Friday, August 28, 2020

Hobbies as self-care


I picked up my new sewing machine last week, and I didn't realise just how much a missed having a fully functioning it's-a-pleasure-to-sew-with machine!  I bought my old machine in the very early 1990s, so it was almost thirty years old.  Even with regular servicing it was just O L D and did not sew as well as it could have.

So I chose this mid-range model from a moderately priced brand, and even though it's simple and basic, it's wonderful.

In the spirit of decluttering, I took my old machine to the auction, plus another machine I had too (it was even older).  Even if I only get $5 for each, someone else can get use from them, plus they are out of my house.  The Bernina lady told me that sewing machines are hard to come by all over the world, because everyone is sewing in lockdown.  From the order my machine was in, it was the only product that turned up - all the other machines were out of stock.

So far I have done some hemming and some upcycling, however I am becoming enthused about making clothes again now that I have a new machine.  I think sewing has always been my first love, right back to when I was ten years old and learned to sew.  In my teens I made lots of clothes, and it was such a fun time.  Mum said when I ran out of fabric I started raiding her sheets for material.  Oops!

Feeling good with my creativity and future projects got me to thinking that hobbies aren't just an enjoyable thing to do with our time.  They are also a form of self-care, just as much as having early nights or making yourselves healthy meals are.  When you find a hobby you love, you are enjoying yourself while you are doing it, but you are also clearing your mind.  You get into flow as you do something and your mind is settled.  There is no room for worrying thoughts of future possibilities or past issues when you are focused on your task.

My friend Justine who I have just reconnected with, spins wool and knits, and she told me that ten minutes on her spinning wheel calms her right down when she is feeling frazzled.  Gardening is the same; I'm sure baking is too, and many other hobbies.  And, at the end you get a result!  A garment, new yarn, a weeded garden, or some cookies.  How excellent is that!

My exciting project for my new sewing machine is that I am going to find some good patterns for summer dresses that are simple to make, flattering, and comfortable that I can wear every day when it's hot - we are just coming into Spring here in New Zealand.  I may even have a go at drafting my own pattern based on dresses that I like from my own wardrobe.

What do you do as a creative outlet and does it help your peace of mind too?

xx Fiona



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  1. Sewing is a lost art. I am giddy with anticipation to see what you create. I haven't really sewed on my machine since the early 90's when I would do old school Martha Stewart show projects, right when the internet was just starting. It was so satisfying. Enjoy!!!!!

  2. Congratulations, Fiona, on your new sewing machine! I purchased a simple, budget friendly machine a couple of years ago and have been very happy. I didn't want all of the computerized features just for mending or the small projects I like to do. I realized just today that a linen dress I rarely wear will provide enough fabric for a pair of drawstring waisted shorty pajama bottoms and it is even the color I need (the other bottoms just wore thin, sadly). You might start to "see" projects in other places, so watch out bedsheets!! Happy Spring from the US southwest desert where I try to dress in linen as temp today is 113 F. Thanks for all of your posts-will you do audio recordings again in the future?

  3. Good luck with your new machine! I have my trusty Sears Kenmore that my mom bought me when I was in High School....almost 50 years ago. I get it serviced every so often and it still runs great. Used to sew a lot...made most of my clothes and lots of other things. But now do not make clothes...though your dress idea sounds wonderful and I do have a pattern for one. Mostly I hem, make baby quilts, and now...MASKS! Enjoy your hobby time !

  4. Hi Fiona! I do not sew, but I crochet and do counted cross-stitch, and crochet especially is very relaxing. I make baby blankets for a local pregnancy resource center and lap blankets for an elder assisted living facility, so I feel that my hobby is doing a bit of good as well as giving my hands something to do when I stream a movie or TV show.

  5. Dear Fiona, My first sewing machine was a used one, probably from the 60s, and a sort of industrial-looking green, as I wanted to check if I actually wanted to sew - which I did. I then, some years back, bought a mid-range Bernina ( : ) ), and it was like day and night, modern sewing machines are wonderful.

    You are so right about hobbies as self care!


  6. I am searching for an appropriate machine for my 8 yr old granddaughter for her birthday. She sees herself as the next Coco Chanel and is ready to advance now to actual sewing. She has gone from holding her creations together with ribbon to scotch tape to needle and thread. I think she is ready for an age appropriate sewing machine. I remember getting our daughter a Holly Hobby machine when she was about that same age. Maybe they still make them. Love your blog here in the deep South USA!

  7. You are so right about hobbies as self-care. I bake when I need to de-stress. I was recently evacuated from my home due to the wildfires in Northern California, and our first living situation did not have an oven. But the second lodgings did, and I dove right into baking mode. It was so measured and normal and relaxing...and delicious — the resulting brownies were very much appreciated by all! I'm home as of yesterday, and the first thing I did was bake a pizza. Cream scones are on tap for this morning. So a hearty YES to hobbies as self-care!

  8. Hi Fiona, Thank you for all the wonderful posts. I am a knitter and want to get my sewing machine out again. I feel so good after a bit of knitting. It is like meditation for me and is very relaxing. I also love to make soup and think of it as my specialty. I love chopping everything on my butcher block ahead of time into tidy little piles and then I make the soup. I used to try to chop tings while cooking but that was not very relaxing! I always use a lot of veggies and love uses bits and bobs I have in the fridge as I know you do.

  9. Hobbies that include repetitive motion and quiet thoughtful time can greatly reduce anxiety and stress. Just like one can feel 'off' if they didn't follow their morning routine, I feel out of sorts if I've gone too many days without stitching or reading. For those of us who are also introverts its necessary as oxygen to us to regroup and retreat after a hectic day and hobbies can be a huge part of that. Im glad you are rediscovering your passion!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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