In a world that often moves a little too fast, the simple act of slow sewing (also known as slow stitching) can help you organize your thoughts, train your manual dexterity, and most of all, relax. We’re so often called upon to meet the immediate needs of the moment, or to meticulously plan for the future while we try to head off problems before they materialize, that we sometimes forget the value of focused, deliberate practice and the benefits of contemplative action. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the fascinating world of slow sewing and discuss some of the many benefits this activity has to offer young and old alike.
Slow sewing is precisely what its name implies—sewing slowly. This is done to place emphasis on the process of sewing and to allow time and space for greater attention to artistry and personal expression. It is journey focused rather outcome focused. By removing deadlines for completion and expectations of the finished product, a seamster creates an opportunity to sew for different reasons and (hopefully) to gain perspective and enjoyment during the process.
The practice of slow stitch has likely existed almost as long as the craft of sewing, but its prevalence today is largely attributed to Dr. Maria Montessori, who introduced her students at Cornaro Street School in Rome to some basic skills and techniques for making their own clothes using traditional needlework tools like needles, pins, scissors and thread as early as 1907.
In addition to teaching them how to slow stitch, Montessori also introduced her students to other forms of slow work such as slow reading and drawing, all of which effused a general philosophy of increased mindfulness during normal, daily activities for the health benefits conveyed by doing so.
While the practice of mindfulness has almost limitless applications in your daily life (as well as in your personal interactions and relationships) here are three of the most important ways slow sewing can help you. Crucially, each of these benefits have additional, positive impacts across multiple areas of living, both professional and personal.
Slow sewing can help you organize your thoughts, whether you’re dealing with a nuanced problem or just planning the rest of your day. The act of slow sewing is a deliberate one, and it’s easy to get lost in the process and lose track of time. That is, essentially, the same thing as meditation.
You might find that slow stitching helps you focus on what’s really important to you while getting caught up in the task at hand. Plus, with slow stitching, there are no deadlines. Because of this, it promotes simple mindfulness through its deliberate nature, and it gives you time to think about what to prioritize for yourself or your loved ones without feeling too rushed. Simply carving out that time for yourself every day has benefits all its own.
Slow stitching can also train manual dexterity. While some people may see slow stitch as a relaxing activity for older folks who have slowed down physically due to age or illness, many others use this crafting method as an opportunity to keep their hands nimble through repetitive motions which work out stiff joints and muscles while promoting strong bones (and making beautiful works of art).
Physicians, professional gamers, computer specialists, musicians, or anyone who relies on their hands for their livelihood can benefit from the strengthening qualities of slow sewing. Because there are no deadlines, this activity can also create a wonderful opportunity for beginners who want an easy project but may not have yet mastered all the skills necessary for some of the more complicated crafts projects out there (like making quilts).
Last, but certainly not least, slow stitching can help you relax. Any activity performed with mindfulness and deliberation invites quiet time and reflection, which in turn promotes relaxation of the mind and body. Activities like slow sewing can also promote mindfulness by giving you an opportunity to experience and participate in the present, rather than dividing your attention between the past and future. By focusing on the beauty and function of each and every stitch, you’ll develop the meticulous nature needed to cope with stress and never lose a step.
Creating useful, enduring, artful items out of all kinds of fabric isn’t just our customers’ passion—it’s ours, too. Whether you see slow sewing as a means to simplify your life, or you’re a gritty professional churning out high quality products to serve your clients’ needs, Canvas ETC and our team of industry-defining professionals can help you get started today!