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6 mental health benefits of quilting

This week on the blog we are talking about the 6 mental health benefits of quilting. First, let me ask you, are you naturally creative? Did you grow up sewing and quilting, or did you find the craft later in life? No matter when or how you discovered sewing or quilting, you can probably attest to the therapeutic nature of just sitting down and being crafty. Let’s talk about just a few of the benefits of quilting and sewing!

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV or any other place in this world. I am certainly not minimizing the mental health crisis in our world or diminishing the value of medical treatment. But I have indeed experienced the value of sewing and quilting on my mental health wellbeing. I love to share quilting tips and tricks with you, so I felt drawn to sharing these benefits with you as well. I also wanted to share this experience with you because, honestly, I care about you enough to share this with you. I encourage you to stop and reflect on the joy of sewing and quilting. Limit the frustrating negative self-talk, criticisms, and unreasonable expectations we tend to throw our way.

6 mental health benefits of quilting

1. Feeling of involvement and community.

One of the most remarkable aspects of quilting is the community around the craft. Do you have new or long-time quilty friends? Do you attend quilting guild or membership meetings, retreats, or classes? Do you connect on social media with fellow quilters? Despite a pandemic that limited our physical connection, quilters found new ways to interact with the quilting community! The fellowship surrounding sewing and quilting is nothing short of astonishing. Quilters from all backgrounds can come together with a common goal, put aside our differences, and support each other. So whether you are an introvert or extrovert, try to find new ways to connect with other quilters! Fostering those relationships with people who build you up can feel fantastic! Think about the feeling of sewing what YOU think is an ugly, wonky block and posting it on social media or showing a quilty friend. What happens next? Do other quilters agree with you and tell you to grab the seam ripper and start over? You should be ashamed?! NO! They cheer you on and tell you what a great job you did! There is nothing like the feeling of being cheered on by quilters and then doing the same for someone else!

2. Occupying your mind.

Oh, the concentration required of sewing and quilting can feel so good! This can be an excellent distraction for your mind. There have been days I just find myself folding the mess I have made of my fabric stash, just to take my mind off LIFE. Do you hand-stitch, crochet or embroider? It is definitely a task that you throw yourself into and keep your mind occupied. On a personal note (because I really feel I can be open and honest with my quilty readers), I recently suffered an injury to my dominant hand. This prevented me from sewing and quilting for a few months. I didn’t know what to do with myself! Suddenly, I found myself unable to do the things I usually did, coupled with needing help from others just to get day-to-day tasks accomplished. For a Type A person, this crumbled me and had a significant impact on my mental wellbeing. I missed sewing, and heck, I even missed ironing (which I usually hate). Even though I couldn’t use my sewing machine or rotary cutter, I found that just BEING in my space made me feel better. I would find little tasks that I could do in my sewing space, just to occupy my mind and take a break from life! This is why despite the busyness of life, I make time for my craft every day…even if it’s 5 minutes at 5:00 a.m. Carve that time out for you and see how you feel!

3. Embracing your confidence.

Think about the last quilting victory you had. I’m not talking about completing a king-size quilt in a day. I’m talking about ignoring the obligatory quilt police, sewing a seam, opening up your fabrics, and realizing that it’s beautiful. Maybe it’s realizing your points match EXACTLY, even if it just happened once. Maybe it was that your seam actually measures a perfect 1/4 inch! Or perhaps it’s finding a fabric you love and then perfectly matching it to others when you typically can’t coordinate anything yourself. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to stop being hard on yourself. We want our quilts to be beautiful and perfect, and we sometimes get discouraged if they aren’t. Like I said, there are no quilt police, and those small “mistakes” that we see, most people will not! Being an artist doesn’t mean we are perfect. So stop trying to strive for perfection! Find one place you want to improve, no matter how small, and work towards that. Then when you accomplish it, CELEBRATE it! Be proud of your craft! Be happy and pleased with your efforts!

4. Feeling of accomplishment.

Similar to embracing your confidence, you should celebrate your wins! No matter how small or large! Relax, enjoy the process. Don’t get overwhelmed by not knowing everything or not being perfect. Embrace your creativity and be proud of everything you do! As you create, take the time to step back and admire your work! Many of you have probably made a quilt as a gift for someone. Think about this for a moment…you may have been hard on yourself during the process, but when you gifted the quilt, what happened? Chances are the recipient and probably people around them instantly said WOW! They told you how amazing it was and what a great job you did. Think about that feeling and remember it. Celebrate your skills and be proud of yourself!

5. Improving concentration.

If you have been sewing or quilting for any length of time, you can probably attest to the fact that your best work comes when you are concentrating. Where do you think the famous phrase “measure twice, cut once” came from? Trust me…it did NOT originate from someone concentrating so hard they added a few extra frown lines to their brow. I guarantee it was someone flying aimlessly along in their fabric cutting, and they made that fatal cut. You know the one… we’ve all done it. You make the wrong cut, then curse yourself and your project with your own chosen vocabulary. Here’s a news flash…concentration is good for the mind (and the fabric)! So embrace the attention that you should put into your craft. Many quilters will recommend that you don’t sew or quilt when you are tired or distracted. Why is that? Because we don’t do a good job when we aren’t concentrating. When I have a task that I want to do a good job with, I throw myself ALL in and focus. And I feel better when I do! Do you need help finding that concentration? Here’s a great article I found from Harvard Medicine on how to improve your concentration!

6. Embracing “alone time”.

Oh, this is so important. I know what you are going to say. But Ledine, I have little ones that occupy ALL my time….I have a full-time job and a home and NO time to sew…and so on…I know. I feel ya, and I am right there with you! But hear me out…this seems to be what I love most about my quilting time and how it has really improved my mental health. I am blessed to have a devoted sewing room. It’s an extra bedroom, it’s nothing fancy, but you know what it is? MY SPACE! Before I had my own sewing space, I would sew at our dining room table. My fabric and supplies were kept in a hallway closet. I would get everything out to sew, then put everything back when I was done (sometimes)! No matter what your sewing space looks like, I would encourage you to make it yours and embrace it! Look for ideas on making the best use of whatever space you have! Now that we have the space issue addressed, let’s talk about the time we spend there. The same could be said for the amount of time you have to devote to sewing. Do you sew for 8 hours, or do you have to score 5 minutes between baby naps? Make the time YOURS and enjoy it! If you can only spare 5 minutes in the morning before work, plan it, put it on your calendar, set an alarm, whatever you have to do to make it work, and EMBRACE it. This is one of the reasons I like small projects that I can complete in a shorter period of time. I get things done quicker!

Still don’t believe me? Read this interesting article from the Journal of Public Health about the relationship between quilting and wellbeing! I am not minimizing the mental health crisis in our world or diminishing the value of medical treatment. I am simply sharing my experience with my quilty community. We all have our own troubles, but I encourage you to embrace your craft and find your joy.

Comment and tell me how sewing and quilting help you and your mental well-being. I’d also love to hear your suggestions as well! If you have found the information in this article helpful, leave me a comment and share with a friend!

The information I have shared here is not an attempt to practice medicine or give medical advice. The sole purpose of this article is to be informative and to share my experience with my readers. This should NEVER replace a consultation with a doctor or seeking medical advice. If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health or medical emergency, please consult a physician or call 911. The National Institute of Mental Health is an excellent source of information regarding mental health and has resources for the public.


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i'm ledine


I'm the caffeinated quilting extraordinaire, who loves to share quilty educational content for quilters of all skill levels! 

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