It happens to even the most enthusiastic sewists: occasional drops in sewing mojo. There are many reasons sewing burnout can occur, from a flurry of gift sewing for friends (so tiring!), to a shift in the seasons (must go outside!), to body changes (do I really have to re-measure?). Many of us experienced an almost manic addiction to sewing when we first started, spending every minute sewing or thinking about it—but that level of frenzy tends not to last. A few years in you may feel a little less energy for sewing until midnight every night.
But the good news is that if the sewing bug once bit you, you can get that excitement back—no need to panic!
Here are just a few ideas to re-spark your passion and find your sewing mojo again.
Eliminate the Guess Work
Try revisiting a tried and true (TNT) pattern in your favorite fabric.
Although the urge to sew can sometimes wane, it’s common that our love of fabric remains. So if you’re feeling frustrated with garments that just haven’t come out right, failed experiments, or sewing for others, it’s a great idea to turn to a TNT pattern that you’ve made before, know fits you, and feels great. Then, find one of the most precious or exciting fabrics in your stash, and finally use it!
While it’s tempting to hoard fabric we adore, it’s so much better to have it on your body. There is no better form that fabric could take than a garment you know you will love. The best part is you won’t have to worry about accidentally ruining your fabric when you opt for something TNT!
The combo of a TNT pattern and an amazing fabric means you will have to invest little time to make something you will love wearing.
Re-organize Your Stash
Ah, the trusty stash. Lots of sewists have a rather large curated collection of fabric from over the years—which means it can be really easy to forget what’s actually in there. If you’re a fabric lover, then why not take an afternoon (or the weekend, or a week …) to re-organize your stash.
As you uncover previously loved but since forgotten purchases, you can better organize it using a few simple tricks. One great idea is to buy small comic book boards and fold your fabric around them to create mini-bolts that you can then store on shelves or in baskets—they’ll keep the yardage neat and make it easier to find what you’re looking for.
As you go through your fabrics, figure out which ones you’re never going to use. Consider giving these to friends, your local school, or donating to a charity shop. If you have lots of shorter pieces that aren’t sufficient for a full garment, think about how you could use them for pockets, accents, color-blocked garments, or smaller stash-busting projects like quilts or children’s toys. For the tiniest scrappiest pieces, let go! There’s no point clogging up your stash with fabric you’re never going to be able to use.
You might also want to catalog your stash to make it easier to find fabrics in the future. There are different approaches, from creating an Excel spreadsheet to using an app like Evernote that allows you to take photos and tag them. If you prefer a physical catalog, try creating a booklet of your fabrics. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can measure each piece of fabric so you know how much you have, note the width, fiber content, and even try to match them up with patterns you already have.
And finally, perhaps the greatest thing about organizing your stash is that you’ll probably find a totally forgotten piece of fabric that reignites the sewing mojo!
Dream Up New Plans
Sometimes, a lack of sewing mojo comes from a lack of inspiration. I am here to tell you it’s totally possible to get it back. If you’re just not in the mood for using a sewing machine, you can look for garment and outfit inspiration and sketch your ideas instead.
One option would be to follow the Colette Wardrobe Architect series, a group of worksheets that help you create a wardrobe that you love. Or look for new bloggers to follow on Bloglovin’ or Instagram for trend inspiration. To help capture your ideas, you could try using a fashion sketchbook, like Fashionary or the Cashmerette Curvy Sketchbook, which have croquis you can draw on top of to get lovely professional-looking illustrations.
Try Another Craft
Don’t even want to think about creating garments for a while? Then look around for another craft to inspire you! Most sewists love the feeling of learning new hands-on skills, but there’s plenty of non-sewing crafts to try. One of the most popular ones in knitting. You can even buy kits from brands like Wool and the Gang to kick you off, or peruse the beautiful patterns and yarns of Brooklyn Tweed. How about learning to watercolor paint? Follow the hashtag #12monthsofpaint on Instagram for tons of inspiration.
If you’re not sure where to start, pop over to Craftsy and peruse all the creative classes. You might discover something you’ve never even considered (cake decorating, anyone?!). Not only is it fun to learn something totally new, but you might also find that it gives you new ideas for sewing projects. Painting could inspire you to create your own fabric through sites like Spoonflower or My Fabric Designs, and embroidery might get you into creating Alabama Chanin hand-embroidered garments.
Give It a Break
Finally, you are allowed to just take a break from sewing. It can be a bit scary to stop sewing altogether when you’ve been passionate about it for years, but sometimes we just need a rest! Give yourself permission to stop until you find yourself pondering French seams at the bus stop or figuring out which pattern would suit that top in the store window. Soon enough you’ll find the passion has come back again.