6 Reasons Why Sewing is Good for You

6 Reasons Why Sewing is Good for you.

The Health Benefits of Sewing: Nurturing Mind, Body, and Soul

In a fast-paced world dominated by screens and constant connectivity, finding a hobby that nurtures both mind and body can be a game-changer. Sewing, a timeless craft that has been passed down through generations, offers a myriad of physical and mental health benefits. From honing new skills to fostering creativity, from promoting mindfulness to building social connections, sewing is much more than just a way to make clothes or home decor. It’s a holistic activity that can significantly enhance your well-being.

1. The Brain Boost of Learning New Skills

Engaging in sewing provides a fantastic workout for your brain. Learning to sew involves understanding patterns, measuring fabric, and following complex instructions, all of which require cognitive skills. This process helps in:

– Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills: Figuring out how to fix mistakes or alter patterns improves your ability to think critically and creatively.

– Improving Memory: Remembering various sewing techniques and steps can enhance your memory and cognitive function.

– Boosting Concentration: The detailed nature of sewing requires focus and attention, which can improve overall concentration in other areas of life.

2. Physical Benefits: Keeping Active

While sewing may not be as physically demanding as some other activities, it still offers significant physical benefits:

– Fine Motor Skills:Handling needles, thread, and fabric enhances hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

– Posture and Core Strength: Sitting properly while sewing encourages good posture and can help strengthen your core muscles.

-Hand Dexterity: Repeated movements involved in sewing can improve the dexterity and flexibility of your hands and fingers.

3. Creativity and Project Planning

Sewing is a perfect outlet for creativity. Whether you’re designing a new dress or crafting a quilt, the process allows you to express yourself through colours, fabrics, and designs. This creative process involves:

– Project Planning: From choosing patterns to selecting materials and colours, sewing projects require planning and organization, which can improve your ability to manage tasks and see a project through to completion.

– Innovative Thinking: Sewing encourages thinking outside the box, especially when it comes to customizing designs or repurposing old materials.

4. Sense of Well-Being and Achievement

Completing a sewing project, whether it’s a simple pillowcase or an intricate garment, provides a profound sense of achievement. This accomplishment can:

– Boost Self-Esteem: Successfully finishing a project enhances your confidence and sense of self-worth.

– Provide a Sense of Purpose: Working towards a tangible goal gives a sense of purpose and direction, which can be incredibly fulfilling.

5. Mindfulness and Distraction from Problems

Sewing offers a meditative quality that can be a powerful tool for mindfulness. The repetitive motions and focus required can:

– Reduce Stress: Focusing on the task at hand can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety levels.

– Provide a Healthy Distraction: Engaging in sewing can distract you from everyday worries and problems, offering a therapeutic escape.

6.  Social Benefits: Classes and Friendships

Sewing can also be a social activity, providing opportunities to connect with others who share similar interests. Attending sewing classes or joining sewing groups can:

– Foster Community: Building connections with fellow sewers can create a sense of community and belonging.

– Encourage Collaboration: Sharing tips, ideas, and resources with others can enhance your skills and provide a support system.

– Create Lasting Friendships: Meeting people with similar passions can lead to meaningful and lasting friendships.

Conclusion – 6 reasons why sewing is good for you.

Sewing is a multifaceted activity that nurtures both mental and physical health. It sharpens cognitive skills, enhances creativity, promotes mindfulness, and provides a sense of achievement. Additionally, it offers a unique opportunity to build social connections and foster community. Whether you’re a seasoned seamstress or a beginner, picking up a needle and thread can be a rewarding and health-boosting endeavor. So, why not give it a try? Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

Useful links:

Sewing Classes & workshops at Artisan Stitch

5 Health Benefits of Sewing and Why You Should Try It 


Man-Made Fibres

Man-Made Fibres

Exploring Man-Made Fibres: A Comprehensive Guide

Man-made fibres, distinct from synthetic fibres, are derived from natural sources, typically plants, and undergo extensive processing to be transformed into usable textiles. This guide delves into their origins, processing methods, properties, benefits, drawbacks, and environmental impact.

Origins of Man-Made Fibres

Man-made fibres are created from naturally occurring polymers found in cellulose, which is extracted from plant sources such as wood pulp, bamboo, and cotton linters. Key types include:

Rayon (Viscose): Made from wood pulp treated with chemicals to create a fibre that mimics the properties of silk.

Lyocell: Derived from wood pulp but uses a more environmentally friendly solvent in its processing.

Modal: A type of rayon made from beech tree pulp, known for its softness and high absorbency.

Cupro: Created from cotton linter (the short fibres near the seeds), processed to produce a silky fibre.

Processing into Usable Textiles

  1. Cellulose Extraction: The cellulose is extracted from plant sources and purified.
  2. Dissolution: The cellulose is dissolved in a chemical solution to form a viscous liquid.
  3. Spinning: The viscous liquid is extruded through a spinneret to form long fibres.
  4. Regeneration: The extruded fibres are solidified by coagulation in a chemical bath, regenerating the cellulose structure.
  5. Washing and Bleaching: The fibres are washed and often bleached to remove impurities.
  6. Cutting and Finishing: The fibres are cut to the desired length and treated to enhance properties such as dye affinity and softness.

Properties of Man-Made Fibres

Softness: Often softer than many natural fibres.

Absorbency: High moisture absorption, making them comfortable to wear.

Breathability: Good air permeability, enhancing comfort.

Drape: Excellent drapability, providing a smooth, flowing appearance.

Versatility: Can be engineered to mimic the properties of various natural fibres.

Pros of Man-Made Fibres

Versatility in Textures: Can be made to resemble silk, cotton, wool, and other natural fibres.

Enhanced Performance: Improved qualities such as increased strength, durability, and softness.

Cost-Effective: Often cheaper to produce than some natural fibres.

Consistent Quality: More uniform in quality compared to natural fibres.

Cons of Man-Made Fibres

Chemical Processing: Involves the use of chemicals, which can be harmful to the environment if not managed properly.

Less Natural Feel: Some man-made fibres may not have the same tactile qualities as their natural counterparts.

Environmental Concerns: The production process can be resource-intensive and polluting.

Environmental Impact

Manufacturing Process

Resource Use: Uses natural raw materials, but the chemical processing can offset some environmental benefits.

Energy Consumption: Energy-intensive processes, though typically less than fully synthetic fibre production.

Chemical Pollution: Potential release of harmful chemicals during processing, though advancements like closed-loop systems in lyocell production mitigate this.


Biodegradability: Generally more biodegradable than synthetic fibres but still dependent on specific fibre type and processing.

Recycling Challenges: Limited recycling options due to the chemical treatments and mixed fibre compositions.

Sustainable Alternatives and Practices

Closed-Loop Systems: Technologies that recycle water and solvents in the production process, reducing environmental impact.

Eco-Friendly Fibres: Development of fibres like lyocell, which use less harmful chemicals and more sustainable processes.

Sustainable Sourcing: Ensuring the raw materials are sourced from responsibly managed forests and plantations.

Consumer Awareness: Promoting sustainable fashion choices and proper disposal methods.


Man-made fibres offer a blend of natural origins and engineered performance, providing a versatile and cost-effective alternative to purely natural and synthetic fibres. While they bring numerous benefits to the textile industry, their environmental impact warrants careful consideration and ongoing efforts towards more sustainable production and disposal practices. By understanding and addressing these impacts, we can make more informed choices that benefit both our wardrobes and the planet.

Further reading: Natural fibres


Natural Fibres

Natural Fibres: Sources, Processing, and Environmental Impact

Natural fibres have been integral to human civilization for millennia, providing materials for clothing, textiles, and other essential goods. With increasing awareness of sustainability and environmental impact, the use of natural fibres has garnered renewed interest. This article delves into the various natural fibres, their sources, harvesting and processing methods, environmental impact, properties, and end uses, as well as their biodegradability and recyclability.

Sources of Natural Fibres

Natural fibres are derived from plants, animals, and minerals. The most common natural fibres used in the textile industry include:

  1. Cotton: Sourced from the cotton plant’s seed hair.
  2. Wool: Obtained from the fleece of sheep.
  3. Silk: Produced by silkworms spinning their cocoons.
  4. Linen: Made from the flax plant’s stalk.
  5. Hemp: Extracted from the hemp plant’s stalk.
  6. Jute: Derived from the jute plant’s stem.
  7. Bamboo: Processed from bamboo grass.
  8. Alpaca: Harvested from the fleece of alpacas.
  9. Angora: Collected from angora rabbits.
  10. Camel: Sourced from the undercoat of camels.
  11. Yak: Obtained from the undercoat of yaks.

Harvesting and Processing into Yarns


  • Harvesting: Cotton is picked either manually or using machines.
  • Processing: It undergoes ginning to separate fibres from seeds, carding to align fibres, and spinning to create yarn.


  • Harvesting: Sheep are sheared once or twice a year.
  • Processing: Wool is cleaned (scoured) to remove lanolin and impurities, carded, and then spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: Silkworms spin cocoons, which are then harvested.
  • Processing: Cocoons are boiled to kill the pupae and unwind the silk filaments, which are then spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: Flax plants are pulled from the ground.
  • Processing: Retting (rotting) breaks down the plant stalk, fibres are extracted, cleaned, and spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: Hemp is cut or pulled from the ground.
  • Processing: Retting and decortication separate fibres from the stalk, followed by spinning into yarn.


  • Harvesting: Jute plants are harvested by hand.
  • Processing: Retting, stripping, and spinning processes create yarn from the fibres.


  • Harvesting: Bamboo stalks are cut down.
  • Processing: Bamboo is mechanically crushed and enzymatically treated to extract fibres, which are then spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: Alpacas are sheared once a year.
  • Processing: Fleece is cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: Angora rabbits are gently combed or sheared several times a year.
  • Processing: The fibres are cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: The undercoat is collected during the moulting season.
  • Processing: Fibres are cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn.


  • Harvesting: The undercoat is collected through combing or shedding during the spring.
  • Processing: Fibres are cleaned, carded, and spun into yarn.

Environmental Impact of Growing and Processing


  • Water Use: Highly water-intensive, especially in regions with irrigation.
  • Chemicals: Heavy pesticide and fertilizer use.
  • Impact: Soil degradation, water pollution, and high carbon footprint.


  • Water Use: Moderate, mainly for washing.
  • Chemicals: Pesticides for parasite control, detergents for scouring.
  • Impact: Land use, methane emissions from sheep.


  • Water Use: Moderate.
  • Chemicals: Limited use, mainly for cleaning.
  • Impact: Mulberry cultivation affects biodiversity.


  • Water Use: Low.
  • Chemicals: Minimal pesticide and fertilizer use.
  • Impact: Low ecological footprint, biodegradable.


  • Water Use: Low to moderate.
  • Chemicals: Minimal use of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Impact: Soil improvement properties, biodegradable.


  • Water Use: Moderate.
  • Chemicals: Minimal pesticide use.
  • Impact: Biodegradable, low environmental footprint.


  • Water Use: Moderate.
  • Chemicals: Some chemical treatments in fibre extraction.
  • Impact: Renewable resource, biodegradable.


  • Water Use: Low.
  • Chemicals: Minimal chemical use.
  • Impact: Low environmental impact, biodegradable.


  • Water Use: Low.
  • Chemicals: Minimal chemical use.
  • Impact: Ethical concerns about animal welfare, biodegradable.


  • Water Use: Low.
  • Chemicals: Minimal chemical use.
  • Impact: Low environmental impact, biodegradable.


  • Water Use: Low.
  • Chemicals: Minimal chemical use.
  • Impact: Low environmental impact, biodegradable.

Properties, Pros, and Cons of Natural Fibres


  • Properties: Soft, breathable, absorbent.
  • Pros: Comfortable, widely available.
  • Cons: Environmental impact, shrinkage.


  • Properties: Warm, elastic, absorbent.
  • Pros: Insulating, moisture-wicking.
  • Cons: Can be itchy, prone to shrinkage.


  • Properties: Luxurious, strong, shiny.
  • Pros: Smooth, hypoallergenic.
  • Cons: Expensive, delicate care.


  • Properties: Strong, breathable, absorbent.
  • Pros: Durable, cool to wear.
  • Cons: Wrinkles easily, less elastic.


  • Properties: Strong, durable, breathable.
  • Pros: Resistant to mould, softens with wear.
  • Cons: Can be coarse, limited colour options.


  • Properties: Strong, coarse.
  • Pros: Biodegradable, cost-effective.
  • Cons: Not as soft, limited use in apparel.


  • Properties: Soft, breathable, antibacterial.
  • Pros: Renewable, biodegradable.
  • Cons: Chemical processing concerns, durability issues.


  • Properties: Soft, warm, hypoallergenic.
  • Pros: Lightweight, strong, less prickly than wool.
  • Cons: Higher cost, limited availability.


  • Properties: Extremely soft, warm, lightweight.
  • Pros: Luxuriously soft, high insulation.
  • Cons: Ethical concerns, requires blending with other fibres for durability.


  • Properties: Warm, soft, durable.
  • Pros: Excellent insulation, less greasy than wool.
  • Cons: Higher cost, limited availability.


  • Properties: Warm, soft, strong.
  • Pros: Comparable to cashmere, durable.
  • Cons: Higher cost, limited availability.

Environmental Impact of Disposal

Natural fibres generally decompose more easily than synthetic fibres. However, the rate of decomposition varies:

  • Cotton, Linen, Hemp, Jute, Bamboo, Alpaca, Angora, Camel, Yak: Biodegradable and compostable under the right conditions.
  • Wool: Biodegradable but can produce methane during decomposition.
  • Silk: Biodegradable but may require specific conditions.

Recycling options for natural fibres are also expanding, with many fibres being repurposed into new textiles, insulation, and other products.


Natural fibres offer a sustainable alternative to synthetic materials, with diverse applications and generally lower environmental impacts. However, considerations around water use, chemical treatments, and biodegradability are crucial for making informed choices. By prioritizing natural fibres and supporting sustainable practices, we can contribute to a more environmentally friendly textile industry.

Further reading:

Synthetic Fibres

Man-Made Fibres


Synthetic Fibres

Synthetic Fibres

Origins, Properties, and Environmental Impact

Synthetic fibres have revolutionized the textile industry with their versatility and cost-effectiveness. Derived primarily from petrochemicals, these fibres offer a range of properties suited for various applications. However, their production and disposal raise significant environmental concerns. This article explores the different types of synthetic fibres, their properties, pros and cons, production processes, environmental impacts, and challenges in recycling.

Types of Synthetic Fibres

  1. Polyester
  2. Nylon
  3. Acrylic
  4. Spandex (Lycra)
  5. Polypropylene

(There are many more but there are the most common ones).

Derivation and Production Process


  • Derivation: Derived from petroleum-based chemicals, mainly ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.
  • Production: Polymerization creates polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is melted and extruded into fibres.


  • Derivation: Made from petroleum products, primarily through the polymerization of caprolactam or hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid.
  • Production: Polymerized into nylon 6 or nylon 6,6, melted, and extruded into fibres.


  • Derivation: Derived from acrylonitrile, a petroleum-based compound.
  • Production: Polymerization of acrylonitrile, followed by extrusion into fibres.

Spandex (Lycra)

  • Derivation: Made from polyurethane, a synthetic polymer.
  • Production: Polymerization of diisocyanate and polyester/polyether, resulting in a stretchable fibre.


  • Derivation: Derived from propylene, a by-product of petroleum refining.
  • Production: Polymerization of propylene, followed by extrusion into fibres.

Properties, Pros, and Cons


  • Properties: Durable, resistant to shrinking and stretching, quick-drying.
  • Pros: Versatile, wrinkle-resistant, cost-effective.
  • Cons: Non-biodegradable, prone to pilling, less breathable.


  • Properties: Strong, elastic, abrasion-resistant.
  • Pros: Durable, lightweight, quick-drying.
  • Cons: Non-biodegradable, can retain odors, high static.


  • Properties: Soft, warm, lightweight.
  • Pros: Wool-like feel, resistant to moths, easy to dye.
  • Cons: Prone to pilling, less breathable, non-biodegradable.

Spandex (Lycra)

  • Properties: Highly elastic, strong, lightweight.
  • Pros: Excellent stretch, shape retention, durable.
  • Cons: Sensitive to heat, non-biodegradable, can degrade over time.


  • Properties: Lightweight, resistant to chemicals and moisture.
  • Pros: Insulating, quick-drying, resistant to mildew.
  • Cons: Low melting point, non-biodegradable, can be less comfortable.

Energy and Water Consumption in Production

Synthetic fibre production is energy-intensive, often requiring high temperatures and complex chemical processes. The production of polyester, for example, consumes significant amounts of energy due to the high-temperature polymerization process. Water use is generally lower than natural fibres, but the chemicals and dyes used can lead to water pollution.

Environmental Impact


  • Pollution: The production process releases greenhouse gases and pollutants, contributing to air and water pollution.
  • Energy Use: High energy consumption due to reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Chemical Use: Use of toxic chemicals in production and dyeing processes.


  • Non-biodegradable: Synthetic fibres take hundreds of years to decompose, contributing to landfill overflow.
  • Microplastic Pollution: Fibres shed during washing can enter waterways, harming marine life.
  • Recycling Challenges: Difficult to recycle due to mixed fibre compositions and degradation of quality during recycling processes.


Synthetic fibres, while offering durability and versatility, present significant environmental challenges from production to disposal. The reliance on fossil fuels, high energy consumption, and issues with biodegradability and recycling underscore the need for more sustainable practices and innovations in fibre production and waste management.

Image: Polyester fibres under a microscope (

This comprehensive overview addresses the origins, properties, and environmental impact of synthetic fibres, providing valuable insights into their role in the textile industry and the associated sustainability challenges.

Links: The Dangers of Synthetic Fibers and Fabrics on the Environment – Superego (

Natural Fibres: a comparison

Man-Made Fibres


Pattern Ease – Why is my sewing pattern bigger than my measurements?

What is ‘Pattern Ease’ and why do I need it?

Pattern Ease is the allowance made over and above the body measurements when making a pattern. It enables natural body movement. If patterns were exactly the same size as your body measurement, the garment would literally be skin tight. Pattern ease is added to the body circumference measurements, but not to any vertical measurements.  Although your shop-bought clothes may say ‘to fit bust 36″‘, if you measure them, you’ll find that they are considerable bigger.


Academy Awards – for Sewing Patterns

The talking point of last night’s Academy Awards ceremony was undoubtedly the announcement of the wrong winner of Best Film.  But my attention as always was on the stunning gowns. So I thought I’d take a look at some of the sewing patterns around that are worthy of an Academy Award themselves.


Sewing Classes & Workshops – July 2016

Here’s a rundown of the sewing classes and workshops happening at Artisan Stitch throughout July.  So if you’re on holiday in East Lothian and looking for something different and fun to do, why not try a new hobby like Feltmaking, or make a gorgeous wrap skirt?  Easy to make and even easier to wear!


Are You Sitting Comfortably?

I see many students who come to me because they’re having difficulties using a sewing machine and quite often the issues are very easily resolved. Sometimes the problems start the moment they sit at the machine so here’s a few quick tips to make sure your sewing session is successful, and isn’t damaging your health.