Learning to Sew to Refresh Your Wardrobe, Boost Your Mood and Make New Friends
As part of a campaign last year to reduce textile microfibre pollution, the Women’s Institute also encouraged its members to repair clothes, instead of simply throwing them away. Many people find even the basics of sewing quite daunting but, if you are one of them, there are plenty of good reasons to learn and many opportunities to be inspired. Since the organisation began, it was the WI’s aim to provide the best instruction in handicrafts and to this day, they still offer a wide range of sewing courses at Denman. From patchwork and embroidery to dressmaking and soft furnishings, not only can you learn valuable and practical sewing techniques, but you will also benefit from meeting new people and sharing creative ideas.
Learning Practical Skills
As sewing is rising in popularity again examples of sewing can be disheartening but taking small steps to learn even very basic sewing techniques is really satisfying, especially if it can simply stop you throwing away your clothes because of a small tear or missing button. Shop bought clothes can be personalised with easily sewn on embellishments and with the right equipment to suit your level, you can sew simple straight lines and make cushions and curtains to decorate your home. As your confidence grows and a higher level of skill is reached, whole new tailored outfits and beautiful, creative gifts for friends a family become a possibility.
Concentrating on Creativity
Another very good reason to overcome your nerves about sewing is that as well as producing useful products or attractive items, the art of sewing can keep your mind sharp and alert. The measuring, planning and stitching involved stimulates parts of the brain used for solving complex problems and tasks. You’ll find that fine motor skills and general dexterity are also improved, as are levels of concentration. Research shows that different forms of textile crafting such as sewing, knitting and embroidery, much like meditation, have a positive effect on mind health and well-being. In this way, being immersed in creative sewing or focusing on a particular task can also reduce stress and anxiety.
Sharing Skills and Socialising
It’s just over 100 years since the first exhibition of craftwork by WI members in Westminster, held to promote the practice of home handicrafts and help restore some of the best traditions of workmanship.This aim is still at the heart of the WI, and with it being the UK’s largest voluntary organisation with over 220,000 members, there are many opportunities to engage with other like-minded people, and plenty of support as you decide to tentatively try out sewing. As well as learning something new, joining a sewing class can give a sense of belonging, boosting levels of happiness, self-esteem and confidence.
From simple but satisfying tasks such as replacing a button to creating an elaborate piece of embroidery, sewing is a great antidote to the current throwaway culture and the stresses of modern day living. Everyone is welcome to join one of the many sewing courses on offer at Denman, where you will have the opportunity to make new friends and share innovative ideas, as well as master a valuable, traditional skill.
The author of this blog is Jacq Neill, who is now working as a freelance writer, but before this she spent the first part of her career working in fashion design and retail. She turned her back on this and now, as well as her writing, makes her own clothes and takes in repairs and mending for her friends and family. In her spare time she supports a range of charities that help people suffering with mental health problems. She herself battles anxiety and depression.