What to do when you lose your sew-jo

If, like me, you're a mad keen sewist then you're always looking out for new ideas and dreaming up new projects. My ambition far outweighs the amount of time available, my budget or the practicalities on where and when I would wear half the stuff I imagine. But that doesn't stop me dreaming! However we all have periods when we cool off sewing for a bit and lose our our mojo for sewing, or sew-jo. 

So it's confession time for me, I've not sewn a single thing for 2 months. And I've got a sewing business! I broke the wrist of my dominant hand in mid-December so 6 weeks was spent in cast - since the pins were removed and the cast has come off my wrist mobility is taking it's sweet time to come back. When I first had my accident I stopped dreaming up new projects because I didn't want to think about things I couldn't do. But now I'm in a position to actually sew, the desire to do so has diminished and I'm struggling to get my sew-jo back.

My reason for losing my sew-jo is injury but it can dry up because of a multitude of reasons.

So what can you do to get your sew-jo back??

The million-dollar question. Here are some ideas which I think are good starters to rejuvenate your desire for sewing. The main principle is to ease yourself back into it with an easy 'win' to make you want to come back to the sewing machine for more.  


Knits: Knits have a reputation of being tricky, but they really don't have to be. Knits are a great 'palette cleanser' - an easy project that doesn't require too much brain power, sews up fairly quickly, and has a good end result. A T-shirt, sweatshirt or knit top are all great simple projects which will ease you back into sewing without being too taxing. Quite often knits are a good project to do when you've come off the back of a particularly time-consuming or tricky make too. (I guess it's a bit like watching a light-hearted comedy after a heavy-going boxset.) Choose knit fabrics like interlock, ponte roma or sweatshirting, as they're nice and stable, so are easier to work with.


Tried and Tested (TNT): Most sewists have a tried and tested pattern (or patterns) that they like to turn to again and again. It might be something that is an enjoyable sew, something that fits really well, or just a pattern that works well with lots other items in your wardrobe. It doesn't really matter what it is - top, t-shirt, trousers - whatever, the main thing is that you know the outcome will be great. The best thing about returning to a TNT pattern is that success will give you a little confidence boost that makes you want to reach straight for the dressmaking shears to cut out your next project.


Go shopping: Ok so this is a bit of a wild card but I think getting inspiration is half the job of creating a desire to sew. A trip to the shops to try some things on is a great way of getting your creative juices flowing. You don't need to buy anything but it'll perhaps give you a few ideas - colours, silhouettes, fabrics - which you can take forward in your dressmaking. Perhaps there is a new fashion trend you'd like to try out before you commit to buying a pattern or the fabric for it. 


Sew something you really want to: I like to think that we only sew things we want to... but that's not always true. In my case I end up sewing fancy dress costumes for the kids, birthday presents for family etc. A little bit of my soul dies when the request for another World Book Day outfit comes along (but my kids LOVE it so I always do them). But let's face it, if it's not going to set our world on fire then we're going to be reticent to sew it. So let's give ourselves a break and sew something we really WANT to sew - something fancy, something necessary, something new. Basically we want to dangle the carrot in front of ourselves so much that's it's just irresistible.


So what's next for me?

Well my plan is to do 3 of the 4! I'm going to start with a knit project, but a brand new to me pattern; the True Bias Marlo sweater (or cardigan as us English like to call them). Hopefully that'll be simple enough to ease me back in slowly. And I've also been to the shops already to try on some blazers to see what works for my body shape and what doesn't. I've got a new pattern lined up - the Avid Seamstress 'The Blazer' pattern - and a length of Hermés deadstock suiting which I've had squirreled away since last spring. Plus if I can cut it out efficiently then I may have enough fabric left to make a matching pinafore dress - the Vikisews Audrey dress. It's an irresistible project for me and I can't wait to get started.

So it's safe to say I'm back planning and plotting.... I feel my sew-jo will be returning imminently....

February 24, 2023 — Tanya Brooman