For those of your unfamiliar with the term, ‘sewjo’ is the word we’ve invented for ‘sewing mojo’; namely, your usual excitement about sewing things. We all know that I love a good pun.
So what about when you have a period where you fall out of love with sewing? I classify a loss of sewjo as a combination between a loss of motivation and creative block – you have the time to sew, but you’re not really feeling it.
I’ve been in sewing funks before, and sometimes you just have to ride them out – but if you want your uncontrollable enthusiasm for making things to come back, here are a few techniques that I’ve found pretty useful.
Figure out why you’re not in the mood
This one can sometimes be a little bit tricky to do, so I’ve included some of what I’ve found to be the most common reasons that I haven’t felt so jazzed about sitting at my sewing machine and what might help to get you back in the mood. If you can think of any others, feel free to add your own in the comments!
- You’re burnt out – You’ve been sewing so much recently that you need a break (if this is the case, head down to the ‘don’t force yourself to sew’ section)
- You’re feeling inferior – If you follow a lot of other sewists on Instagram or YouTube, sometimes you end up falling into the ‘comparison trap’ and feel like what you’re making isn’t as good, or you aren’t making enough things. First of all, I’ve come to realise that that’s just rubbish – we all sew at different levels of expertise and different speeds. I usually fix this by taking a little ‘sewcial media’ break; I don’t look at the sewing side of Instagram or YouTube for a few days, and usually find that it makes a big difference to how I feel about my makes. Sometimes, taking a break from social media in its entirety can really help too!
- Your makes haven’t been turning out as you hoped or have been complicated – The things that you’ve made recently haven’t turned out as you’d hoped. Go back to a pattern that you’ve used loads of times and that you find really easy. Sometimes, all it takes is a few quick and simple makes to get you back into the swing of things!
- You’re bored of what you’ve been making – This one sort of follows on from the previous point, but is slightly different. You might have made four pairs of trousers in a row without realising that you have, or have been making loads of things for other people without anything for yourself – more on the concept of ‘selfish sewing’ further down the post. In this situation, mix it up a bit! Either make something new or challenging, or do something completely different – if you only ever make garments, have a go at something else, like a doorstop!
The remedy for this one is the opposite of the ‘comparison bug’. Look at what other people have been making, check out the newest pattern releases on THE FOLD LINE (click that link to check out their website!) website or YouTube channel at the end of each month or what’s come out in the shops recently.
If you come across a garment in a TV show, film or the shops and it strikes you with inspiration and you want to sew something like it, you can get the inspiration printable project planner that I made! It’s a downloadable digital file from my Etsy shop, and you can print it as many times as you like once you’ve bought it. It’s only £0.24 (or $0.34 USD) at the time that this blog post is released, so buy it now because the price will be going up next week! Click the image below if you’d like to take a look:
You could also book a ticket to a sewing event, such as the Spring Knitting & Stitching show, which is coming up, or cross your fingers and hope for tickets to the Sewing Weekender hosted by The Fold Line. I was lucky enough to attend the Sewing Weekender last year, and I came away feeling more excited to sew than I’d ever been before. Another option, if that isn’t something that you can do, is joining (or even hosting!) an online sewalong or sewing challenge – when you’re a part of a community project, I find it really helps with motivation. Even sewing a really popular pattern can make you feel like part of the fun!
A lack of inspiration could also be remedied by looking through your fabric stash or doing a little bit of fabric browsing online – I really enjoy matching my fabrics to prospective patterns and imagining how they might turn out, and this gets me out of a low-motivation-to-sew zone really quickly a lot of the time!
The Idea of ‘Selfish Sewing’
This is a term that I really dislike. I don’t think there’s such a thing as selfish sewing at all! If you sew things for other people as a job and a way to make money, that’s different; but otherwise, selfish sewing simply is not a thing. You sew because it’s your hobby and you love doing it – you are in no way obliged to sew or mend garments for other people just because you can! Sewing garments is time consuming and quite expensive, and you sort of get attached to something as you make it – so if you’re making or mending something for someone and you don’t really want to, remember that a hobby can’t be selfish – you can’t be a selfish golfer, or selfish reader!
If you enjoy making things for other people, that’s fine too – sewing is your hobby – do what you want with it!
Don’t force yourself to sew
Sometimes, you just need to take a break! Some people say that forcing yourself to do something when you’re not in the mood might help to break you out of your funk, but in the majority of cases, I’d disagree. If sewing is your hobby, it’s something you should enjoy doing! Don’t beat yourself up if you just aren’t in the mood – wait it out and only sew when you want to – watch a film, read a book, do some knitting or go out on a walk. Sometimes, forcing creativity will only result in you becoming more disenchanted.