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Stitching for Mental Health and Tiny Doll Clothes

Sewing for mental health, stitching Elizabeth Bennet, and fabric fungi #fabricmushrooms #mushrooms #prideandprejudice #handmadedolls

Oh friends, do you ever go through periods of burnout? The wheel of life keeps turning, but sometimes you feel as though you'll be crushed under it if you stop? As someone who has experienced chronic anxiety her entire life, this is a regular occurrence in my mind.

This is when I chuck every project on my workbench out the window and start from scratch--or simply immerse myself in a personal project start-to-finish. The latter being the more common choice, as I hate to feel like time is wasted in scrapping projects!

I was working on my new Miss Tulip Fashion Essentials pattern yesterday, when I began reading the same sentence four times without being able to register what it said (editing is always such a bore, haha!), I decided a break was needed!

Handmade Doll Fashion Essentials Sewing Patterns and Tutorial #sewing #handsewing #dollmaking #heirloomdoll

It's been a while since I've made a non-animal doll, so I decided to go for a regency Lizzie Bennet to keep me company on my sewing desk. Going out of town recently, I found a Jane Austen-inspired crochet book at a thrift store and was totally inspired (no, I don't crochet--yet--yes, I bought it anyway)!

Sewing for mental health, stitching Elizabeth Bennet, and fabric fungi #fabricmushrooms #mushrooms #prideandprejudice #handmadedolls

I stitched some vintage cat-eye make up that would have been too scandalous for the period, but she's just for me, so accuracy be damned! Some soft pink lips, a few tweaks to my Miss Tulip Pattern for her body, and some soft merino roving for her hair ensured a delicate silhouette that is perfectly folksy and soft.

Moving on to her dress, I decided on cotton muslin and ivory lace--which could have been inspired by the Netherfield Hall Ball scene in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice, but I'll never truly know 😉

Shoe-less and scandalously unclad underneath her dress, I'm thinking about adding some bloomers at least, but she served her purpose--a lovely companion who helped me work through my sew-jo funk!
Sewing for mental health, stitching Elizabeth Bennet, and fabric fungi #fabricmushrooms #mushrooms #prideandprejudice #handmadedolls

Sewing for Stress Relief

Did you know that hand sewing (or crochet or knitting or woodworking)--any creative endeavor that requires undivided attention--is naturally stress-relieving?

I know, I know--we sewists have anecdotally known this since forever--but a recent study published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy surveyed over 3500 knitters and published that they found the results of handicrafts induces the same benefits as a meditative state.

The repetitive movements left subjects "soothed" "happy" and "rested" with a general "improvement of mood" across the participants.

Protect Your Brain

Another study in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences found that knitting, quilting and other forms of crafting also may guard against "mild cognitive impairments" (thought to be a precursor to dementia). People who crafted in the study had lower risk of cognitive impairments similar to voracious readers and puzzle doers, suggesting that crafting is another engaging activity that can help protect certain neural pathways as we age.

Sewing to Improve Health

If you need even MORE evidence that sewing, quilting, and other handicrafts are good for your mind, body, and soul, other studies have also suggested these activities help empower and soothe people struggling with eating disorders and chronic pain as well. 

Lizzie has inspired a new wave of creations and patterns lately! 

Sewing for mental health, stitching Elizabeth Bennet, and fabric fungi #fabricmushrooms #mushrooms #prideandprejudice #handmadedolls

I found some lovely pink velvet at a thrift store that looked like the most perfect trousers for a linen frog. Some Peter Pan Fabric and a thread-bare old frock turned into an enchanted mushroom popping up from my live rabbit foot fern, and signing up for some Instagram swaps in the sewing community has my wheels turning again.

Maybe it was just the moon.

There IS a second new moon of the month and solar eclipse today--I swear the moon commands my mood, but I shouldn't be surprised, I was born during a full one (the hurricane may have had something to do with it too).

Sewing for mental health, stitching Elizabeth Bennet, and fabric fungi #fabricmushrooms #mushrooms #prideandprejudice #handmadedolls
Mr. Grenouille Work in Progress
In any case, if you're looking to reset your own creative pallet or get started crafting for health benefits, you can check out my pattern archives, tune in to my Sew a Softie Blog Hop post tomorrow, take a look at my YouTube Channel, or join my Sewing Club on Facebook for inspiration, tutorials, and fun!

Stay crafty!


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