Getting Back Your "Sew-Jo"

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love making handmade gifts for loved ones. Christmas Eve pajamas for my kids, a new sweater for my dad, headbands and scarves for teachers- the list was a long one for me this year. And there's no feeling quite like that of giving a handmade gift to someone you love that you've made with your hands. 

But after the piles of holiday wrapping paper have been cleared away, all the decorations have been taken down, and mountains of cookies have been devoured by the kids (and me, let's me honest)  I feel pretty burnt out. And as much as I love sewing, this happens every year.

This time of year, we hear a lot about sewists losing their "sew-jo." While the name sounds silly, it definitely is a real thing, and one that can be difficult to overcome. Some days when the kids are busy and I've carved out a free hour for myself, I sit down at my machine and I just think, "I can't." 

So how does one overcome this feeling? It's definitely a question that has many potential answers. So in this post, we're going to cover a few ideas to help get us motivated, and back doing the thing that gives us so much joy. 

Clean Out/ Reorganize Your Space

This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but a clean and organized space can definitely help with getting your sew-jo back. If you're anything like me, your sewing space is an absolute disaster after the frenetic sewing that often leads up to the holidays! Take a deep breath with me, and behold a picture I took of my sewing room December 26th (Type As, avert your eyes)! 


 I know. It's bad. And to tell you the truth, after Christmas I just closed the door on that mess and let it sit for about a week. 

But after the theoretical dust cleared, I was ready get in and reorganized. I promised myself that I wasn't going to sew anything until I was feeling good about the space I was in. And while it took a whole weekend (and a lot of recycling bags), I did it! After all that work, I was feeling inspired and ready to make a fabulous mess in here once again. 


Indulge in Some Self-Care Sewing

Ever heard of "selfish sewing?" It's a term that, while pretty common in online sewing communities, I think does more harm than good. Sewing something beautiful for yourself that gives you joy is anything but selfish, and can be an excellent way to recharge after a  busy season of sewing for loved ones. So let's change the term from "selfish" to "self-care" sewing!"

Self-care sewing is way to express our creativity, feel a sense of accomplishment, and to remind ourselves that we are just as important and deserving of our craft as those we're sewing for. 

So try to set aside your sewing to-do list,  and choose a project just for you, whether that’s making a fabulous new outfit, or something small and simple like a headband. One of first things I made myself this year was this pair of the coziest Oakley pajamas. Prior to the holidays, I made my three children matching pajamas, as well as a new robe for my husband, but had neglected to sew anything for myself! And after looking one day in the mirror at the ratty old tee shirt I was sleeping in, I decided it was high time I had some pjs that I loved too. Taking that time for myself, and the joy wearing these pajamas gives me, is  a great reminder of why I love sewing in the first place! 

Start Small...

Sometimes when the sewing to-do list gets a little long and overwhelming, it's fun to try something small to really get your inspiration going. Headbands, scrunchies, scarves, underwear are all good choices here. Even a garment that you've made  a million times in the past, but you know you love is also great to begin with! Oftentimes, pattern companies will have freebies listed on their websites that are small, simple and easy to complete in a short amount of time. It's an excellent way to feel that sense of accomplishment and get the joy of sewing back in your system! 


...Or Go BIG! 

 While starting small is always a great way to get your sew-jo back in the game, sometimes trying your hand at something a little more technical or out of your comfort zone is also a great motivator to spark your creativity! Is there a lined coat pattern that you've had your eye on that you've never been brave enough to try? Or what about sewing with some fun tie dyed faux fur? Sometimes thinking out side of our normal box is a fabulous way to get out of a sewing rut and excited about creating again!

Do a Little Inspiration Hunting 

Do a little "window shopping" from the comfort of your smart phone or computer to get inspired. I love scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest to get ideas for outfits I'd like to try to recreate. Even checking out online stores and boutiques for inspiration is a great way to get you started. Because sometimes nothing feels as good as looking at an expensive ready-to-wear item and saying, "I can make that!" 


Losing the motivation and inspiration to sew is something that happens to us all, but it's never impossible to come back from. With a little push in the right direction, it's easy to get your motivation back and find the joy in creating once again!

What are some of your favorite ways to get your sew-jo back? Can't wait to hear from you!


1 comment

Margaret Miller

Margaret Miller

Just moved. Looking forward to organizing my sewing space! Thanks for the inspiration to begin opening all those boxes!

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