Being stuck in lockdown has left many people stuck in stasis, looking for something to do rather than just scrolling through endless social media feeds or watching Netflix. We may have even felt our mental health deteriorating with the lack of stimulation and even just the stress of remote work. This is where sewing and quilting can come in handy.
A long time ago, quilting was very practical and was used to keep families warm and clothed during the cold winter months. However, with the advances of technology, it has often become more convenient to simply purchase those things our families may need.
However, this did not cause a diminishing in quilting and sewing, quite the opposite, it is now a popular hobby and expression of creativity. That’s not the only reason it is beneficial. It is also fantastic for bettering yourself and supporting positive mental health.
Many scientists have conducted studies on the relationship between quilting and sewing and wellbeing. One even interviewed a quilting and knitting group and discovered that a solid social network was fostered, self-esteem increased motivation, and even the use of colour was psychologically uplifting.
They concluded that creative craft hobbies, such as quilting and sewing, are a meaningful vehicle for enhancing wellbeing. It is very scientific; here are some of the ways sewing and quilting can help you!
Occupational therapist, Victoria Schindler, says that we live in a constant state of stress, given the situation with the pandemic and the outside world, which should not come as much of a surprise. However, this is also because our brain cells have not actually evolved enough to tell the difference between a doctor’s appointment or an impending attack from a shark. Our brain is constantly screaming DANGER, DANGER.
So, repetitive motion of crafts such as quilting and sewing, according to Schindler, helps to calm our body’s instinct into that fight or flight instinct. Additionally, it can regulate stress and intense emotions, an effective remedy for all of our constant and overwhelming stress, no doubt, present in every home.
Cliche, maybe, but doing something that results in meaningful work makes people happy. Quiltmakers and people who sew have something beautiful and tangible to show for their efforts and something to share with their friends and family.
According to Dr. Kelly Lambert, a member of the neuroscience department at Randolph Macon College, brains get saturated with dopamine and serotonin, the “happy” chemicals, when creatives view their finished product. This sense of accomplishment also decreased the stress and anxiety chemicals in the brain. In short, more often than not, quilting and sewing make people happier, more content and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Improved Hand-Eye Coordination
Sewing requires a lot of line tracing and precise movements of the hands, and it helps to further hand-eye coordination and muscle development. If you are keen to enhance your motor skills, sewing and quilting can do just that! Especially hand-eye coordination. The attention to detail that these activities require encourages coordination and relieves physical issues such as back pain. The best part is, this is just a happy byproduct of your sewing and quilting, you’ll accomplish it without even being aware of it. A win-win!
This benefit is one that is instrumental and essential as most people don’t really pay attention to it and usually neglect it. When you do that, you end up becoming clumsy with tools and objects, and activities that require you to have a firm but gentle grasp and utilize all your fingers adequately. Just like the previous skills, you improve this without even noticing!
Both cutting fabric and stitching force you to use all your fingers and control the strength output in your hands. Sewing by hand is also beneficial for developing this ability. Since the needle is relatively thin, you have to use it precisely. Your hands and fingers will gradually become more agile!
Sewing requires creativity which improves the brain’s ability to grow brain cells. As mental deterioration is a result of a lost connection between neurons, sewing promotes mental growth.
It Also Keeps the Doctor Away
These activities also lower the risk of a heart attack and stroke. An entry in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows evidence that quilt and sewing decrease blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate. What a great way to keep the doctors away!
It Improves Your Patience
In this era of shorter attention spans, activities like sewing and quilting required a lot of patience and exceptional attention to detail. It will help you become more patient in your day to day lives.
Quilting builds community; humans are social animals. Friendships and community are essential for keeping us connected and healthy. This has become increasingly challenging with lockdown and COVID-19. However, while we used to think technology further exacerbated people secluding themselves in their own digital worlds, we can use it now to join online sewing and quilting classes!
Here you can find a wide variety of online quilting classes! Some are on-demand, and others are online live workshops via Zoom. You can learn about colour, sewing curves and how to improvise in your work! You can meet new people you would never have thought of meeting online! With these classes you can build a sense of community in this new socially distanced world.
There has never been any doubt that quilting and sewing have many health benefits. Being surrounded by bright colours, a strong group of friends (socially distanced, of course) can elevate our moods and relieve anxiety. Not to mention the positive impacts it can have on your mental health and bodies!
The repetitive motions involved in quilting and sewing help us get into a flow that promotes relaxation and allows us to forget about our problems and worries. But, it also provides us with new challenges and makes our lives more exciting and fulfilling. Lastly, quilting and sewing have a built-in reward mechanism because a finished product can bring satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment to you, as well as with friends and family.