Tag Archives: Sewing

Sewing aids Mindfulness

Sewing has an ability to bring together people from all walks of life, it is not an expensive activity (unless you want to spend a lot, then you can!), you can sew at pretty much any age, and some have been sewing all their lives, some complete novices inspired by recent television programmes and some have not sewn since they were at school, and now recently retired they have found the time and inclination to try it again. An unlikely group of friends thrown together round a table because we all want to learn to sew.

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WHY?  This quotation sums it up nicely. “I like to surround myself with creative people. They love life in such a contagious way that can’t often be put into words” (Rachel Wolchin) Well, as we become friends in our sewing classes, discussions move from the weather to other matters and  it became apparent that we come from all walks of life. Some are counsellors, lay ministers, doctors, mums, hairdressers, beauticians, business owners, secretaries and many more. What I have found is that almost all of us have found that sewing offers a positive outlet for stress, and mindfulness. Mindfulness is about learning to live in the present, and appreciate and observe what is happening now. Sewing requires concentration on the present task in hand, allowing our brains have some down time from the daily grind of our lives, where we spend so much time planning the future and dwelling on the past.  It is a positive activity where at the end we are able to feel a sense of achievement for what we are learning, even when we make mistakes, it means that next time we are less likely to make these mistakes, and we try to look for these positives whilst we are sewing. The unpicker becomes our best friend!

It is a hobby where we are able to talk to others whilst sewing. Through our conversations I have discovered that a large number of my students have suffered from depression at some point in their life, and all of them find that sewing is mostly therapeutic. I have no experience of depression myself, but I can clearly see the benefit sewing can bring to peoples’ mental health and have witnessed people visibly relax when they start to sew. I am not the first to notice the connection between mindfulness and sewing. There are lots of blogs and articles on the internet about this connection. I urge you to read them and perhaps they will inspire you to take up sewing, if not with me then with someone else, for it is a skill that you can take with you wherever life leads you.

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There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done, one is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow, so today dust off that sewing machine and get creative!

How has sewing helped you to be more mindful? I would love to hear your comments.



Pillow Case Aprons Tutorial

Welcome to another Dotty Bobbin Tutorial. Here I would like to show you how to convert those unwanted pillow cases into gorgeous little aprons. If you are anything like me I am constantly in the charity shop picking up things such as mismatched pillow cases, in this case the fabric is a lovely brushed cotton. It came with a bed sheet that I have already made into a winter nightie for my daughter. The lace is from a vintage stained tablecloth that was no longer required so I saved the lace. The blue cotton ties are from Primark packaging! The pink cotton lace was saved by my grandmother from a tablecloth that she no longer wanted. True upcycling!

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First cut the pillow case, I took off the section with the envelope on it, otherwise you will have too much fabric bulk on your apron. Then you need to secure the open end and prevent any fraying by serging/overlocking or zig zagging the raw edge.

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Next, I have attached the cotton lace, I have firstly pinned this in place and then used a zig zag stitch to attach it. If  I used a running stitch then I would have the lace flapping around a bit, hence I chose the zig zag, however if you were using a narrow ribbon or lace a running stitch would probably be best.

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Next how to gather, if you are using a single layer of fabric then you can use a gathering foot on your machine, but they don’t work as well with multiple layers, so here is the old fashioned way. You need to set your machine to it’s longest running stitch. DO NOT go forwards and backwards at the beginning and end of your stitches as you need to pull the threads and that will stop you doing so.

Sew two parallel rows of running stitch along the top edge of your apron. If you want a ruffle at the top of the apron, then sew your rows a couple of inches further down the apron. Tie a knot in one end of the rows (make sure you tie a knot in the same end for both rows). Then from the other end very gently pull the threads, you will need to pull only the top or only the bottom threads for this to work. Using your other hand gently gather the fabric as you pull, evening out your gathers until you reach the desired look. If you snap your thread you will need to start again, so be gentle!

Now carefully stitch a normal length running stitch in the middle of the two rows you sewed before, stitching over the gathering (going forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end). This will secure the gathering in place. Now you can remove your gathering stitches if you wish with an unpicker. I didn’t bother as I was covering it with the lace afterwards anyway.

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Next pin your lace or whatever you are using as a tie onto the top and secure in place using a running stitch. I have first attached the blue ribbon then I have attached the lace. Below I have made a second one, slightly different with some pink cotton lace instead. Here my friends twins are modelling them, whilst serving us adults some wine on the beach. Could life get any better?

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