A blind person can and should continue to do whatever kind of sewing he or she did as a sighted person. Many people sew very little today. Some even arrange to have the laundry or dry cleaner do mending for them. Others very much enjoy sewing and do a great deal of it. Whether you are blind or sighted need not affect your success in sewing or your preference to avoid it. Three or four tips about sewing will be useful to a newly blinded person. A needle threader consisting of a small piece of metal and wire loop which can be put into the eye of a needle and used to draw the end of the thread through the needle is very useful for threading needles, whether you are sewing by hand or with a sewing machine. If you are tense, it will seem impossible to do this. If you relax and practice, threading a needle in this way can become quick and easy. Needle threaders can be ordered from us and can often be purchased in fabric stores. Self-threading needles are also available. There is a tiny division at the large end of a self-threading needle through which the thread can be pulled. If your fingers are somewhat stiff or numb you may prefer these needles for sewing by hand. When sewing with the machine, you may use the presser foot or a seam guide to line up the material and keep your seams or topstitching straight. Two types of machine guides are also available for sewing machines: a magnetic guide which adheres to the metal of the machine just to the right of the presser foot or a metal guide that can be screwed onto the machine table in the same place. If your machine has the hole or holes for the screw, this type of guide is much sturdier and more reliable than the magnet. Some people like to use adhesive tape to mark a 5/8-inch seam allowance in front of the presser foot. The most reliable guide is the presser foot itself and it is safe to let your finger touch the front of it. As long as your finger is not on top of the presser foot and does not reach in from the side, the needle cannot hurt you. After a seam is sewn, you can feel the stitching line to tell how straight it is. Blind sewers, like sighted sewers, will need to make use of the ripper occasionally. If you like to make garments and other items, you will need to develop a new technique for cutting them out. You will probably want to get a friend to trim commercial patterns on the cutting line before you lay them on the fabric. You may wish to make some special markings of darts or arrows with tape when you have them trimmed. You can feel the edge of the tissue paper against the fabric well enough to cut along it quite neatly. You should loop your hand over the top blade of the scissors so that your thumb is on one side and your fingers on the other just where the two blades of the scissors come together when you are cutting. The edge of the pattern should not cross over the bottom blade of the scissors. Therefore your fingers should be against the pattern and your thumb against the fabric (or vice versa) as you cut. You will be able to feel the pattern edge against the fabric and the scissors best if your hand is relaxed and you touch it lightly. Of course, you will hold the scissors in the same hand you always did, using the other to guide them as described above. Sometimes labeling thread for color can be a problem. One solution to this problem is to obtain pill bottles with large tops from your local pharmacy and stick Braille labels on them. Braille labels glued to the spool of thread itself will be pushed off by the spindle if the spool is put on the machine. Sewing is like so many other activities for a blind person. The question is not whether it can be done. A newly blinded person needs to ask: How can I do it? not Can I do it? A few relatively simple techniques will make it possible for a blind person to do any kind of sewing he or she wishes to do. Practice will make these techniques simple and commonplace, although they may seem difficult or frustrating at first.