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Why is sewing and needlework so good for us?
When I started out in Further Education, I lectured in anatomy and physiology so it’s from this angle (sort of) I blog today. Apart from the obvious benefits of being handy with a needle: no more loose buttons or sagging hems, up-dating our wardrobe from last year so saving money or being able to turn our skills to a business venture, there is yet another and more overwhelming reason why taking up sewing is good for us. Studies show it’s actually good for us!
Taking up a sewing task requires us to be physically and mentally alert. Hand-eye co-ordination is proven to be good for brain functioning, it maintains fine motor skills and being able to make and mend works wonders for our self -esteem. It’s one of the most rewarding things when you have created something to stand back and think “I did that”.
Sewing skills can also open up our social life. Attending a course is a great way to get out and meet new people. Many of our learners return course after course, binding new friendships while improving on what they have previously learned, discussing where to buy fabrics or which website has the best deals on sewing machines. Some of my learners have even said coming to a class is their therapy.
Last year, one national newspaper highlighted the advantage of quilting after it had been researched that quilting classes improved cognitive thinking, problem solving and manual dexterity. You don’t get that with jogging or the gym!
Sewing classes brings benefits across the age spectrum. Sewing is a familiar activity for many older people with the added benefits of getting them out of the house and meeting other like – minded people whilst being productive and creative as well as combatting social isolation. Let’s not forget too that no amount of medication can elevate the issues of loneliness, low self- esteem or the anxiety of an unoccupied mind.
For the young, it teaches a new skill that is no longer taught in the majority of schools and gives an abundance of knowledge for those students following design based GCSE subjects. There are now 2 generations of people who have not been offered needlework as a compulsory or optional subject at school.
In 2002,Betsan Corkhill, a former physiotherapist, left the NHS and began working on craft magazines. She was presented with massive amounts of emails and letters extolling the virtues of sewing classes, clubs and knitting circles saying they help alleviate feelings of depression and can even in some cases reduce the need for pain relieving medication. There is a strong link between positive mental attitude and mental and physical wellbeing.
Betsan was fascinated and inspired and found that the benefits to us don’t stop with sewing and continued research into the therapeutic effects of knitting and other needle working.
Findings to date show that needlework, including sewing, embroidery, crochet and knitting has a neurochemical effect on the brain and that it changes brain chemistry in a positive way by decreasing stress hormones and increasing the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.
So, is there no better reason for taking up a new skill in the new- year than it will make us feel better both physically and mentally? Don’t forget the practical angle here. Alterations shops charge £2+ for sewing on a button, £17+ for shortening jeans. Bespoke dressmakers can charge upwards of £2,500 for making a wedding dress and a well-known High street retailer charges an arm and a leg for making up curtains and Roman blinds.
There we are then. If you didn’t already know, sewing is good for us – FACT!
As always, we welcome your comments on this or any other part of the site, so why not get in touch. Application are invited for any of the upcoming courses and as always we urge you act swiftly to avoid disappointment. Class sizes are kept small to ensure individual attention and we have a waiting list in place for those who are unable to get on the first date available. Please note that prices of all courses will increase from 1.6.12
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