Stress is all around us these days. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can wreak havoc on both your mind and your body. Thankfully sewing can be both a hobby and past-time that can really be a refuge from stress. We've written before about how Sewing Fights Depression as well as about The Amazing Benefits of Quilting, but not yet about stress. Here are some of my tips for stress-free sewing.
Do one project at a time, or at most you can have two.
If you love to do something, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by trying to make so many projects all at the same time. Here’s a scenario: You drop by a store with so many fabrics, pretty-designed embellishments, sewing patterns that are new to you, and many colorful ribbons that you can use in your projects. So you tend to buy as many sewing supplies as you can, and imagine all the things you can make with them. But, bear in mind that making sewing projects takes time, therefore you'll have to be realistic. Plan and make just one project at a time to make sewing a relaxing and pleasureable hobby.
Relish your sewing moments.
Give full attention to your sewing. Sounds like a command, right? But this really makes sense. In order to enjoy and get the full value of sewing, you must not do anything aside from it. When it comes to your hobby multitasking will not help it. It is meant to be enjoyed so just do it on your spare time and after you have done all your chores.
Do it “your” way and do it beautifully.
It is always tempting to just do what the patterns and instructions tell us, but isn’t it liberating to do sewing in a way that’s easier and more efficient for us. Some people find it distracting to see other people sew “the wrong way”. But you can always do different techniques that you have discovered and works well for you. Anyway, it is a hobby and you got to enjoy it your way!
Imperfections are natural.
When sewing a project keep in mind that something “might” go wrong, no ones's perfect. Getting annoyed in any little mistake will not make your hobby an enjoyable one. Do your best and take it lightly. Being harsh to yourself won’t make you a “stress-free hobbyist”.
Stop labelling yourself and just do what pleases you.
You can label yourself with any title you want but don’t stress yourself into sticking to it. Sewing is a very large activity, with lots of things you can try out. If you want to enjoy it as a hobby, don’t restrict yourself from discovering other activities related to it and fearing that you won’t be able to stick to the label you gave to yourself. Enjoy and let all the rules go down, just do everything beautifully and you will always smile at the end of each project you do.
Go for anything that is “difficult”.
When making projects, especially dress-making, you will encounter many parts that seem too hard to do. Then you develop that fear of doing zippers, fear of sewing neat hemlines, fear of patching ripped jeans, button holes… the list goes on. Never think negatively when you are sewing a project as a hobby. Remember, you are doing it to have fun! Relax and get out that creativity in you. Don’t be afraid to rock on that zipper-sewing step!
Keep sewing supplies organized.
Efficient organization is the key to happy sewing. Everybody knows that they cannot do something well, in a productive way when their workspace is too cluttered. So before you start on another project, organize and arrange sewing supplies and tools to help you work better. Also, doing this in a periodic manner helps you to see what supplies you still have so that you won’t end up buying extra materials. Be organized and you will always be in a stress-free mood while sewing.
You always have some time to sew.
You say you LOVE to SEW but have no time. This isn’t always necessarily true. If a hobby finds your heart, you will always make enough time for it. For the next week schedule a specific time that you want to spend sewing. Sewing should be a “breath of fresh air” for you, it should really improve the quality of your life so you must make time for it. You'll find lots of time if you manage your priorities, and activities well. Make a calendar per week to help you keep up with all the activities that make you busy, then plan around that.
Pass it on.
What’s more gratifying than passing on your knowledge and excitement to others? Teaching can both help you and your prospective student, leaving both of you with such a rewarding feeling! Don’t stop researching for new tips on sewing and passing them onto others using online forums, social media, and even actual in person sessions. People will always thank you for teaching them, and in return, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing other people learn with your help.
Share your happiness, and be happy for others.
When sewing calls you to teach others, do it. And when you see others getting even better than you, have nothing but happiness for them. Never ever compare yourself to your students or to anyone you have taught (or anyone else for that matter) because you ALL have different strengths and weaknesses in your craft. Focus on what makes you better at sewing and be happy when others start to improve on their skills.
“Love yourself first.”
When practising a hobby, we sometimes forget that in order to satisfy ourselves and sustain the passion for it, we must make something for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a fancy gown or bag. It can be as simple as an apron with your favorite color and design, just to remind you that you are doing yourself a treat and that you must enjoy your hobby and the products you make out of it. As cliché as it may sound but it’s true: “Love yourself first”.
Enjoy your hobby, do not make it a self-punishment.
A hobby is a hobby and not “work” so don’t put too much burden on yourself in doing it. Just enjoy and have fun. You don’t have to be too hard on yourself, right? Instead of obliging yourself to “always sew”, you can just make small dress alterations, do cute projects that take a little of your time. That’s what a hobby is for, right? So make each time enjoyable.
If you have any other ideas and helpful tip for a stress-free sewing hobby, please leave them in the comments below. I know we have a lot of readers who are experienced sewists, so I'm sure there are some other terrific ideas. See you next time!