The Calming Effects of Sewing

April 28, 2020

Can you think of a time when sewing has improved your mood?

Of all the jobs I do regularly at The Stitchery, preparing the samples for our projects is easily the most soothing. It’s the job I save for doing after my least favorite jobs, like stock taking and accounts! 

These are anxious times – it’s okay to feel unsettled

The COVID-19 pandemic is a time of change and uncertainty for most of us. It’s a moment that will mark a generation, and it will change us — as individuals and as a society — in so many ways. 

Many of us are feeling anxious. We’re worried about our health and the wellbeing of our loved ones; how can we take care of each other and still keep safe? We’re worried about our jobs and our businesses; how will we manage financially if this continues much longer?

A friend who is working from home through this period confessed to me: 

“Things are a bit hard. I know people like you are trying to help, I just don’t know what could work at this stage – I still need a bit of time to figure this situation out. Being at home with the kids is not helping. I’m already easily distracted, but I’m now constantly interrupted – I go from work-related issue to kid-related issue to work-related thing… There’s no break between problems. I feel like I’m failing at just being at the moment.”

How can we give frayed nerves a break?

We can get sewing!

“Like any activity that involves applying your mind to the physical universe, sewing is meditative. It puts you in the here and now.” Jean-Paul Flintoff, writer and crafter

This moment won’t last forever. Being in the ‘here and now’ as Flintoff says, is what we need right now. (I explore this idea further in my previous blog post.)

If you’re already a stitcher, you know that sewing can help you feel good. Did you know it was used to treat traumatized soldiers after the First World War? 

Doctors experimented with different ways of treating shell-shocked soldiers who had come home from the front mentally scarred. Embroidery proved effective not only for settling their minds but also steadying their hands.

Later, soldiers who were both physically and mentally disabled found employment and self-esteem in the Disabled Soldiers’ Embroidery Industry. These days, craft-based activities are a core part of occupational therapy.

Where to start?

Need a challenge to get started?

While we can’t host you in person at The Stitchery, we’re sharing mini projects to help keep you balanced each week. These are great to do alone, with kids, or even with friends online!

This week’s project is a bit of calming visible mending with some special fabric – Put A Heart On It. This project was created by our wonderful teacher and local quilter Kitka Neyedli @madebykitka.

Download the project instructions here.

Share your story and win

Lastly, tell us about a time when sewing has improved your mood, and if we publish it in our blog/newsletter, we’ll send you a surprise goodie from The Stitchery to say thank you. Email your short story to info@thestitcherystudio.ca

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