12 Helpful Tips for a Stress Free Sewing Hobby

stress free sewing

Stress-free Sewing

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.

  1.  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.

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

  1. 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!

stress free sewing

  1. 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”.

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

  1. 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!

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

  1. “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”.

stress free sewing

  1. 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.

stress free sewing

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!

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46 Responses to 12 Helpful Tips for a Stress Free Sewing Hobby

  1. Ronald Horner says:

    The best tip is the first one. I have 6 projects on the go and find myself being bogged down as to I cannot figure out which one I want to work on lol Focus is a skill I have yet to acquire lol

  2. Tina Query says:

    I think this article has excellent advice that applies to just about anything, not only sewing! Very wise (and mentally healthy!).

  3. Lori says:

    So Sew Easy website is a great pick-me-up and I love to see what you girls/guys are up to. So inspiring. Thanks!

  4. Tammy Hoss says:

    Listening to your favorite music is also relaxing if it doesn’t distract you from your project.

  5. Sewing has saved my life more than you can imagine, as well as crochet and knitting. I love that I can drop one art for another as the mood suits me. Shopping/window shopping simply to enjoy new fabrics, yarn, etc. Many years ago we had a fabric store which when I entered, the world simply disappeared as I became mesmerized by the beauty and feel of their amazing fabrics. Unfortunately, the cheaper competition ended their business. I regret having not bought more fabric. On a positive note, I made gorgeous curtains and drapes for our 22 windows in our new home with sumptuous fabrics.

  6. Louisa Russell says:

    I have come to sewing later in life.I’m soon to be 73 God willing. I have had an electric sewing machine since 1990 and before that, a Singer treadle. I worked full time and didn’t have the time to spend on projects while looking after home and family.
    I love the beautiful American quilts and admire the wonderful women who make them. The amazing effect of free motion is so skilled, I have tried it and failed but will continue to keep on trying. I got a new sewing machine a year ago and love it.
    I find it a joy and a pleasure to make gifts for friends and family. I have learnt so much from so -sew -easy and you tube, thank you. From make up bags and inserting zips to needle books and bag organisers. Everyone who has received a gift has been delighted and that makes me so happy. I agree that sewing is a great stress reliever. Also, doing one thing at a time makes it a pleasure. I feel we are never too old to learn and I wish for you all to find joy and peace in sewing as I do.

  7. Katja says:

    Whenever I need fast success in sewing and I am not in the mood for difficult, long lasting stuff, I do some small projects like panties or doll garments.

  8. Penny Hammack says:

    I have fibromyalgia and have very limited energy. I also find it almost impossible to find the kind of clothes I need online so I make most of my own clothing. I try to sew a little every day, usually no more than twenty minutes a day. Yes, it takes me forever to make a garment but I get it done.

  9. irma PFABE says:

    you are soooooo right !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Jacquelyn Bradley Nelson says:

    I love it!

  11. vanseetersdorothy. Van seeters says:

    I sew and it keeps me happy. Iam 93 and raising a retared girl alone. Sewing is so good for me

  12. Dorothy. Van says:

    Yes sewing is a life saver for me i am 93 and rasing a retarded girl sewing helps me through the day i am making a wedding. Ring quilt for my. Great grandson who is getting married

  13. Kathleen Liessa says:

    Loved this article and the supportive comments from all.
    I would say to Jeanette a quote by an unknown author
    “Sewing soothes the soul”.
    So just go for it no matter what your house looks like! You will be glad you did.

  14. Pingback: Bad Sewing Habits: It's Time For a Change - So Sew Easy

  15. Trish says:

    If I am sewing in the evening and make a mistake, I stop. Right then. I do not even fix the mistake.

    • Betty Visser says:

      My mother always told me that when you start to make mistakes it is time to take a break right then and come back later with fresh perspective and energy. It has worked for me for many years!

    • Tina Query says:

      I worked in tailor shops, and if it was getting late in the day and I was getting tired, I found it paid to put a “problem” aside and go back to it first thing in the morning with “fresh” eyes. Stressing doesn’t help your work, ever!!

  16. Judy says:

    Rediscovering my sewing passion has meant so much to me. I went through years (decades even) of very difficult trials, and life had become nothing other than just something to get through. I began watching crafting videos on YouTube, which eventually led to watching sewing videos. I realized that all of those roadblocks I thought kept me from becoming a better seamstress weren’t there any more with the advent of so much hands-on information so available online. This in turn has even led me to learn a brand new passion which is quilting! When I’m sewing (or crafting or quilting) I get to just concentrate on the task at hand and I can feel myself relax and really enjoy where my creativity takes me. So in a way, sewing has saved my life. Thank you for your wonderful ideas and patterns and advice, and for sharing your knowledge with others.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      You are welcome Judy, I am happy you have found an oasis in this crazy fast life and that you overcame your fears. Love to have a pick at what you have been up to 🙂

  17. Mrs J Kavanagh says:

    Loved Your Quotes. I have recently started embroidery again and have found several projects I had never finished, and I am finishing them and even finding new uses for them such as decorating a cushion. I do have a few projects on the go – but I do them at different times – i.e. Crochet in front of TV, embroidery while minding young children, and of course sewing just because I enjoy the construction of each piece, Jenny QLD Aust.

  18. Joy says:

    I deal with a lot of stress and anxiety on a regular basis. Sewing started out as a fun hobby, but now I have a love/hate relationship with it. Once people find out you can sew, it can become an anxious chore. “I want you to make a purse for me.” “You can make some curtains for my daughter.” “You can hem these six pairs of pants for my dad, right?” It’s a lot of pressure. I like sewing things for others, but only on my terms and when I want to do it. If I HAVE to do it, or feel obligated, that just sucks the joy out of it. I have told people “no” before, but when family or a close friend asks, it’s tough to turn them down. Non-sewists don’t understand the time and effort you have to put into something. Sorry to be a downer, but the struggle is real! 🙂

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I hear you, Joy, this is what I do. Thank you for trusting me with this task, however, I am swamped with so many projects but I can recommend you a seamstress that charges very reasonable prices. If she can not do it, come back to me in two months and I might be free, by then people forget about it and so have I 🙂 Hope that helps.

      • Genesis 1:31 Creative Ministry says:

        Awesome! 🙂 Great response! (drawing got this kind of reaction for me (and i stopped! This is something i wish i knew to say at the time!) So thank you VERY much for this article (this response), for i too deal with anxiety a lot and i am MUCH slower in making projects than others (and they turn out weird sometimes)…This reminds me of experiments at cooking! I must keep this in mind! 😀

    • Robbie McGurran says:

      Totally agree and you stated it exactly as it is. I don’t think your dearest family and friends realize that you might want to say no and when you do, then you get to feel guilty. It’s a bummer. Thanks for posting.

    • Tina Query says:

      I worked in sewing and alterations for years, and often had to do jobs that weren’t easy or fun, or else there would be a lot of time pressure. Now that I’m retired I feel I’ve earned the right to choose what things I’ll do for others and I’ll say no if it’s too much or not something I want to do. Don’t let others push you!! It can make sewing work instead of being a fun hobby.

  19. Excellent advice, and thank you so much for that. I learnt to sew on a machine (Singer Treadle) at the age of about 8, & by 14 made all of my clothes. I bought my first bought curtains last year, at the age of 62. I have had several breakdowns, & haven’t done any sewing in the last 5 years, & when I decided enough was enough & I was going to get back to it & sat at the machine I’d had for 20 years, I couldn’t remember how to use it. I’m getting better at it, but I have 1 major problem with it. My mother (a sewer herself) always drummed into me, that the house “must be clean & tidy first.” I never really had much confidence, still don’t, and don’t feel “entitled” to sew, & feel as though I’m constantly fighting for that right. She’s long gone, I live alone, my house is constantly untidy, & even my sister agrees that our house was never “clean & tidy”, yet mum used to sew when she wanted to. I’ve tried everything I can think of to beat this.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi, Jeanette, it seems to me that you are unconsciously sabotaging your sewing time, the house is messy so I can not sew, I cannot sew because the house is messy. It is not whether you have or not an untidy house, but as you said you lack the confidence. I suggest starting by creating a corner for your hobby, a place with good day light near the fire in the winter. Then start with an easy project, like an oven mitt or an apron, but not just cut the fabric, piece a few scraps together to make a fabric that is pleasing to you. It might seem like a simple project but what you are doing is putting your own twist, no one will have the same. Make one project at a time, if something does not come out right find out why what went wrong and how you can make it better. Hope this helps, let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Kind Regards,

    • Tammy says:

      Jeanette, you deserve to spend your time sewing or doing whatever you wish to do. Please remind yourself of this by saying it out loud to yourself every morning when you wake up. It will feel silly at first, but when you come to believe it, it will be very liberating.

    • Bev Folkers says:

      Jeanette, here is something that maybe you haven’t tried and it might be a help in your quest to get past this mental block. If your set a small goal of one area you will clean/tidy, and give yourself 1 hour to do that task. Then, set the reward as a set amount of time (1 hour?) to sew when that task is done. You will be amazed at how much cleaning/tidying you can get done in one hour, and how refreshing it will be to you, cumulative over time. You also can potentially feel free to refresh yourself with sewing. Breaking up big tasks into smaller ones and rewarding ourselves periodically along the way is a trick used by professional time managers. Happy sewing! :o)

  20. Sheila Wagner says:

    I so loved this article. I am one for the most part who only works on one project at a time. I am an everyday sewer and I like to do my best with eafch project. Your tips will help to keep me grounded and stress free. Thank you so much.

  21. TXbluebonnet says:

    I’m one of those who buy fabric I like when I see it (you should see my stash)! If I don’t get it when I see it, it won’t be there when I go back for it! I have 6 or 7 projects going right now. So I did step back and am finishing them, one by one, to get a handle on what’s next! So far, I finished a BIG Project; I made and finished a dress for Granddaughter’s birthday along with a mermaid doll with bikinis and a cute fish purse; a table runner; and now I’m starting to work on a project I started 8 years ago – mainly to just get the space in my cabinet! Slowly but surely! Good article!

  22. Patricia M Burckhardt says:

    This is such good advice. I intend to try to use it. Also I have realized when I get tired, I tend to try and hurry so I can finish and lately I’m laying it down for another day so I don’t have to spend as much time ripping out stuff.

  23. Wendy Thairs says:

    Also be kind about some one else’s sewing. Encouragement, not put downs.

    • BettyKay says:

      Amen to that! Especially young sewers. You certainly don’t want to discourage them. They just quit trying to learn.

  24. Ann Marks says:

    keep the cats out of the sewing room, they like to rip up pattern tissue !

  25. Crazy Granny says:

    As one who is always getting new ideas from the internet and magazines, I’m guilty of having multiple projects going all the time…and they’re all over the room! So your advice is priceless, especially as I’ll be starting Christmas gifts very soon. Even though I’m an every day sewer, I’m going to make a list for a maximum of 2 projects a week and stick to it.

    You’re advice is SO practical and sensible. Thank you very much!!!

  26. ireneshooter says:

    That was such good advice, thank you for sharing?

  27. Sheryl Lawrence says:

    Your article reminds me how much I used to live to sew. I need to make time to do it amidst my other tasks. Thanks for the inspiration.

  28. Susanne McMurray says:

    That was great!

  29. Rita Pecbot says:

    Good advice.

  30. Sarnia Mitchell says:

    I think the following tips were just awesome. I actually went out today to buy things yo organize my sewing. Thank you very much!

  31. Debra S says:

    Just what I needed to hear!

  32. Jodie Dew says:

    Some great tips. I personally have to have some good music on when sewing and no reg tv. If I am sewing something simple that I have good confidence about I listen to upbeat country rock or blues. If it is something more difficult I need soothing music to help keep me calm. I also do a few minutes of meditation before starting to help me become focused and centered. Nothing makes me makes mistakes like being rushed or distracted.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      So true Jodie, personally when I rush or watch tv I tend to have to use the seam reaper. Otherwise, it remains untouched by the sewing machine.

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