When sewing is subjected to critical scholarly attention it is often from a public health perspective with participants typically above the age of 40 years. Consequently, very little is known about what factors bring younger ages to, and sustain their interest in, sewing for leisure. To gain a deeper understanding of the role of sewing, this qualitative study sought to explore and foreground the experiences of people aged 40 years and under who engage in sewing for leisure. By means of creative research methods (including photos, online written narratives, interviews, and sewn items), 78 participants participated in this global study to share their sewing experiences. The findings highlight that their reasons for sewing were multifaceted and included pride, accomplishment, the opportunities for social connections and self-awareness, as well as suggestions of sewing supporting the psychological ‘flow’ state. This research is an exploration of how the smaller act of engaging in sewing for leisure offers wider multifaceted benefits that contribute to much larger topics of identity, self-esteem, communities, social interactions, and enjoyment. This article offers a new insight into sewing by foregrounding the voices and experiences of those who have previously gone unheard within existing sewing research: those aged 40 years and under.
- SPS Children and Families Research Centre