Sewjo…. how to cope when it vanishes
I lost my Sewjo!
It totally completely vanished. It felt really odd, but I had absolutely no desire to sew, cut fabric, choose patterns etc.
Since I finished up my first dress in about June 2020, my sewing habit has been fairly relentless. My obsession with sewing in every spare minute really did set in and so maybe it was just about time I took a bit of a break.
In actual fact I think there were a number of reasons for lack of sewjo including
- Over sewing
- Pattern fatigue… too many tiered dresses and lots of patterns that look the same
- Chruning them out.. Not learning anymore
- The coat was not fun and zapped my energy
- Messy house – cluttered sewing room
What would insta-sewists do?
I took to instagram for some help and inspiration of how to tackle this unusual situation. This is the advice I was given:
“sew something quick and easy” @scatterville
“make a palate cleanser” @bypaary
“I literally just force myself to start a project. Usually works” – @domestic.cats.domestic.crafts
“I’ve lost it too. Ive been focusing on small projects like quilted wall hangings” – @iowagalsews
“Maybe try a new craft that you can do in front of the tv like knitting or embroidery” – @pinsandneedlednz
“Take a full on break from it :)” @philippafergusson
“Wait it out till something inspires you” – @Joolzandco
“Organise patterns / fabric and hope inspo hits “@handmade.by.love
“Tell me when you know! In the process of selling the house and sewing is too messy” – @wellingtondanymakes
“I clean up my space and look through my patterns for inspo” – @made_by_emma
“Organise sewing fabric and supplies, get creative and self draft something, make something easy” – @the_mo_i_sew
“I do something completely different for a few weeks and wait for it to return” @nutthathelditsground
“I clean my sewing room and sewing machines. And fondle my fabrics which usually helps” – @sanitysewing
“Usually mine comes back.., but handling my fabrics help” – @Sew_sister
“I let it go for a while and then I see something on IG that inspires me and I get it back” – @onauntmildredsporch
“You make something quick and fun” – @fivespicepower
This advice was super helpful and a lot of it just made sense. But, as with any advice that you are given, sometimes listening to your instinct about what to follow and what not is really important.
And by no means does that mean any of the advice was bad, quite the contrary, but I just knew that forcing it even with a quick and fun sew wasn’t what I needed.
I needed a full on sewing break and it was my reaction to the advice I was given that made this clear to me… so thank you everyone who took the time to impart your sewjo wisdom.
My 10 steps to Sewjo revival!
I actually ended up following quite a lot of it that advice, but my instincts were telling me not to push it. Slowing down and taking the break is what I needed.
There were a number of things I did instead of spending my time sewing, many of which have slowly recharged my inspiration and today as I write this I feel my sewjo has returned.
The road to full sewjo revival is, I am sure different for everyone, but in case any of these ideas are helping to anyone else who has lost their sewjo, I have listed out my 10 steps to sewjo revival here.
1. Take a full on break from social media and the blog
I had started to feel a certain pressure to be posting, commenting etc and to be honest it was pressure that I could do without. During this time I have been through a stressful few weeks at work, as well as having some renos done in my home so it’s no wonder the pressure of having ‘another’ thing to do was just too much for me to cope with
2. Join a Creative Masterclass
I have long been stalked on social media by Masterclass, the online learning platform that includes seriously big names in each of the categories. When I discovered Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg had all done a Masterclass I was in. I used the time I would have been thinking about sewing watching these creative juice flowing sessions. In particular watching Marc Jacobs showing the construction of some of his garments really got the sewjo shifting!I know this is something that costs a bit of money, but I think so far it has been worth every penny!
3. Looking at pictures – not of home sewing patterns and makes
I think for a while I got a bit fatigued with so many patterns looking the same. How many tiered dress patterns does one person need (don’t ask me to count mine… way too many). I spent more time browsing my old favourite stores getting inspo for the type of look I want to sew as we move into the new season. This really helped and guided me towards pattern plans that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
4. Organising and prewashing fabrics
I am not very good at admin and for me, one of the admin ‘chores’ of sewing is stash organising. I like to prewash all my fabric when it arrives so that if it’s not being used straight away, when it is put away it is good to go. I had got a bit behind (and had splurged a bit on stash building… aka fabric collecting) and so my newest purchases weren’t ready to go.. They are now and are already being whipped up into some new spring styles
5. Tidying sewing space and organising fabric
Just like with my fabric, things had got a little disorderly in my sewing area. With the renos, everything needed to be moved from everywhere and the sewing room (also my office) was the dumping ground. It still does have a corner of absolute mess, but the desk area is now tidy, lint free and with space to think. I think a part of my sewjo loss was not wanting to sit in such a mess.
6. Pattern research
Along with the store browsing that I did, I looked for some new patterns that were a little different and would challenge me. I guess this ties in with the pattern fatigue I mentioned above, so armed with some new ides I looked for a few new patterns. I found these at How to Do Fashion, Vogue Patterns and Viki Sews on the foldline
I am an adhoc knitter but I took to getting a bit more done on the WAK Dill tee I’ve been making (for a long time). I did finish one side… I rarely finish my knit projects so this was real progress and all thanks to the missing sewjo. I didn’t find that this really replaced my drive to create, but more the time not sewing creating some time I ‘needed’ to do something with.
8. Get planning some small projects with a learning curve
I am most motivated when I am learning something new or challenging myself. Thankfully Braugust pushed me along to progress my bra making to a wired bra. It wasn’t all flowers and rainbows. I had a couple of complete disasters but I really enjoyed the process. The learning aspect was great but also just sewing smaller items felt more manageable from where I had been with the sewjo sitch.. And focusing on small and pretty details created some very mindful sewing time. See below my disastrous Black Beauty Bra attempt, which is probably a blog post all of its own!
I love to draw and so I purchased some totally unrequired new pens and took to doodling croquis and I have even had an attempt at starting to make a cool retro floral surface pattern that I’d love to get printed on some fabric. This got my creative juices flowing and definitely sparked some inspo for the Roseclair dress I am sewing now.
10. Scrap project
Another issue in my sewing room was that I had become a little overrun with bags of shreds that had been saved up for a closet core pouf. So I hacked up an old pair of jeans and finally made it. Surprisingly, I didn’t have enough to completely fill it, so it’s still a bit of a WIP… but a satisfying, easy and sewing room tidying sew!
And the sewjo is back!
Having now been through my first round of real sewjo and come back through the otherside, I am glad I didn’t push it. It’s clear to me from the advice I got on instagram that different things work to inspire different people and so whatever people might tell you to know, it’s important to listen to yourself and trust your instincts. For me, taking the pressure off was just what I needed… Now back to sewing my Roseclair dress 😉
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