Editor’s Note: If you sew and quilt, we are certain you are well aware of the therapeutic nature of these creative crafts. There is something magical about taking flat pieces of fabric and creating a dimensional item. Research has proven that sewing does offer health benefits. We invited our friends from the Sewing & Craft Alliance to share with you the therapeutic benefits of sewing.
If your 2014 New Year’s resolutions include getting healthier, you may be surprised to learn that picking up a needle and thread can help. Most sewing enthusiasts will talk about disappearing in to their sewing spaces and not coming out for hours. But did you know that there’s more than creativity going on in there?
Clinical studies have revealed the stress-reducing benefits of sewing, proving a stitch a day could help keep the doctor away. The former Home Sewing Association commissioned a study which compared five different home-centered pastime activities that used similar eye-hand movements and involved both experienced and novice sewers. Using biofeedback technology, changes to physiological indicators such as heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate and skin temperature were recorded. The results indicated that sewing not only helped the women to relax mentally, but the subjects experienced drops in heart rate, blood pressure and perspiration as well.
The stress-busting results come as no surprise to custom clothier, author and sewing educator, Mary McCarthy. Mary agrees with the study results and adds “When I am in my sewing studio, my mind takes a mini-vacation from outside worries and influences. Stress melts away as I manipulate the fabric and thread and begin to see a project take shape.”
Joyce Perhac, Director of the Sewing & Craft Alliance concurs. “A hobby helps you to escape from the pressures of everyday life, if only for a short time” she says. “In addition, for those who love to sew or quilt, the feelings of accomplishment you gain from expressing your creativity can improve your confidence.”
Activities such as sewing are good for kids too. Sewing stimulates a child's creativity and serves as an effective tool in building self-esteem.
Cherice Taylor, owner of Making It Sew Fun in Chicago agrees. Cherice offers sewing classes for adults and also teaches children ages 6-13 how to sew. She states, “Sewing isn't the only skill a child masters. They learn to complete what they start, problem solve, learn from their mistakes and exercise patience in the process. Their focused attention is calming to the soul,” she adds. “Developing these life skills boosts a child's self-esteem with each completed project.”
So as you are making your New Year’s resolutions, a plan for a healthier lifestyle should include a good diet and lots of exercise, but consider including stress management activities like sewing as well.
The Sewing & Craft Alliance (SCA) provides education and creative resources to sewing and craft enthusiasts as well as retailers, manufacturers and educators. SCA offers free learn-to-sew articles, SEW-lutions Education Guidelines, free project sheets and interactive opportunities for the sewing community. Visit them at www.sewing.org.