We need to stop making our hobbies stressful

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.comWhen I’m not sitting behind the sewing machine, I work full-time as a psychologist. This is why I every once in a while share a mental health-related post on this blog.
Have you read “6 Reasons why sewing benefits your mental health”? – I think you might enjoy it!

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Lately I’ve noticed the sewing blogs quieten down a little. All life seems to take place on Instagram nowadays, which also seems to apply to sewing blogs.

I admit it wholeheartedly – I love Instagram. And there’s nothing wrong about loving Instagram, spending time on Instagram and sharing posts with others.

But the new habit of swipe, swipe, double-tap for a heart and then quickly continuing to swipe really changes the way we absorb information. In just a few minutes we can look at hundreds of projects, ideas, inspiration and quickly tap to show appreciation. Sitting down with a coffee, reading a handful of detailed project posts on your favourite blogs and then taking the time to type up a comment in the end – almost sounds like an inconvenience compared to scrolling through a conveniently condensed feed of pretty photographs.

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.com

The result-oriented, ever so efficient way of the world with its clean, neatly arranged flat-lay look has reached Handmade Land.

As I said, I’m not trying to throw shade on Instagram – I love it myself. It’s just a reflection of a far greater process. But I do mourn the slow-pace of the pre-micro-blog era. Not just as a blogger myself, but also as a reader. The result-oriented, ever so efficient way of the world with its clean, neatly arranged flat-lay look has reached Handmade Land. Not a big surprise, but it seems to defeat the purpose in a way, don’t you think?

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Last year I’ve written a long article about how sewing can really benefit our mental health. Because, essentially, it’s about being mindful. Being mindful is very important in today’s ever-accelerating world in order to keep your balance and peace of mind. It gives a sense of achievement and helps increase self-esteem.

But what happens when we cut out the process and only focus on the final product? When handmade things must look store-bought (because you can buy things that look handmade, vintage and shabby chic in stores)?

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.com

A lot is lost when we squeeze a major project into a micro blog.

Hobbies are super important. Hobbies are there to balance out our stressful working lives. It’s where we find peace and quiet and sense of self. When we start to set the same standards on our hobbies as we are required to do at work, it becomes work. And your work-life-balance tips towards more of a work-work-balance. Once that happens, the stability of our mental health is at risk. Exhaustion, discontent, high stress levels etc. can quickly lead to more severe problems if we do not have something to balance these out.

And not just for mental health reasons  – as a psychologist I keep going on about them – but also for the love of the slow-paced manual work that gets completely lost behind a shiny picture of the finished product. A lot is lost when we squeeze a major project into a micro blog, sadly.

We do not see the work involved any more. The hours and hours spent on the smallest little project. The nerves and sweat it sometimes takes. Or even the big-time fails. I have a big heart for big-time fails. We most often do not see those on Instagram. All we get is the shiny end product. It can make us feel pressured and sometimes sets unachievable expectations on ourselves.

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.com

I sometimes get overwhelmed by all that content and then lose my sewing mojo completely for a few weeks. What helps me get it back is shutting out the outside (or rather social media) world completely. I sit down in my sewing corner and as slow as can be start sorting out my table, tidying things, looking through boxes, touching and moving about fabrics. I take my time with my projects now. If there’s a couple of weeks (and sometimes months) without a blog post, then so be it. When I feel like it, we go and shoot some pictures of finished garments. Only then it’s fun and I enjoy looking at the images when I edit them for the post.

Do you sometimes get the feeling you “have to sew because you haven’t in such a long time”? You have a sense of fear of losing your productivity or even getting  increasingly estranged from your hobby? I get that all the time and then feel really pressured. It’s quite silly, I know, but it happens often.

I now have a rule: hobbies are fun and you only do it when you enjoy doing it. If you don’t feel like it and don’t enjoy it, stop! It’s not work and this is why you are in control and allowed to do whatever pleases you. Don’t worry about losing your sewing mojo permanently. You just need a break, so take it and enjoy it doing other things you love.

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.com

A few years ago, sewing and knitting was more or less reserved for the elderly and it seemed an extraordinary thing when someone walked around in their own handmade clothes. With technology taking up more and more of your lives, there’s been a trend of finding a way back to our roots. Of filling the gap of manual skills and manual labour technology left us with. It only seems natural that we found our way back to sewing and knitting and making things, creating things with our own bare hands. We just need to learn to block out all the other things technology left us, too, from time to time. We need to ignore social media looking over our shoulders while we sew or blog or do whatever we love. Sewing is such a big resource of calm, quietness, sense of self and mindfulness. It’s a great way of connecting with others in a meaningful way. It’s our happy place. Let’s not get something in the way of that.

So for the love of blogs (and sewing), take some time to slow down again every once in a while. Don’t let yourself get rushed, pressured to keep up or overwhelmed by content.

Stop Making Your Hobby Stressful by thisblogisnotforyou.com

What do you think? I would love to know your thoughts and views on the matter! Please share them and leave a comment below.

Now grab a coffee and enjoy your very own Handmade Land.

xx

Charlie


Happy sewing!

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131 thoughts on “We need to stop making our hobbies stressful

  1. I’m reading this as I take a break from my cutting table work today and couldn’t agree more. It is much more fun when I give myself the time and energy to create! (Also trying to comment more on postI like 😉 )

    1. Hi Meg! Aww, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment – really appreciated to hear some views on this! I used to finish a project in a day. Nowadays I sometimes spread it over a week or two, working on small steps so I feel motivated enough to sew a little after coming home tired from work.

  2. Brilliant!! So well put. I learnt so much from blogs before I started making. I loved how bloggers would share mistakes, techniques and problem solving so the final outcome was an honest share. Now I feel sad I work full time and can’t make time always. Or I see a lovely top and realise without being sponsored it could cost me fortune for the pattern and fabric it’s made in. Thank you for making me realise others feel the same as me. I will continue my crafting at my own pace and enjoy my quiet time reading blogs like this K xXx

    1. What a beautiful thoughtful post – I love reading blog posts because of the problem solving ideas you can pick up & just reading about the creative process. When I am making a pattern I usually try to find a post to follow. Happy sewing!

  3. Yes! I try to keep (made-up, totally self-imposed) pressure for “content” out of my sewing space. There’s some creative tension between the satisfying reflections I get when blogging each project, and the immediate gratification of Instagram likes. In the end, my path is to always keep in mind pretty much what you said: this is a hobby, a choice, a getaway — and that’s it. Chasing likes ends up being really unsatisfying for me in the long-term (though I love love love seeing everyone’s creations and providing heartfelt encouragement). My saving grace is that I’m far too lazy to put the effort in to make my blog “happen” and I try to ask myself “Am I having fun?” when I feel pressured to get a post up. Really, nothing insightful to add, but I love the topic — thanks for bringing it up.

    1. Hi Sara, thanks so much for your comment. It’s true – the instant gratification of likes is tempting sometimes. I still like this instant feedback to see what people enjoy seeing most, but in the end it’s quite an “empty” kind of appreciation as you don’t even know whether they’ve actually read the post or not. And most important to me now is the “Am I having fun?”. Whenever I can answer that with “no”, I stop and do something else.

  4. I totally agree with everything you said. I thought it was just me imagining things, but I’ve recently come back to the online sewing world after a long break, and noticed how so many blogs have gone quiet and Instagram has taken over. We’re all at risk of ‘curating’ our lives on Instagram and not allowing space acknowledge mistakes and imperfections. Thank you so much for writing this piece.

    1. Thanks, Rach! To be honest, I’m quite fed up with most of the “curate insert whatever” posts that keep popping up. Curating your style, wardrobe, flat, social media profile etc… To me this feels like some unhealthy form of perfectionism I don’t want to be part of. And again, it always showcases the finished product, not the work that goes into it.

  5. I really like this. I’m a recent convert to IG and what I have decided to do this year on my blog is a monthly round up of what I’ve been making. So far (one post in) I feel like this is going to work for me. It stops me worrying about if I have blogged things or not, as I know at the end of the month I will batch photograph anything I haven’t taken snaps of and spend time writing a nice long blog post.
    I sometimes find when I am sewing I get into “faster faster finish finish” territory and there are a couple of things that stop me from doing this:
    1. Listening to blog posts while I sew
    2. Making sure I have water near me to drink
    3. Finding short bursts of time where I can sew and setting a timer at which point I finish a seam and stop
    I am happy to share fails and also try and talk about fabric and pattern origins as I find this interesting.
    Thanks for a lovely thought-provoking post.

    1. Hi Naomi! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I really like your batch-post solution.
      Your tips for slowing down your sewing & drive for productivity are really great! I sooo often forget to eat or drink when I’m immersed in a project. I recently discovered a similar method of short bursts of after work sewing that really works for me. It takes the pressure of finishing asap and keep you connected to your hobby even during stressful, tiring times during the week.

  6. Yes! A thousand times yes! You’ve put into words what I’ve been feeling. I like to blog, but recently I thought I “should” be on Instagram. It simply overwhelmed me. I prefer taking my time to craft a thoughtful post rather than just constantly reacting to a firehose of content, and trying to be seen or heard in that firehose. It’s good to be reminded that whenever you start feeling the pressure of “should” with your favourite pastime, it’s time to step back and take a breath. Thanks for that.

    1. This shows that listening to your own gut feeling is so much better and healthier than listening to all the ‘shoulds’. Happy sewing, Lori!

  7. Yep. Big time yes to everything here. I think especially for me, writing a detailed blog post about the garment I’m making, as I’m making it, is actually a huge part of the sewing process for me – something I really enjoy. I too have noticed less blogging and more gramming… and I get it, but some of my favourite sewists are still those that take the time to write a thoughtful and detailed post about their ‘process’. There’s room for both of course, but balance counts too 🙂

    1. Yes- balance is key! I also very much love Instagram, and it’s not generally a bad thing. It’s just yet another change we’re going through and we have to learn to live with in a balanced way. I also appreciate when someone takes the time to share a detailed blog post. With blogging I have the same rule as with sewing. I only do it when I feel like doing it 🙂
      x

  8. I also love Instagram, but my favorite relaxation time is with bloglovin’ and a cup of tea! I am forever thankful for people that share their makes, however they like – whether it be just the garments, just the successes or whatever – I appreciate it all. Some I may skim over, but I am trying to comment more as encouragement as I (selfishly) don’t want this wonderful blog world to falter!

    1. Hi Linda! I used to be on bloglovin’ a lot. I recently noticed that I’ve mainly been following my favourite blogs solely on Insta and I never really comment any more. So I’ve started browsing through my bloglovin’ feed again, picking articles that really interest me and show my appreciation with a comment rather than just a like. Because, same as you, I’m afraid this blogging thing is slowly dying down 🙂 x

  9. Thank you for this post!

    As a beginning sewer, I keep piling so much pressure on myself to sew more, sew faster, be more ambitious with my projects, when in truth I’m still working on the basics!

    I see so many amazing things and think ‘I need to be that good, or it’s not worth it’, and I end up avoiding sewing out of fear of perfectionism.

    I’ve been trying to be more mindful, but it takes effort, and this is a good reminder.

    1. Hi Rosemary – thanks for your lovely comment. It’s great you’re aware of the pressure you put on yourself and trying to be more mindful. Yes, mindfulness certainly sounds easier than it sometimes is in our very distracting, multi-tasking lives. Sewing can be a great way to being more mindful, as long as we keep our own perfectionism under control. You’ll get better just by doing it, so don’t focus that much on accelerating this process. Enjoy the ride & happy sewing!

  10. I have noticed a definite slowdown in blogger land. I like reading so sadly Instagram doesn’t satisfy my appetite in the way blogs do. I took a 3-year hiatus and I’m slowly coming back and finding there are still a few people out there who are reading, but way way less than there were before. Less readers for the blog, more followers for Instagram. Makes me kind of sad, really! Just when I got my sewjo back too, darn.

    1. Hi Demi! Yes, I feel a little sad, too. Social media and micro blogs are a fun way to connect to others in a more direct way, but I also prefer reading a few more detailed posts rather than seeing hundreds of projects popping up in my feed every days. It’s just overwhelming. I’m glad you’re back in the blogging game. Keep it up and do more of what you love and don’t worry about readers and followers. x

  11. I absolutely echo these feelings! I love being part of the community, but I half-miss the days when I did not have a blog and was sewing just for the fun of it. I spend as much time writing about what I sew, as well as photographing, editing blog posts and promoting on social media as I do sewing, and it often feels like work. What is miss the most though is having the time to read and comment on thoughtful posts like this! It’s great that you are addressing these issues!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Alex! I quite enjoy blogging with all the work that comes with it – but there are times when I just want to sew for myself & don’t want to worry about taking pictures and writing articles. I’ve found a nice balance of keeping my blog going but not getting pressured into posting my projects immediately after finishing them. But you’re right. Blogging can sometimes feel a little more ‘work’ than ‘hobby’, as you are doing it with your readers in mind & sewing you do only for your own fun.

  12. Great post! I totally agree with your thoughts on Instagram – I actually finished my last post with a similar thought train.
    Instagram has its place and seems to allow a lot of people to really connect with other sewers, but my experience from dipping in to it is feeling overwhelmed, not knowing where to start, getting too ‘polluted’ by snippets of other people’s lives and inspirations but with no real substance as you spend about 2 seconds on one photo. I also don’t use my phone for taking pictures or any apps beyond Whatsapp so I found I didn’t really go on it anyway, not in the same way I make a cup of tea and sit down with BlogLovin at my computer.
    I agree that blogs have slowed down – I also had a ‘heyday’ of blogging loads when I started 2013/2014 and into 2015 and then it slowed down a lot – this coincided with me changing jobs and having less time for sewing – so I think the blogging side of things dropped off for a while. But maybe it also coincided with the more wider trend of blogs being replaced by microblogging.
    I’ve also gone through the ‘should I be more prominent on social media’ thoughts and then I just take a huge deep breath and laugh at how, as you say, we can be so hard on ourselves and bring ‘work-type’ concerns into our hobby life!
    I enjoy preparing posts for my – mostly for myself as I love looking back at what I made (and of course my Mum) and the notes I made at that time, I love writing, and I also love website design etc and working out how to do things on WordPress.

    Maybe I’ll get more into instagram at some point but at the moment I’m trying to ‘declutter’ and it seems like a lot of clutter to me…

    Vive blogs!

    1. Hi Emily! Love your blog & latest post. That clover dress is a stunner! I agree completely with you on the feeling polluted and cluttered sometimes. I also had a time where I really felt pressured by ‘improving my social media presence’. Twitter, for example, just doesn’t really work for me. I now occasionally use Insta and Facebook and mainly keep to trying to write detailed blog posts and reading other blogs.

  13. A very nice (and true) post. I do not use instragram, because I like reading about sewing, not just looking at finished things. And I feel that on blogs people share more of there mistakes/what worked/what did not work and comment more. However, I admit reading the blogs mainly via bloglovin during my daily commute which means that I do not comment as often as I would like to :o(
    For me sewing is that creative hobby where you can see results to balance my job, I work as IT project manager so it often takes very long months before seeing any final product and it is very abstract. And I do alternate phases when I sew rather complicated stuff with phases where I will only focus on little quick tops.
    It is also funny how many people set out challenges in their sewing (2018RTW Fast or Sew9) which totally does not work for me. Even though I have a “wishlist” of things I would like to try or have, I often get distracted by other fabric in my stash or a nice pattern of an idea I just have. And that is totally fine with me

    1. Thank you, Veronika! Big time yes to everything you said. I’m amazed by how many people feel the same way and it’s not just me… I love these creative challenges, but I never took part in any because I always feel pressured and it actually suffocates my creativity rather than giving it a burst. Just as you, I’d rather go through my stash and get inspired by what falls into my hands.

  14. I completely agree with this! I love Instagram for inspiration, but prefer to read blogs. I have a blog but sometimes wonder if it’s worth it when I use it only as the online record of something that I’ve made and am therefore an infrequent poster. I sometimes feel pressure to produce quick content to make the blog more regular, but then it would defeat the point, and I’m quite a slow sewist.

    1. Hi Elinor! There’s nothing wrong about just ‘keeping an online record’. Even if you feel like no one is watching, I’m sure many appreciate your blog in silence 🙂 Unless you wan’t to grow your blog for business reasons (and thereby making it ‘work’), you shouldn’t worry about producing content faster… I’ve been following super popular blogs that post almost daily (surely having grown a business from it already) and blogs with only a handful of readers that don’t post frequently and more often than not produce higher quality content. I have way more fun reading the latter!

  15. What a great post. I got into sewing as a means of moving away from the feeling of needing to have things based on consumerism and trends, but find that with the overwhelming inspiration on IG it is easy to get sucked into thinking you should be making all the things! This year I’m really trying to concentrate on sewing to fill the gaps in my wardrobe, even if that means they are basics. It is definitely important to make the time to enjoy the process.

    1. Yep, very true! I used to think sewing basics would be too boring to post about on the blog and therefore picked really advanced projects. How silly, right? I ended up having a lot of mismatched outfits and pretty dresses I never wear. I now really focus on sewing things I actually end up wearing and don’t pressure myself into producing content. People also enjoy reading about a simple T-shirt, because that’s actually what most people wear most of the time… x

  16. The truth for most of us is that there is a limited amount of time for our hobbies, no matter how much we love them. We can choose to spend our time on our hobby, improving our skills, taking enjoyment out of the process as well as the product–or, we can spend that time on social media. When Instagram becomes too important, you have to admit that your hobby is no longer sewing or knitting, but Instagramming. And that’s not really a satisfying way of spending time if you are truly a maker at heart.

    1. A thousand times Yes! Social media really can be a time (and hobby) killer if we’re not using it in a balances way. Thanks, Tracy! x

  17. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I often feel pressured to sew when I have the opportunity, whether or not I’m feeling it at the moment, and your post was a nice reminder that most of my deadlines are self-imposed.

  18. I agree completely! The amount of amazing ‘content’ I see on Instagram can be both overwhelming and disheartening when you’re not quite feeling in the right mood to create yourself (or if your handmade output isn’t as high as other’s). I’ve had a stressful time at work recently and have found myself having to scale back my social media time, and invest more time in enjoying sewing, while my phone is banished to another room! Here’s to the bringing the focus back to the craft and the occasional blog post! 🙂
    Shauni
    x

  19. Wow! This resonates so much with me. Aside from my quilting life, I teach in my local community college. One of my regular courses is a “welcome to college” orientation class, and even the youngest students are starting to recognize the negative impact that social media has on their egos, focus, productivity, and mood. Since it is here to stay, let’s all hope we can figure out the healthy way to tap into it … then let it go.

  20. Thank you, thank you! I started sewing to scratch the creative itch, get away from the computer and improve my concentration. However, I’ve become paralysed by the need for perfection. I need to remember that I’m a beginner and just get stuck in, stick the radio on and get lost in the process.

    On the blog front, I’d rather have infrequent but quality posts. Don’t let blogging ruin your hobby.

    1. As a beginner it’s often difficult not to get pressured, as you mostly compare yourself with more advanced sewers. It doesn’t make sense to compare your beginning with someone else’s middle, right? Just enjoy the ride, don’t strive for perfection. I’ve been sewing for more than six years now, pretty much non-stop, and I’ve realised I’ll never reach perfection. Just the other day a fully-finished project went into the bin straight from the sewing table because it was beyond rescue 😀
      Nice to hear that quality is more appreciated than quantity. Makes me feel better about my occasional blogging breaks 😉

  21. Thank you for writing this and reminding me to step back every once in a while and take a breath. I tend to see the goal of “finished” and loose sight of the fun of getting there. This piece is a gentle reminder of why I do what I do for a hobby and fun and relief it provides me.

  22. This post could not have come at a better time! Lately I have been making an effort on scaling back my “craft show makes” because it was taking away from what I enjoy about sewing. It was becoming a job, a chore, and I was getting burnt out. I don’t want to end up hating a hobby that I’ve loved all my life – I was getting bored making the same pouches, etc. time and time again for shows, which usually leads me to procrastinating, which leads to stress when its down to the week before a big show and I’ve got no stock. Its not worth it, so now I’m only making what I want to make, I’ve taken on a few small quilt commissions (from friends who know the value and time these things take to make) and I’m enjoying the freedom of not being pressured to sew. Its very liberating.

    1. Hi Jenn, thanks for sharing this! I’m so glad you’re listening to your gut and do what feels right. It’s really takes some courage to step back and resist the pressure, especially when your hobby has slowly turned into a job. Happy sewing!

  23. Hello! I 100% agree. I too find myself getting caught up in all of the content that’s available on the gram, and then hit with an overwhelming feeling of needing to create more or to try and keep up. Even worse I catch myself feeling bad that I’m not doing as much – creating, posting, making, sharing, and then I question whether or not I really love the things I’m doing.

    The best things I do when I find myself there is to log out, but also remind myself that I don’t just want to create or make for the sake of making. That goes against my personal values, and my values of sustainability and being cognizant of waste and consumption. It’s so easy to get swept away in the tide, but by taking a step back I’m able to refocus and center myself. It also helps me to remind myself that I am different than others, but just because what I do looks different doesn’t mean i’m any less. Basically just not measuring my worth against what I make or content I produce. I’m not a corporation!

    Thank you for posting and writing about this – it’s something I think about often.

    1. Thanks for sharing this! This really echoes what I feel. I’ve always had a constant drive to be productive to feel good about myself at the end of the day which easily leads to ‘making for the sake of making’. I constantly have to pause and refocus to keep my balance. I feel I’m much more creative when there’s no ‘deadline’ on a project.

  24. Thanks, Charlie, for this post! I must admit that my blog is pretty random and sporadic. But in my defense, I am nearly 72, and I blog mostly for myself. I sew the same way. I make all sorts of things and if it is not something for my wardrobe, it is for a gift. I sew because I like it. I like it because it keeps me sharp and creative. I have never posted to Instagram, and I must admit that every time I see that someone has published something sewn and there is no information about it I feel disappointed. I like to see the decisions that went into making it, or the pattern chosen, or some little tidbit that makes the piece interesting. Otherwise, I may just as well look at a catalog. Boring!

    1. You’re so right. I never thought about it that way, but it really not any different than looking at a catalog. Well, the difference being that the things I see I could all make myself, but the sheer amount is overwhelming sometimes, because I don’t know where to start.
      Great to hear you appreciate detailed project posts, I always feel like most people probably skip the text and just look at the pictures 🙂

  25. In knitting, we talk about process vs. product. I think some of my sewing falls into each category. I like to learn new techniques, but sometimes I just need a new shirt. I do want to document my choices better – now mostly in a bullet journal but also sometimes in a blog that I don’t do a whole lot to promote

    1. I agree. I sometimes ‘have to’ make something simply because I need it and I don’t want to buy RTW. But these are often the projects I enjoy least. Or rather, I hate the process but enjoy the product in the end 🙂

  26. About 10 years ago my sewing became my job out of necessity. I thought how lucky I am to work from home and do what I love to do! But I soon found myself spending all of my time on my job, designing, sewing, writing patterns, longarm quilting and the projects I had wanted to make kept taking a back seat to the job. I took on more and more, because I had bills to pay. It got to the point where I worked longer harder hours than I ever did at a real job, and watched my friends making their favorite projects while I was working on projects I sometimes didn’t even care for, because a fabric company needed a new design for a new line that was in no way a color, style or fabric that I even liked! I spent late nights and weekends trying to keep up. I found myself going to other creative projects like cross stitch or painting for the relaxing and creative outlet that I had lost. It took me a long time, but I finally had to back off. It was affecting my health, my happiness, and I felt unfulfilled. I now work very part time, and those 10 years of projects that I had bought and paid for, sitting on the shelves are now slowly getting done. I loved them before, I love them even more now, and I can’t tell you how it has changed my life. I must add though, that we were in a financial bind in the past and now my husband has a much better job which was a life line for me. I love to cook, decorate, paint, garden and my first love–quilt! My quilting has turned a corner back to being joyful and I find time to cook again, play Pickleball with friends, go to stitchery meetings and have found balance once again. I’m very grateful.

    1. Hi Diane! Thanks for sharing this. So glad to hear that you can enjoy your hobby again! It sounds very much like a dream job at first, but making your hobby your job does have it’s tolls, as it can turn your hobby from being a resource into a stressor. Good for you for finding a much better balance! x

  27. You are so right!! I do loe instagram, but not beats a good, detailed blog post. Although, as a blogger myself, I do appreciate how time consuming they are to write. Thanks for taking the time to write this one!

  28. Thank you for this post! I too work in the world of psychology, but in a secretarial function at a computer all day for an institution. So my quilting is my stress buster. I made only one resolution this year, to slow down my quilting. I don’t have to participate in every guild challenge that comes along. I am much more creative when I allow time for the inspiration to develop.

  29. since computers came after my sewing life – I understand the pressures of social media and perfection. But I dont like them.. Being perfect in so many contrived ways removes the connections among my idea, my construction, my hands and my heart. Music, tea a window and me – = happiness and satisfaction. I dont use twitter and instagram – and I only use face book for common groups. The bitterness anger and bullying are not what I want in my space. making is self in so many dimensions –

  30. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been cutting down / cutting out my social media which I find make me a bit anxious, except for blogs (which I find relaxing and delightful), and I’ve been missing everyone! I recognize that it’s quite a bit of work to keep a blog and it will wax and wane, but I certainly appreciate it!

  31. I love your post! I try not to hurry my projects. I linger over planning, fitting, techniques and construction. I want to savor the entire process.

  32. As someone who was just laughing at herself for her over-ambitious sewing schedule for the week, I could not agree more! It’s something I have to keep reminding myself to do, but I’ve been trying to keep my focus on sewing and sewing only what I want, at the pace that works best for me, not Instagram.

    1. Hehe, I also set up sewing-schedules whenever I have one of my over-ambitious days/weekends and in the end they’re always discarded pretty much 5 minutes into the first project as I keep realising over and over again how utterly unrealistic they are 🙂 Glad, that it’s not just me!

  33. Thank you Charlie. I make quilts and because I do them by hand, mostly, I get dismayed when posts come up with “my ? Quilt this year”. Where is the joy? I’m lucky to make one a year, but I really enjoy the process as well as the final product. What an accomplishment.
    Great post Charlie, thank you for reminding us the importance of our hobbies. ❤️

    1. Aww, thanks very much Dellas! That’s really amazing that you stick to handsewing and focus on a single project a year. They must look absolutely lovely! We enjoy the process so much more once we stop focussing on just getting something done as quickly as possible.

  34. I am literally sitting here with a cup of coffee, checking out sewing blogs as I do a few times a week. Everything you wrote resonates – it even made me a bit teary and I’m not even sure why. It’s pouring with rain here today and when I woke up, I knew it was going to be a good sewing today. Thank you for the reminder to slow down.

  35. Hello, I only just discovered your blog (linked from a French blog) and had to read that post. I’m not on IG, nor have I a Pinterest account, because I thought I would stop sewing and be permanently stuck to my screen if I did. About 2 years ago, I remember reading a post on an American blog, writen by the husband of the blogger, something like “10 tips for sewing”. It actually wasn’t about sewing, but about how we tend to multiply the number of projects on the to-do list by browsing on blogs and such, and end up spending hours sitting at the computer instead of actually sewing.

    And that man is right, and so is mine when he says stop dreaming on the net, do the actual thing! So IG and such do not just pressure us while kind of erasing all the work behind the perfect shiny picture, it also keep us from sewing 🙂

    I don’t blog, and I don’t leave comments on all the blogs I follow (yeah, I cut time on the computer, doesn’t mean I don’t use it anymore, lol), sometimes I feel bad about it. But I found out that I could do more sewing when I stopped hopping from link to link. In the end, I don’t really need yet another tutorial, I already have hundreds of them…

    But I won’t stop enjoying the blogs, and particularly the “hobby-wellness-etc.” types of posts. So heads up for hobbies that bring you the work-family-life balance, and thanks for your blog/time!

    Céline

    1. Hi Céline! I’d love to find that article you mentioned! Sounds like you really found a good balance. You’re so right about collecting unnecessary amounts of tutorials. I pinned hundreds of them and I’ll never have enough time to do most of them.

  36. I needed so much to read this. The blogging/instagram/social media world is wonderful, but it sets an impossible standard for many of us. I love to see new makes but often find it overwhelming and feel I’m failing if I don’t crank out 5 garments a week! I work full time in a non creative field and sewing is my release. I need to remember to “run my own race”. Quality over quantity. Thanks for this.

  37. I really appreciated this blog. Last weekend as I motored through some projects to get some posts on Instagram I realized I wasn’t enjoying what I love about sewing the most: that slow methodical process, where each step methodically builds on the last.

  38. OH, how I do agree with you. We catalans say: Menjar poc i païr bé, ,Eat little and digest it well.
    I think that is what we need regarding sewing social media….

  39. I would have to agree with you, that having a hobby should be fun, and also only done when we want to. My family has tried to talk me into starting a business where I sell things that I sew, but so far I have resisted. I enjoy sewing gifts for others, things for my house, and the occasional piece of clothing. I do all of this without any pressure, and in my own time. That is what I love to do! If I turned my sewing into a business, I don’t believe I would receive the thrill or pleasure as I do know.

    1. Oh, I feel you 😀 I had this talk so many times, even from almost random strangers that just learned I made my own clothes. I somehow get really annoyed by people not understanding why I don’t want to sew for others/for money. It would ruin the whole idea of it. But I guess it’s hard to explain to non-sewers!

  40. I’ve just sent this to all of my friends. We’ve all recently gotten into seeing and I’ve realized our expectations are sky high!
    Thank you for writing this.

  41. Your article is so spot on for how I’ve been feeling lately. Thank you. I got into a rut because of a sewing fail. I was making a top and had some fitting issues and got frustrated. It put my sewing into a tailspin. I was looking at Instagram and FB too much. I was making comparisons and my thinking was getting negative. Recently, I deleted my FB account and went back into my sewing room. I did just what you were talking about; I cleaned up a little bit and let my fabric inspire me. I decided to start a scrappy log cabin quilt (I quilt and sew garments) and it has made me so much happier. I was at a family birthday party yesterday, and I caught myself day dreaming about the the quilt a couple times. That’s a good sign for me. I love sewing. I am so grateful for the what it does for me.

    1. Good for you! That’s great to hear! Comparing yourself constantly kills all creativity. Glad you found your mojo again 🙂

  42. thanks for this great post. While sewing is my obsession and passion, I have found that I really love blogging, the writing process is something I enjoy and plan to keep it up. I think people really get to know you via blogging in a way that is not possible via IG which is such a small snippet of the person or project. While I do IG and get ideas and inspiration from it I find a lot of it is repetitive and often want more than is shown in just a few images.
    You are right that sewing should be relaxing and enjoyable – I think the pressure does come from comparing your own sewing to others that you see.

    1. Thanks, Beth! I agree, blogging is wonderful. It’s a completely different process and different kind of creativity and I enjoy merging my two hobbies like this. x

  43. Great post thanks! I feel the pressure to sew when I haven’t for a while too, I really notice that up swing in my mood and motivation when I have a sewing project on the go. So when I am inbetween projects waiting for some inspiration/motivation/time to start something new I can get a bit antsy and unmotivated. I’m a stay at home mum so I really appreciate having some thing quantifiable to do. I am thinking about learning how to knit so I can have a knitting project for the sewing gaps.

    1. Knitting is my sewing gap filler, too! It’s great for days when you just can’t be bothered to get off the couch but want to do something useful, too 🙂

  44. So much food for thought here! Yes, instagram seems to epitomize the end point of “curating”–selecting for others’ consumption/appreciation. Just the opposite of your wonderful blog title! (Since when have we aspired to have our possessions “curated” to museum status!?) I don’t begin to know why we are so starved for “likes” that we modify our behavior to get more and more. Styling homes into “vignettes,” organizing books by color rather than content; photographing handmade items only when the item, the wearer, the background, the light are all in a state of perfection. Somehow it all strikes me as a stage waiting for the play to begin, rather than real life, with all its normal messiness, successes and stumbles. Acting as if looking perfect is the goal, rather than living a genuine life.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree, Elle! Thanks for your wonderful comment. I find it shocking how “curated” has reached almost every area of your lives. I’ve seen enough posts titled “Your curated wardrobe/home/bookshelf/insert random word”. As if everything we do is for the sole purpose of making an impression on others. That’s not only pretentious, it’s tiring and thoroughly unhealthy. That’s not promoting sense of self but rather sense-of-what-others-expect. Following our own intrinsic motivation and doing things just because we love them is the source of happiness and content.

  45. Thank you! I feel we don’t talk enough about the mental toll that comes with seeing all the fabulous things people make on instagram, and how to manage it all. I actually never “did” social media at all before, but for some reason I have become completely obsessed with sewing-related instagram feeds.

    One strategy that has worked for me is to only follow people who don’t post very often. There are lots of interesting, talented people out there who post or put up stories daily, even multiple times per day, and I found myself overwhelmed when I follow too many of those. Now I am able to take more time to enjoy the fewer number of makers I follow. On the flip side, before I post I ask myself if I’m doing it because I have something to say, or if it’s just because I feel I have to put up some content or feel relevant.

    Ideally I would also like an app that allows you to access instagram only at set hours of the day, so that I’m not constantly checking for updates. I have found some blocking apps that will shut it off for an hour or so and that’s useful, but if anyone knows of one that you can set so that it only works, say from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. every day please share!

  46. Just discovering your blog via Beth Galvin, Sunny Gal Sewing Studio and just had to read this post immediately. Have been feeling just this lately. Love IG but missed the details….like slow food, I think I need slow sewing. I agree with Every. Single. Word. Thank you!

  47. Love this post! I’ve all but given up on Instagram. With their algorithms I spend too much time trying to find what used to pop up first in my feed. I find it maddening & stressful. Investors never quit reading blogs & prefer the content. Thanks for the reminder. (Closet Case Makers Journal sent me this way!)

  48. I feel alot of truth in what you say. I have found it so myself. As a blogger, I totally enjoy the process – and sharing the process – and I struggle(?) with the fast pace of Instagram. I love it too, and sometimes it’s all I have energy for. But I don’t want to lose or stop drinking in all that is behind those photos….
    Thanks for sharing!

  49. I love your perspective on this, and I particularly love your psychologist’s approach to mindfulness (and its importance) and why hand making is good for the soul.

    I also love Instagram. And you’re right – it is wonderful and shiny and is an endless source of pretty things and inspiration. But I also believe that IG can provide what you’re talking about – a place to share all the steps of a project, not just the “perfect” finished piece. It can be a place to share the mistakes, the misfires, the bad ideas that don’t go anywhere, the idea you thought was going to be awesome that turned out to be a dud.

    I’m an embroiderer (and sometimes a sewer) and I’ve found that often the greatest connection I get with my IG friends is when I share the “not perfect” moments…when I admit I messed up, or had a problem and how I fixed it. Because even though I most definitely strive to end up with a finished piece that looks great (which is important, because who would want to buy one of my patterns if the finished item looked awful or messy) I really enjoy the conversations that center around the “how” something is accomplished – not just the end result of the accomplishment itself, you know?

    Thank you for such a thoughtful article – I’ll be thinking about it as I scroll (hopefully not too quickly) through Instagram later today.

    Anne

  50. Hi, enjoyed your post and agree so much with what you say. It’s good to be able to savour and take in the information in a blog, and what goes along with it is an appreciation of the skilful person writing it and the narrative over time. Can enjoy Instagram – I think of Pinterest in the same way too – but not inclined to spend as much time on them because they just don’t engage me as much.

  51. Wow. This was one of the thoughtful and thought-provoking blog posts I’ve ever read. I’m a registered nurse, and I could not agree with you, more. My sewing, quilting, crafting is my “stress relief” from a demanding career path. If it cannot provide me with that “good feeling”, I take a break, and do something else, crafty to help release my stress. I don’t ever want it to be “not fun”. And, as much as I love Instagram – I call it “eye candy”, I find that I often gravitate to bloggers who post on IG, that will spend the time going through their projects in more detail. I don’t just want the “finished project”, I want to commiserate with the blogger, in their process of creation. The other less than desirable aspect of Instagram (and some of the other social media platforms) for crafters who pos,t is you can fall victim to “liking”, watching for all the likes to validate some sort of self-worth or success. I think that is one of the more dangerous fall outs of social media platforms, especially IG. A crafter or artist’s self-worth needs to come from inside, your own feeling of creating something beautiful and meaningful to you, and not how many “likes” a post has garnered. Your post is a breath of fresh air, and so insightful.

    1. Aww, thanks so much Patty! That means a lot! Completely agree with you – self-worth is only true when it comes from the inside.

  52. Such a fascinating topic and I’m torn on how I feel, as I can see both sides. As someone who used to blog regularly, and works with social media for a day job, I struggle with this quite a bit. I’m kind of in love with the idea of micro blogging at times – I’m super burned out by blogging, and I don’t miss it, in its traditional sense. But I do like telling stories, so I think that if Instagram had a few more functions, it could be everything I’m looking for. On the flip side, it drives me crazy when I see very complicated projects broken down into 10-second clips. (See, I can’t make up my mind!) I adore Instagram and I make use of the “save” feature on daily. I categorize saved posts into topics that I then go back and research more. I frequently will go back and follow up on blog posts Instagram folks make reference to, purchase patterns, etc. But going back and forth with my feelings, I think it’s great to slow down a bit and show all sides of the process.

    1. Yes, IG has some really nice features, too. Nothing is just black or white. Even blogging can be stressful at times! For me, a big factor is the “audience”. With social media such as IG, twitter or Facebook, I always have an immediate audience in mind I address myself to. It’s different with blogging. I feel there’s more ‘me’ in there as opposed to ‘what others like to see’, if that makes sense. x

  53. Y’know, maybe it’s because I’m a knitter and knitting happens at a slower pace, but I don’t see the same thing, exactly. I actually see a lot *more* of the process on Instagram than I ever did on blogs. On blogs, I used to see big posts showing off the finished product; on Insta, I see more regular updates as a thing grows – or gets frogged! It feels far more process-oriented.

    1. That’s interesting! Not sure why that is, as I have experienced the opposite, but maybe it is because knitting is far more slow-paced by nature. I’ll keep an eye on the knitting blogs I follow, now 😀

  54. I really enjoyed this blog post and could relate to everything you mentioned! I miss the richness that the sewing blog community used to provide, it was somehow a bit more fun than Instagram – which does have its good points too. I started a blog a few years ago to get over my creative burn out, a way to slow down and share my thoughts. I really enjoy blogging now, and even though I have a creative business so my sewing is often work, I have left my blog as very much a hobby aspect of things, where I visit it and write when I feel inspired! That said, I am trying hard to unplug more often from social media because if I lose my creativity then I don’t have any ideas for my business so it’s a delicate balancing act.

  55. Thank you, thank you! I don’t subscribe to all the social media because a) I still work 10+ hours per day at a job where I spend all my time on a computer, and b) I don’t feel the need to have everyone know what I am doing all the time! I take time every weekend to slow down, love the fabric I have, continue working on a project whether it’s sewing or knitting, and enjoy the process. This soothes my soul! Love that I found your blog! Thank you!

  56. Thank you for this thoughtful and well written post. I agree and applaud you for putting into words what I often feel. There is so much to say about creating and making beautiful things!

  57. Yes, your blog is so me, I love sewing and I crochet a bit, but I crochet at my own pace and sewing as well. I’m trying to decide what to start on next

  58. Actually, I just discovered your blog today! I am so happy to have done so and immediately subscribed. You’ve completely captured how I feel about instagram in regards to all things creative and crafty. It leaves me wanting more. I adore good blog posts. The ones that show the heart and soul of creativity are my favorites. I have too many hobbies and have a hard time picking a favorite. The scattered approach leaves me many works in progress and some sitting on the sidelines for long periods of time. Thank you for affirming that it is ok.

  59. I cannot accurately express how much this resonated with me. Thank you, Charlie, for taking the time to write this out! So often I get beyond overwhelmed and freaked out because I didn’t have something made for a blog post. Recently I’ve been really trying to work on that. There have been far too many garments made solely for the purpose of having a blog post, but after wearing them maybe once or twice I realize that they aren’t quite right: the fit is off, something is too tight here, too loose there, or I was just so rushed to get SOMETHING done that I didn’t actually think about whether it was my style or not. And that isn’t the type of crafter I want to be. I want to be mindful about my makes and respectful enough of my time to not waste it on a project that will never be fully appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is lovely to have an idea that has been bouncing around in my brain for so long expressed so eloquently by another creative soul.

  60. The best thing about blogs is the STORY they tell, and the sharing of someone’s personal journey. IG is beautiful and addictive and time-sucking. Totally agree with all you say here, and I hope we don’t lose our stories!

  61. Thank you for this, I often feel under pressure to sew because I don’t have a job. Comments like ‘what do you do all day’ make me anxious
    Yesterday I made a small bag, it took longer to unpick the errors than it did to make them, did I put the unpicking on IG? Nope… in the sea of perfection its hard to be imperfect

  62. I follow a few sewalongs and enjoy the different methods and styles I encounter on Facebook. Recently one sew along suggested that I post on Instagram so the sew along leaders and others could see our squares. I have never liked Instagram since Inam expressive with words as well as photos. Maybe I don’t understand Instagram but the hashtags never appear on my feed and so unless I search for the hashtag, I do not get others’ photos. So, I am now understanding that there must be another step in the process because my Instagram is mostly Facebook users who double-dip.

    Also, as a retired person for about four years, I have done a fair share of spending money, making quilts and enjoying the process, all a luxury. I am intending to finish two tops, put two quilts on hold and may just never get back to two others. I am looking for other adventures and may have allowed myself the necessary time to disengage from my previous life work: Counseling.

    Thanks is for sharing your situation and for being attentive of so many of us who need to be heard. Hope you are feeling heard also.
    ,

  63. So true. I’m taking a break from sewing a quilt and read your post. It is easy to save too many project ideas and then to become overwhelmed.

  64. What a great post, and one I agree with. I tend to get overwhelmed with all the things one is ‘expected’ to do as a blogger – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. I love blogging, and for me the IG and FB flicking is something to do when I have a few minutes on a commute. I don’t really share a story, the why, the how, on IG – that’s reserved strictly for the blog! Even if it does take a while to write up the posts.

  65. I found this via Blossomheartquilts. Thank you so much. Such a relief to know that what I am feeling is normal. I too get overwhelmed with what I need to do and the state of my sewing room.

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