This is one that’s been in the back of my mind for a while.
Like many people, the move into lockdown with the spread of COVID-19 meant I made a lot of plans to sew. I did actually do some sewing, but nowhere near the amount I thought I would. I saw others saying they had the same – they just didn’t feel like throwing themselves into things they usual enjoy.
This happens for me periodically, and I find I feel sort of guilty that I am not sewing. I have a few ways to jog myself out of it – one is to grab a work in progress (WIP) and finish it off, even though working out where I was up to and finishing can often end up taking longer than starting something new. Another way I get back into it is to batch cut out a bunch of projects, which sort of bumps me along and sparks the excitement to get sewing.
What do you do when you just don’t feel like sewing? Does it bug you or do you just go with it for a while?
Chloe is a Sewcialists Editor who lives and sews in Australia, on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. She blogs at chlo-thing.com and can be found on Instagram here.
I tend to pick up another project, like knitting or sketching, and use the slightly different process of it to kickstart my sewjo in return. After the relative slowness of knitting I’m typically rearing to go on something “fast” which is really “not glacial.”
Sometimes when I’m in a bigger rut I’ll reorganize my fabric stash or sewing supplies, which helps me reevaluate upcoming projects and UFOs and reminds me of all the cool stuff that I had planned at one point but got pushed off for various reasons. I found some printed chiffon on my last sort that is currently being manipulated on my dress form, just for fun at the moment, but I had completely forgotten it existed!
Ooo yes, I do a lot of reorganising – feels oddly like cleaning my room when I was supposed to be revising for exams!
I just take a break. For me sewing is a hobby, so if it is not enjoyable or satisfying, I just finish the project I’m on then stop. I haven’t been sewing as much as I thought I would during social isolation. I made some lounge clothes and masks, and I’m done. Maybe looking and feeling attractive in my makes is what was motivating me to love sewing, and that was okay then, but it time to re-evaluate. With all that is going on, my appearance feels very irrelevant. Maybe if I want to sew again I will look for a charity project.
I think the feeling of irrelevance was part of many people not wanting to sew in lockdown and again recently with people protesting for their lives. Yet for others, it’s almost like therapy.
I trace, cut, and organize…anything that reduces friction when I do feel like pulling out my machine! I sometimes have a related problem, which is desire to sew, but no specific inspiration.
Interesting! I never have the desire but no inspiration, though I suspect an over indulgence of patterns might be to blame on that one…
I just don’t sew. No need to feel guilty about it, IMO… The sewjo always comes back naturally. What also helps when I lose my sewjo, is stop looking at IG. The constant bombardment of mew patterns and fabrics tend to overload my sewing brain…
That’s a good call – instaparalysis is definitely real!
Sewing is a hobby, an art and a pleasure, nobody is going to go naked or hungry if I slack off for a bit. I will eventually get bored of my clothes, or they will wear out, and sheer practical motivation will take over. I have been sewing for 50+ years, I am not the least bit worried that a hiatus means the end.
That said, knitting is a good way to remind myself that I can enjoy a quick project. Or sewing something totally different, a bag instead of pants, a home related object, some project for someone else..
I wish knitting was quick for me – I can’t do it for very long at a time so projects are interminably slow
Knitting is very slow compared to sewing no matter which way you’re going about it. I am especially slow, have had two separate 4-year sweaters.
When my sewjo is down, I do other craft projects: gardening, knitting, drawing, etc. or simply organizing my sewing area.
Sometimes, I don’t touch my sewing machine for weeks and then come back to it with a lot of pleasure and inspiration. I don’t put any pressure on myself to be sewing productive. It’s OK. We are all in this situation regularly!
If I really need to finish a project, for a gift as an example, I try to motivate myself to go forward with baby steps. And eventually, you see the end of it!
That sounds all very sensible. I wish I didn’t feel all antsy about not sewing at the same time as not wanting to…!
I sew something quick with scraps often a top for my boys or a gift for my neighbours girls. If it’s quick it’s like an instant satisfaction thing and then I, usually raring to go in something more involved
Good idea 👍
Sewing face masks recently absolutely killed my sewjo. I’d been trying to not buy fabric for a while but I didn’t have any suitable for a project I’ve wanted to do since last year. So I went to the shop, found fabric, got all excited and had to start it right away because I really do not want new fabric purchases going into my stash. And I got my sewjo back! And now there are so many projects I want to do and actually am working on.
I can imagine all the face mask sewing has led to a lot of people taking a break!
I let it go. Honestly I find the whole “recapture your sew-jo” thing bizarre – my other hobbies are reading, gaming, and cooking, and I would never consider telling myself “hm I don’t really feel like reading today, I guess I’ll sit down and force myself to do it anyway.”
It is bizarre, yet I just feel twitchy when I can’t (or don’t want to) sew. We got a switch recently, so I can’t pretend Zelda didn’t help though!
I cut out patterns. Reorganize the fabric stash. Sit with the spinning wheel for a bit. Give the sewing machine a good cleaning and oiling. If that still doesn’t do it, I tackle the mending. That makes me feel like I’ve gotten something concrete done, and now I have something back in the closet to wear!
I’m a practical sewer, never frosting, always cake. 🙂
I like having a fairly small wardrobe and only make clothes to fill any gaps, usually about one thing a month. I’m never really in a hurry to finish the current project, especially now, when I’m not going out as much.
The project sits on my sewing table and I just pick it up when I feel like it, sometimes a week or more later. I never worry if I don’t feel like sewing. Although I do love finishing a project and clearing that table off!
More often than not I work up a TNT. Sometimes I clean and organize my space and fondle my fabric stash.
Now, I have my knitting machine that gets my attention when sewjo is gone.
And sometimes, I just don’t do anything. The feeling always passes!
I wish I had more TNT’s, I suspect that’s really satisfying. Am also intrigued by the knitting machine – I really don’t have room but they sound cool!
I usually just wait for the need to sew to rear up again. While it’s down I indulge my other hobbies – terribly trashy novels, baking cakes, web surfing, walking the dog and so on. I also think about what clothing I need next and plot what patterns/fabrics I’ll use.
Oh no sewjo at the moment! I have a stash of fabric folded on the edge of the dining table which has been there for a couple of weeks. I had lost my knitting mojo too – but that came back. I am hoping my sewing one will too soon. I am lucky my crafting is a hobby not a job – otherwise I’d be in dire straits. Maybe time to plan projects and sort through ideas that might never come to fruition. I have also remeasured myself and realised there are plenty of patterns I will never make again unless I remodel myself drastically!
Each time the sewjo has gone down it’s always been for different reasons and has come back in different ways. For COVIDit’s been a mix of things – my job was demanding a lot of my time at the start of quarantine, but as that started to go back to normal I did some mask sewing, which led to a lot of random people coming out to f the woodwork asking for masks, which was a weird way to lay on guilt (I’m not saving the world!) but I also felt a strong reluctance to sew; it was one thing to make masks for my friends and family to keep them safe, it was another to be expected to sew masks for profit. It isn’t wrong to do so, but it really wasn’t what I was going for with my mask endeavors. After that I sort of fell into a sewing room reorganization rut – where nothing was accessible as I shuffled, sorted, and reconfigured some furniture. Project organization has taken me months, and led to me starting on some of those “one day” sorts or projects that are more crafty than garment focused (my brain is not here for new garment sewing techniques, but I think I can handle short straight seams). I also have a large pile of mending that could be good to knock out, just because I want to get my sewing space back to being less cluttered and more functional soon. I will say I treated myself to a gravity feed iron as part of the sewing space redo, and I’ve made myself a new pressing table as well. Not having to deal with my rickety old ironing board has definitely been a boost to the sewjo for sure. So… I’m not exactly out of the sewing rut, but I’m slowly getting back to wanting to create things and I think that’s good. And I’m getting a lot of long-neglected sewing-adjacent things handled in the meantime, so that’s good too.
I get anxious if I haven’t made real progress on projects. Most days I spend an hour or two in the sewing room, and most days it is time spent advancing my garment projects. Other activities might be ironing, organizing, selecting projects, cleaning the sewing machine, playing with the serger, etc. But I have a largish stash and a lot of plans. If a plan doesn’t pan out during execution (what I saw in my brain turns out too small, too big, a middling result trying a new skill, or just not as good as envisioned) then that bothers me some, so I try to immediately redo it, or have a plan for giving it away, or whatever. That helps me stay focused and carry on, and not hide away from starting anew. I don’t have many wadders, some ok garments, and a few real winners. The last group really keep my sewing juices flowing.