The retro hobbies and pastimes making a modern day comeback

Jul 14, 2023
Knitting is just one of the crafts that is seeing a resurgence. Source: Getty.

Get ready to dust off your crafting supplies because retro crafts and pastimes are staging an epic comeback!

It’s often said that everything comes back into style, and this saying couldn’t be more true in the world of crafting. From the likes of knitting and home sewing to puzzles and even baking, the trends that once brought us joy in the past are resurfacing and capturing the hearts and imaginations of people all across the country.

And thanks to the power of social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, these timeless crafts are experiencing a renaissance like never before. In fact, a study shows that post-pandemic, 54 per cent of Aussies have turned to crafts as a way of keeping themselves busy. But that’s not all, recent research has found that hobbies can reduce depression and anxiety, slow the onset of dementia and distract from chronic pain.

That being said, here are the most popular pastimes enjoying a resurgence right now – and we bet you enjoyed most of them as a child.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Gitte Jessen Juhler (@gjuhler)

People might stereotypically associate knitting with being the hobby of choice of elderly women, but the knitting bug has bitten people of all ages.

From creating simple items, such as hats, scarves and shawls, to more elaborate designs, knitters of all levels have taken to social media to show off the projects they’ve started since entering lockdown.

There are also a number of websites and blogs which offer free patterns and tutorials for those hoping to learn a new skill, and YouTube videos can prove very helpful when it comes to troubleshooting any issues, particularly if you find attending a knitting or craft club for help and support is not possible.

Needlecraft and sewing


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Trish (@sewingandneedlecraft)

For many people, there is something therapeutic about switching off for a moment and using their hands to create something. So it’s no surprise that sewing and other needlecrafts, including embroidery and cross-stitch, are becoming popular at this time.

In fact, many Facebook groups have already cropped up as people look for advice and to share their creations with other like-minded individuals. One such place is the Starts at 60 Crafter’s Club

From clothing and homewares to medical scrubs, sewing can be a very productive way to while away the extra hours at home.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jane Price (@cottagebythetarn)

According to statistics, Australians are giving home baking a red hot go this year! As of March 2023, baking is the most popular pastime among Aussies young and old.

From baking fresh bread from scratch to making holiday-themed goods, many people have been inspired to occupy their time by trying to boost their skills in the kitchen.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Monopoly (@monopolygameofficial)

Most people have a stash of old board games at the back of a wardrobe, so why not use this extra free time to dust them off and challenge others in your household to a game of Monopoly, Uno, Pictionary or Scrabble. The list is endless!

Or, if you’re isolating alone, don’t fret, as many people have begun using video technology and apps to play games with families and friends across the country, or even further afield.

In addition to being enjoyable, board games can also provide significant health benefits for older adults. Engaging in brain games and puzzles serves as a mental exercise that may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Jigsaw puzzles


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kira Rainvuori (@kiraspuzzles)

We all enjoyed – or maybe not – spending hours poring over complex jigsaw puzzles as children, but as the stresses of daily life take over, it’s not often we have time enough to dedicate to completing a puzzle. But recently, more and more people are taking up puzzling.

But puzzles are more than just a way to kill time, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys completing the crossword in the morning newspaper or challenging yourself with tricky number puzzles, you may be doing more than entertaining yourself. In fact, you could be cutting years of your brain’s age.

A 2018 study found that those who engaged in word puzzles had brain function equivalent to 10 years younger than their age for tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger for tests that measure short term memory.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up