Sewjo? What the heck is that???
Sewjo is the magic mojo that gets you sewing.
But sewjo can come and go at any time. During a quarantine, it can be even trickier to find the motivation to indulge in this hobby (and this is directed at hobby sewists. If this is your business, that’s a different animal!). Maybe you don’t have more free time right now, or you have other stressors. And even if you do have time, maybe sewing isn’t what you want to be doing right now.
The first thing you have to do is give yourself a break. Whether or not you want to sew, IT’S OKAY. Recognize that sewjo is fickle. Some days it will be there, and sometimes it won’t.
Here are 6 ways to find your love of sewing again.
Sewjo Tip #1: Find a Community Project
Right now there’s a massive sewing community push to make face masks, scrubs, and hospital gowns. If “acts of service” is one of your love languages, a community-based project could be just the ticket for breaking out of the doldrums.
You can find information about making these things from your local hospitals, or a Google search in your area. Everyone has different requirements.
In non-quarantine times, there are other community projects that exist. Like a quilting bee where people contribute squares. Or vets and animal shelters look for dog/cat beds. Look around your Nextdoor app, city Facebook page, or even a subreddit (if one exists) for projects you can assist with!
You can also use a community project for inspiration to focus on your immediate circle. I was only able to make masks for my own doctor’s office, my cousin’s medical facility, and my own family before I had to take a step back.
This exercise did help me figure out where I did want to spend my sewing time, and it was on specific projects. So I’m grateful that I realized it.
Sewjo Tip #2: Grab Inspiration from Sewing Challenges
If you heard me on the Love to Sew podcast about sewing challenges, you know I don’t care for deadlines. I absolutely hate sewing on a deadline. This is why I rarely participate in sewing challenges. Yet, ironically, I keep a running directory of all of the ones I can find on my Maker Challenges list!
Just because a challenge has a deadline doesn’t mean you’re bound by it! Instead, use the theme of a challenge as a jumping off point. All you’re looking for here is inspiration. Especially if a sewing contest doesn’t have a prize attached, there’s no penalty for missing the deadline!
Once I admitted I couldn’t make masks anymore, I took a hard look at what I DID want to do. Then I realized I had some ideas that would fit within the parameters of a few challenges (and even the deadlines!).
I made these 3 garments for 3 different sewing challenges, but they ended up fitting into an additional 4!
The Sew Comfortable challenge was especially right up my alley because I just want to hang out in pajamas all day long ALL THE TIME.
I’m going to be using the #sewcomfortable tag for a loooooooong time because it speaks to my inner sewist. The contest is long over, but sew what?
Sewjo Tip #3: Create Your Own Challenge
Don’t like challenges imposed by other people? Come up with your own!
What do you want to accomplish with your sewing this year? Make that your personal challenge.
That’s how I came up with #themendychallenge. I have a huge pile of mending I need to get through. It’s already April and I’ve barely made a dent into it.
But I will!
My dear friend Kirsten challenged herself to make jeans for her birthday this month. How fun is that!
Jeans are one of those projects that take a lot of patience, have lots of steps, sometimes a few (or more) fit issues to overcome, yet are so satisfying once they’re done. Completing a project of that magnitude is a huge accomplishment!
Sewjo Tip #4: Do Something Only Somewhat Sewing-Related
You don’t have to physically sew in order to work on your sewjo. Do something that’s kinda sorta related to sewing instead!
This can be anything from organizing your stash (like right now during Beth’s #ILoveMyFabricParty!), rearranging your sewing space, cleaning your machines, cataloging all your me mades, planning future projects or even just fantasizing about your dream setup.
I like to ogle machines in my spare time, like some people do with cars. One day I’ll be able to afford a Babylock machine. They call it the Cadillac of sergers! In the meantime, I just fantasize about it (especially when I get frustrated rethreading my current machine).
I also like to caress my fabric and figure out what pattern to marry it with. I’ve spent a lot of time organizing my patterns so they’re easily found and I periodically need to do that with the fabric. Re-organizing my stash gives me the opportunity to stroke all my fabric again while imagining what it can become.
Sewjo Tip #5: Try a “Palate Cleanser”
A palate cleanser is a project that clears the decks. Like a mint at the end of dinner, it removes the leftover food residue so you can indulge in something else.
I usually need one of these super easy projects after I’ve finished (or given up on) something particularly frustrating. It’s what my husband calls a “win.” Something I know I can make that will remove all traces of annoyance.
This can mean going back to a tried and true pattern. Or making something small but useful, like a beanie or scrunchie. It can even be a completely new but simple project that you know you won’t have to look at the instructions for.
That’s what my Lou Box top above was for me. It’s a simple t-shirt. Even though I hacked it a bunch, I know how to sew a basic t-shirt. And I had it done in a day! Talk about a win!
Sewjo Tip #6: Stop Sewing Completely
Sounds nuts right? If you don’t have the motivation to sew, are you really going to find it by NOT sewing?
If you don’t want to sew, then just…don’t. It’s really that simple. You don’t have to force it if you don’t want to.
Burnout is real. And burning out on sewing (or any hobby) is essentially no different than burning out on work. But you can manage it the same way! Take a vacation from it, reprioritizing your life, or even just shift your perspective about it.
Take the time you’d otherwise spend sewing and do something else instead. Indulge in a different creative outlet.
Binge-watch your favorite show.
Start (or continue) a journal.
Teach your kids how to do handstands.
Make flower crowns.
Really, just stop thinking about it. Do anything else to take your mind off of how much you don’t want to sew. It’s okay to give in to that right now.
And then when you’re ready, maybe tomorrow or next month or even next year, there are 5 other suggestions above for dipping your toe back in.
How do you combat losing your sewjo?
Pin me to come back to later!
This is such great advice. I sew for work that has essentially halted due to the virus. I did sew some masks, but that made me feel overwhelmed and sad at the same time of feeling helpful. I decided to sew some projects for myself because I never had time to do this when I was working so much. It worked! I feel much more inspired and I am opening a FB group and starting my own pattern challenge this month. It feels good to remember why I love to sew and benefit from some new wardrobe pieces!