwards.

Now, let me show you some of the tools I now use to help me to continue with my sewing. It is vital when diagnosed with something totally life changing such as Parkinson's that you continue to do the things that you love. I understand that it takes time to come to terms with a diagnosis, and that you need time to mourn and cry, but it is just as important for you to realise that life goes on despite it. Sure you will need to think of new ways of doing things but it is not impossible, besides I like a challenge!

Let me show you the tools that I use to make sure that I do not miss out on the thing I love doing most - sewing. I will include a link to each product so that you do not struggle to find it in the web site.



I find non sew poppers and the tools to attach them with totally indispensable at times and I use them a lot when my hands are bad and I don't want to sew buttons on. They are great anyway, on some garments I deliberately choose them instead of buttons and buttonholes , like my rain coat for example.

There is a great range of colours and sizes so take a look through this section where you will find poppers and tools Non sew poppers and tools They are great fun, and easy to attach too.


A collection of gadget's




These wonder clips have to be my favourite. They totally do away with using pins.  I use them instead instead of pinning and they can be whipped off your seam quickly whilst sewing, they are easy to find up if you drop them too. I really cannot praise these enough. they come in different sizes too. Wonder clips

When  cutting out you could use patterns weights. Jaycotts sell them - or make your own. I use my collection of piggy banks.





If you still want to stick with pins then I recommend a magnetic pin cushion, it makes less work if you accidentally knock it over. A magnet for collecting pins off the floor is a must too. Magnetic pin cushion. And  Horseshoe magnet By the way glass headed pins are much easier to use than ordinary straight pins.



The large black scissors are the best I have ever used.They are Fiskars and are brilliant for arthritic or painful hands as they are spring loaded and soft grip. Fiskars soft grip scissors the smaller pair are also by Fiskars. By moving the little catch they become seam rippers. They are also very easy to use for sore hands Scissors/seam ripper




Another nifty gadget is this quilters ruler handle





It's not just for rulers! And it is not just for quilters



It makes easy work of using a ruler or template or indeed a lot of other things which you need to hold in place. Ruler handle



All of these tools are soft grip and are by Prym. They are kind on the hands.

Pictured above are the seam ripper, point turner and thread snippers and can all be found in this link. Prym Sewing tools

I do find them easy to hold being ergonomically designed they fit easily in the hand.




Also on Jaycotts web site you will find such things as these fantastic easy to use soft thimbles , and there are needle threaders for hand and machine needles. They all make sewing much easier.




A magnifying glass is essential in my opinion. The one on the web site is now red instead of this clear one, they sit in your chest when in use and you will wonder what you did without one.useful for needle threading, sewing, reading patterns and a million other uses. Prym magnifying glass



Something you may not have considered is this attachment for your sewing machine.It is a knee lifter and you push it to one side with your knee and it lifts the presser foot so that your hands do not have to move to a different position.  I love it. it is dependent on your Sewing table being at the right height but now that I have my Horn cabinet and hobby chair I am able to use it constantly as it is just at the right height for me. They do come as standard with a lot of machines, for more information contact Jaycotts on 01244 394099 and they will be able to tell you it there is one suitable for your machine.

Just remember that if you are using it with your Horn Sewing cabinet to remove it before putting your machine away.



The next item I use a lot of is this wonder tape. It sticks seams together and zips in place, without them  moving whilst you sew them. It is a brilliant product. If you find pinning zips and facings and so on in place then this is the product for you. There are also temporary spray on adhesives which do have a great use,but for me wonder tape is the most wonderfully useful product -ever. This is it, Prym Wonder tape it is basically a thin double sided tape for fabric. And yes It does disappear in washing.



I just had to mention my Horn Sewing cabinet and matching chair , see the range here, Horn Sewing furniture

This has revolutionised my sewing as everything is in one place and I just swivel my chair from sewing machine to overlooker and back again. There is a full review on this blog so do take a closer look.Horn NOVA review



I was interested when I was looking through patterns to see that pattern houses such as simplicity are realising that there are people who use wheelchairs and walking frames and I was really impressed with the patterns and the foresight to produce them. This pattern for example is for some extremely useful and attractive accessories for wheelchairs and walkers. Simplicity pattern I think it is great to see patterns like this, so it you know anybody who uses either of them, do make them something as a gift -it will certainly be appreciated.





There is another pattern too which I think is very pretty for a lady,  Walker accessories



It is a hard fact to face but adults often need clothing protectors. We don't want to discuss it do we? However it is fact. It you have such a guest coming for a meal over Christmas then why not make everybody a festive garment to wear? That alleviates any embarrassment and actually adds a touch of fun to the occasion. You can bling them up as much as you like! Clothing protectors



If you have a disability you will understand the need to be able to carry on doing the things you love. With one or two adaptions it is possible to carry on.

It is not a subject we like talking about is it. Mostly I do not look disabled so people are surprised when I cannot get out of bed for a couple of days or wonder why I cannot walk very far. If my face freezes and becomes blank they think I am disinterested in them.

It can be a lonely place, so do ask questions, take an interest, ask now you can help. Just because we never ask for help does not mean we do not need it!


I hope that you find something of use in this blog post.

I want to thank the following for their unending support and encouragement



The fabulous Jaycott family at who go to endless amounts of time, trouble and expense for me.Thank you.

To Minerva crafts for endless supplies of fabric, for supporting me, encouraging me and believing in me.Thank you

To Abakhan fabrics for your generosity and kindness. Thank you.

To The King of publicity!Tweetmaster  for your generous publicity, telling me off occasionally and for your support and encouragement. Thank you.


Lastly to my son Matthew for being utterly brilliant. Sorry for spending most of  your inheritance recently, but look on the bright side you have some nice furniture when you come home......


Thanks everybody,






#simplicity #disability # Parkinson's #sewingblog #sewingbee ##sewcialist #isew


Previous article Lining a Dress