The Many Amazing Benefits of Quilting

benefits of quiltingA lot has been written about the many benefits of quilting, but it is only in the last couple of years that scientists and scholars really started to study this claim. A long time ago, quilting was done for a very practical reason –to keep the family warm especially during the cold winter months. This is not really required as much anymore because of advances in technology and with women working more outside the home, there has been less time.  Surprisingly and thankfully, however, this did not cause the demise of quilting which is still alive and popular as a form of hobby and expression of creativity.

A few months ago we did an article about How Sewing Fights Depression.

Sew Your Blues Away! – How Sewing Fights Depression

If you missed it, please check it out.  We were delighted that this article was widely shared and reprinted by several major sewing associations.  Based on that interest, we thought we would do a little more research on the many benefits of quilting specifically and it turns out they are indeed amazing!  Today, quilt makers do their craft for many different reasons. And here’s what some scientists and scholars have found out.

Quilting Relieves Stress

According to occupational therapist Victoria Schindler, we are living in a constant state of stress. This is because our brain cells haven't actually evolved to tell the difference between an upcoming appointment with a prospective client or an impending attack from a tiger. The good news is that the repetitive motion of crafts like quilting activates our parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, calms our body’s instinct to fight or flight.

In a paper entitled The Neurological Basis of Occupation,” Schindler and her co-author Sharon Gutman argue that repetitive activities such as quilt making or painting elicit a flow that regulates stress and other strong emotions. As such, quilt making is a very effective remedy for all of us facing constant stress in the conduct of our daily lives.


Benefits of QuiltingQuilting Is Better for Your Health than Physical Exercise

Exercise is good for your health, but a study made by a team of researchers from the University of Glasgow has found out that quilting has some amazing health benefits beyond what could be achieved with physical and outdoor activities.

In a paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Health written by graduate student Emily Burt, quilting is said to help the cognitive, creative and emotional well-being of people especially among the elderly. This is because quilting offers problem-solving challenges like math and geometry while building self-confidence. In addition, being around all the bright colors uplifts the spirit and the activity, as we already know, relieves stress.

ou can see some terrific examples of both the geometric shapes and the bright colors in our recent article Contemporary Quilt Makers Who Paint with Fabric.

Contemporary Quilt Makers Who Paint With Fabric

The research was conducted by using qualitative research and was done by interviewing twenty nine members of a local quilting group. And the paper concludes that quilt making possess properties that improves your well-being in such a way that cannot be done by physical exercise. This finding is certainly great for those who cannot do physical exercise anymore.

benefits of quilting

Quilting Makes Happy People

Doing something that results in meaningful work makes people happy. This can be said about quiltmakers who have something beautiful and tangible to show for their efforts as well as something to share with their friends and families. A study found out that when quilt makers view their finished product, their brains get saturated with the happy chemicals called dopamine and serotonin. This is according to Dr. Kelly Lambert, who is a member of the neuroscience department at Randolph-Macon College. This sense of accomplishment also decreases the stress and anxiety chemicals in the brain. In short, more often than not, quilting makes people happy, contented, and accomplished.

benefits of quilting

Quilting Keeps the Doctor Away

Quilting decreases stress levels and causes the feeling of a sense of accomplishment as it increases the reward chemicals in our brains. As a result, it also lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. An entry in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows evidence that quilt making decreases the blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate.  Harvard neurologist Dr. Marie Pasinskis also points out that quilt making calms the brain and results in a sense of wellbeing. It certainly is a great way to keep the doctors away!

Benefits of Quilting

Quilting Builds Community

Humans are social animals.  Friendships and community are essential for keeping us connected and healthy.  This has become increasingly challenging with today's sprawling suburbs which tend to distance us from each other and make casual get-togethers rare.  The problem is further exacerbated by the isolating effects of modern technology that can keep people in their own little digital worlds or at best only connected electronically to acquaintances who remain unseen and unmet in person.

While there are certainly plenty of online groups you can join and follow about quilting, one of the most amazing benefits of quilting is that almost everywhere you go there are groups and associations who meet regularly and in person to pursue and practice their love of quilting.   I was recently in a small town in rural Australia where I visited an amazing event called Quitarama and which I'll write more about shortly.  The sense of community and connection was amazing and a shout out to the Country Women's Association of New South Wales for putting on such a wonderful show.

benefits of quilting

Some would say much of the strength of the early American pioneer community came from the countless quilting bees that brought frontier women together and created strong bonds of friendship and a shared sense of reliance and responsibility.  My sense is that our communities could certainly use more of this today.


There has never been any doubt that quilting has many benefits.  Being surrounded by bright colors and a strong group of friends, especially during the bleak winter months, can elevate our moods.  The repetitive motions involved in quilting help us get into a flow that is both relaxing and allows us to forget about our problems and worries. However, because quilting needs our problem-solving skills, it also constantly provides us with new challenges and makes our lives more interesting and fulfilling. Lastly, quilting has a built-in reward mechanism because a finished quilt brings satisfaction and a sense of achievement to the quilt maker as well as to friends and family.

I'm sure experienced quilt makers are aware of the many amazing benefits of quilting, but it is a bit more satisfying to know that scholars and researchers have confirmed what quiltmakers have known all along!  If you're interested in getting started with quilting, we have a tremendous amount of quilting-related materials on to get you started.  Just use the search box at the top for the right-hand column and search “quilt” or just click HERE to scroll through everything we have on quilting.

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32 Responses to The Many Amazing Benefits of Quilting

  1. Judy says:

    I totally agree with your assessment of the benefits of quilting. I’m an avid quilter and can get lost for hours in my quilting. However, i am a firm believer in exercise. I’ve seen too many quilters sit for hours quilting while their bodies get larger and larger. Some quilters I know can barely walk after sitting so long. There is also the danger of blood clots from sitting. Please stress the need for taking care of the physical body as well as the emotional one.

  2. Susan Berrier says:

    I enjoyed your article and all the comments. I retired from healthcare after 45 years, 35 years as an ICU RN in late June 2020. My husband asked me if I wanted the master bedroom for my sewing room 7 years ago when we bought our house. I have spent a lifetime collecting fabric and power tools. My sewing room IS MY HAPPY place! After a stressful few days working my husband would suggest i go to the sewing room and “wind down.” I now spend a few hours (sometimes longer than a few) daily in my sewing room making and creating quits and quilted items!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      You have a very generous husband. Would love to be a fly on the wall to see your sewing room.

  3. Sharon Lawrir says:

    Hi Mayra, when I moved to a new town for my husbands job I joined a church and was welcomed by the quilting group. A few of us have remained close friends and have met weekly rotating houses where we work on the quilt the friend is making. We also quilt one day a month to make a quilt to donate to a local hospice once it is finished. Some weeks it is more about the coffee, goodies and sharing than the quilting but it all offers a warm meeting of friends and support thanks to quilting.

  4. Sheila Gillman says:

    Quilting has always been my stress reliever from a very pressurized work life. Many an evening I would come in from work and could just feel the calm descend over me looking at my materials and working on my latest project. I set aside an hour every morning to do a bit of stitching before bolting out of the house to rejoin the rat race as I found it centered me for the day! Now that I am retired quilting definitely keeps the brain cells active – no fabric calculator for me!

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      I know exactly what you mean 🙂

      • Alma Heckler says:

        I loved your article and I agree whole heartily with the conclusions. I retired at the beginning of the pandemic. I worked for almost 40 years as an attorney. Sewing has always been a nice distraction and diversion. I started 5 quilts while still working but did not have the time to finish them as my job duties became more intense.
        After retiring, I pulled them out and finished them. Bought myself a quilting machine and quilted them. Quilting has become such a comfort, rehabilitation and source of joy. I also garden and gardening is wonderful exercise. Have dropped 20 pounds. I hope I have a long retirement thanks to both quilting and gardening.

        • Mayra Cecilia says:

          Indeed I wish you a long and creative life. Did you know the biggest masterpieces, with very few exceptions were all painted after the artists reached their 50’s. Enjoy our retirement and the newfound passion you have both for gardening and for quilting. If you ever thought of writing an article about it please I will be more than happy to feature your journey, I think so many will identify with you and also will inspire many who have retired but do not know what to do next. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Marita says:

    Excelente ! muy interesante la informacion,y muy real,gracias !

  6. Patty says:

    This refutes the claim Years ago that sewing can bring on Alzheimer’s! Thank you for the well studied article! I love sewing and quilt making. That is my therapy!

  7. Lynda says:

    Well, this explains a lot. I took up quilting and got over my agoraphobia. Now I can go to the fabric store and I don’t need a driver/chaperone (aka: a very bored husband)!

    Thank you for an informative and interesting article.

    • Alison Toni says:

      What a wonderful triumph, Lynda! I’m so happy for you.
      I’ve been quilting for around 10 years and it’s become a huge part of my life, and my quilt group friends are some of the people I am closest to.

  8. Carol Stephenson says:

    It’s my opinion that quilting makes your brain work better. (My sister works crossword puzzles for the same reason.) Also, you do need physical exercise…get up and walk around often, and do at least a reasonable amount of walking every day, if not more exercise. The sedentary lifestyle is deadly.

  9. Thank you for writing this article. It has brought back wonderful memories for me. My oldest son, Jason, became an organ donor in 1996 after being injured in a car crash in which he was a back-seat passenger–his heart, liver, 2 kidneys, corneas and tissue were donated. In 1999, I began volunteering and assembling memorial quilts for our local organ donor recovery organization. I’ve completed 5 memorial quilts to-date with #6 in the works. Assembling the quilts has helped mend my broken heart and also helps bring comfort to the donor families who contribute memorial squares for their loved ones. Working with the squares has been such an honor for me through the years.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Dear Barbara, first of all I am so sorry for your loss and can not even start to imagine what a painful journey you have been through. My thoughts are with you if there is anything I can do for people to know about your quilting do let me know. Kind Regards,

  10. JoAnn Weeks. Golden Thimble Quilters SAN DIEGO CA says:

    I am a member of a hand quilting club that has been in existence for 27 years. We complete a had quilted quilt every month -each member getting her turn to make the top and have it on the frames ready for us to gather and get it quilted. During the life of this glorious club we have celebrated Birthdays, births, weddings, no sadly much loss. One of our members had been working on a hand pieced grandmothers flower garden for many many years when she was diagnosed with a fatal disease. She was determined to not leave this world without finishing it – even teaching her husband how to help hand stitching those small hexies together. When it was clear she couldn’t possibly finish, our club jumped in, sat together stitching those flowers together then got the quilt on the frame to finish. We left one flower unquilted for her to finish, but she passed without it being done. Her daughter finished that flower and now has a beautiful part in an heirloom for generations to come. This sisterly sharing helped us grieve not only her loss but many more. The love we share each month cannot measured. Thank you for this article.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi JoAnn, thanks so much for sharing your touching story. I must admit, it brought tears to my eyes. Your quilting club sounds wonderful and I’m glad it has helped so many people. Kind regards and happy quilting, Mayra

  11. dorothy vuvu says:

    i love

  12. Janice Mc says:

    This is all so true. There have been many times in my life that sewing/quilting has been my savior in all the stress life brings.

  13. Buttons and Bows says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article..

  14. Peggy Melfi says:

    Mayra–I would love to share this page with my quilt groups, but don’t see an option to share by ANY means. Suggestions?? Thank you!!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Peggy, there should be a few different sets of sharing buttons, particularly one along the left side of the screen. Out of interest, what sort of browser/device are you using? In any case, I have now put a row of sharing buttons along the bottom of each post. You may have to refresh your browser. Please do share this post with your group. I hope they like it.

  15. Bob says:

    Thank you for the article! It is very interesting and I found a lot of what you said seemed to apply to my own experience. My wife taught me to sew as I wanted make the tropical shirts I always wear. I started quilting as an avenue to learning how to sew. Quilting ended up something that I found very satisfying and when doing it, any problems or conflicts of the day seem to go away as the quilt takes all of your creative energy and leaves nothing to waste on the stresses of daily life. I did read your post on contemporary quilt makers who paint with fabric and I find that quilting is, and always has been, an art form with quite a practical function.
    I always appreciate your articles! Thank you

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hello Bob, thank you for taking the time to read our articles, it is great to read about your own experience, if you send me a picture of you quilting I will really like to added to the article. I know many other guys specially young will find it inspirational. I thank you for your comment from the bottom of my heart.
      Kind Regards,


      • Bob says:

        Hi Mayra,
        Thanks for the kind reply. I really don’t have any pictures of myself quilting. I do maybe 10% quilting and about 90% shirts and clothing. I know there are more guys out there like me who do sew and I do appreciate your articles which cross over to things that guys would be interested in. The technical aspects of sewing and of course quilting as examples. I went to a quilt show earlier this year and paid attention. There were more guys than I expected who were studying the quilts as opposed to being “in tow” if you get my drift. 🙂

    • Faye Flood says:

      I wish I could get my husband interested in sewing. I taught grade 7 and 8 children to sew for 35 years. I use my husband as a colour consultant when choosing fabric for a quilt, he has an amazing since of colour.
      Faye PFC (Professional Fabric Collector)

  16. Linda Verner says:

    Loved your article. Thank you so much for sharing!

  17. karen says:

    In the Canadian/American past, young girls and married and older women would gather to help the young girls complete quilts for their hope chests. The women donated their time in a social setting for the very practical purpose of helping young girls prepare for their eventual marriage with practical and beautiful items like quilts embroidered tea towels, sheets and towels. Money was scarce for the most part. People had mostly their labour to give.
    A lot of comradery, gossip and instruction went on in those quilting bees. I think that much of the same social functions are fulfilled at quilting classes now. I find it odd that one of the most popular quilting sewing machines for quilting classes is the so called “featherweight” vintage singer machine. I think it evokes a nostalgia for a distant time and lifestyle. I do not quilt myself, but I understand the appeal, especially in my culture. I am old enough to remember some aspects of pioneering traditions that were carried on to the mid twentieth century. Some traditions, particularly in rural Canada/America never died out completely.
    And that is a good thing.

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