Are you a sewist who often finds yourself too exhausted to sew? Me too, my friend. Me too.
I think my New Year’s resolution for 3 or 4 (or more) years in a row was to sew clothes for myself, because I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to work on hobby projects in my free time—for YEARS.
I have to admit, I’m still not a high-output sewist, and I think the best thing I’ve done for myself is to embrace that fact. Thinking back to the first episode of Dear Jenny, once I gave myself permission to not sew things , I found myself feeling more energized to sew things.
Creativity is a form of problem-solving. It uses brain power. If you’re spending your entire day thinking critically and making decisions (using brain power), jumping into another session of that in your sewing might not be a fun, relaxing thing to do after a long day at work.
So here are 3 easy, simple steps to help you find the energy to sew. Jot them down and go through them whenever you’re feeling exhausted, but you still want to make space for your creativity.
How to find the energy to sew
Doing creative work like sewing requires energy. However, it can give you energy too, and it can help fuel you to tackle other parts of your life. In fact, many consider it a form of self-care.
Finding your creative energy can take time, but the good news is, the more energy you give to your hobbies, the more energized you’ll feel later on.
Step 1: Get started
Getting started is usually the hardest part. In fact, getting started is sometimes a creative endeavor in itself. You can read the Seamwork article 5 Ways to Just Get Started if you need a little more of a push at the beginning, but here is my favorite really simple way to get started.
Figure out the SMALLEST next step on your project, and commit to doing that.
Commit to something tiny and see how you feel after you’ve done that thing. It could be washing your fabric. Cutting 1 pattern piece. Sewing 1 dart. Pinning 1 seam together. It could even be to just stand in your sewing space for 5 minutes. Once you’ve done that one small thing, give yourself permission to stop if you’re still feeling tired and not into it right now. Try starting every sewing session by committing to just one small thing. ## Step 2: Reduce overwhelm
Do you find sewing to be a hobby of many decisions? And if you make the wrong one, your whole project is going to be ruined. Well, you can reduce decision overwhelm by breaking down your choices, making decisions one at a time, and giving yourself permission to not second guess yourself. At the start of each project, I find it helps to break down my decisions into smaller chunks. So instead of answering one big question “What should I make?” I’ll answer a series of smaller questions to help me pick my next project. I’ll ask myself…
- Do I want to make something I want or something I need?
- How fast do I want to complete this project? Or, how long do I want to spend on this project?
- Do I want an easy win or a challenge? Pro tip: accumulating a few easy wins will help build your excitement and sewing momentum!
From there, I’ll make another series of decisions…
- What kind of garment will I make?
- Where and how do I want to wear it?
- How do I want it to fit me?
After answering all those questions, I’ll have a good idea of what I want to make, and I’ll use that info to find the sewing pattern and fabric, whether in my stash or not. And once these decisions are made, I don’t look back! I don’t second guess myself. I save my brain energy for tackling whatever decisions I’ll need to make after I’ve started when, inevitably, I make mistakes in the sewing process. ## Step 3: Create a system of gentle accountability
Whether you set up a monthly sewing Zoom with friends, use a habit tracker on your phone, or give yourself a series of rewards for making progress, it can be really helpful to use some sort of accountability system to encourage you to achieve what you want.
Sewing is your fun hobby, but just like lots of other things that are good for you and that you enjoy, sometimes doing nothing at all is easier than doing the thing you love. So hack your brain by giving yourself some incentives to sit down at your sewing machine.
Stick to your own sewing calendar
Your energy for making things will ebb and flow depending on the time of year and month. I’m usually really excited to work on sewing projects at the start of each new season, but as the season rolls on (especially winter), I’m more tired and less excited to sew for myself.
So before you compare your sewing to someone else’s, remember that sewing should be fun! This is a hobby for you, and you’re not feeling up for it right now, that’s A-OK. I know the pressure and guilt you can feel when you see all the beautiful things others are making. When those feelings start to bubble up, remind yourself that your online sewing friends are currently in their season of sewing, and you’re just on a different sewing calendar.