Friday 21 June 2019

My Sewing Motivation is Back ~ What Helped Me

My sewing mojo is back!!! And it feels good. Read on to see how I did it...

For the last nine months I've only sewn sporadically - a few small things here and there. For much of that period, I was limited by being busy elsewhere. There simply wasn't time to do any sewing. 

When, after a few months, I did start to get some time to myself, it was only a little and unpredictable. And so I went to my happy place - my garden. The only time I ventured near needle and thread was clothing alterations for my family

It's only in the last month that more time has become available to me, but still with the constraints of unpredictability, hence making it hard to plan anything, which in turn has led to lack of motivation (to put it mildly) on all fronts. 

So, what's brought back my enthusiasm to sew? It's a combination of things...

First up, I had three requests for sewing alterations - shortening jeans and jacket sleeves for my daughter, and darning jeans for my eldest son. I have a tendency to take a LONG time with clothing alterations, so decided if I didn't get stuck into them straight away, it could take years - that's happened before.

I took my own advice - didn't procrastinate - and the alterations were done in no time. What a good feeling.

Around that time, an online friend sent me a lovely email and a copy of one of her patterns. It really brightened my day. I really want to get stuck into making up an item with the pattern, but I've decided I need to work through a few unfinished projects first.

I have so many items cut out or half sewn, and, for me, it's a little overwhelming. The unfinished things detract from what I'm doing, as my mind keeps thinking back to them.

So, as soon as the clothing alterations were done, I dug out twelve infinity scarves I cut out a long time ago. I deliberately chose something that would be quick and easy. I had the overlocking of the seams done in one night. Over the course of a few evenings watching Netflix, and the hand sewing was completed.

My mood was lifting and I was spurred on to do more...

Four produce bags -again cut out a long time ago - sewn, photos taken and notes taken for a tutorial.

I was on a roll. But it wasn't just one thing that lead to another. I still had to organise my time. When I'm down I waste a lot of time on social media - doing nothing really - just looking and looking at the same things over and over. Don't get me wrong, I do like social media, but I was not using it in a healthy way.

And so I cut down on the time I was spending on social media.

Four reusable fabric grocery bags - yes, cut out many moons ago. One is for my youngest son. The three I made him a couple of years ago are still going strong, but three is sometimes not enough. Within a short space of time I had completed sewing items on my desk for each of my kids.

My kids are independent adults living in their own homes, but I still like to do things for them when I can. And that particular week, it was a real bucket filler.

When my work space (and house) is tidy, my mind functions in a more logical way. I tend to stick at tasks longer and not flit here and there as much. Having said that, I'm not naturally a tidy person. I'm making a conscious effort to keep my sewing room tidy. 

That doesn't mean magazine or Instagram photo worthy showy tidy. 

The rest of the house - not quite so enthused, but I've started. Let's just say that's a work in progress. But hey, progress is progress, no matter how slow.

I should mention that plastic bag in the photo above. As you know, I take my own fabric bags and avoid bringing home single use plastic bags where I can. The jeans came to me in that bag, and they're going back to their home in the same plastic bag.

I have a tendency to want to start and finish projects in one sitting - no matter how mammoth. In doing that over the years I usually only sew when I have substantial amounts of time. No more! I'm now trying to ensure that there is always something on my sewing desk that I can pick up at any time. 

Case in point - the cut out grocery bag in the photo above. That was the last of the four, sewn with a few minutes here and there. If you have five minutes, do a five minute job. Or, as Mimi says, using 5 minute windows... And it's working - at least, in my sewing room - I'm trying hard to apply it to the housework.

It would be very easy for me to now start setting goals - finish all unfinished projects before I begin anything new. However, I am not going to. That would create unnecessary stress for me, which I so don't need. I'm taking my sewing one day at a time - not thinking more than one project ahead.

And that includes charity sewing. I'm trying not to feel guilty here, but I'm resisting the urge to get stuck into the latest Sewing for Charity Australia project. They're sewing No Zip Pencil Cases for The Mad Woman Foundation to support kids in foster care. I would normally see a request such as this that appeals to me, immediately stop my current project, and start cutting out - even more so with this one in that they are using my tutorial.

I'm a bit like a kid whose eyes are too big for their stomach. In an effort to be efficient, I'd cut out way more than I could hope to comfortably sew - and the previously current project would be shelved unfinished.

I do hope to join in with making pencil cases, but I'll wait a little while yet - I have till the end of July.

So, as you can see, it wasn't just one thing that brought back my sewing mojo. It was a combination of events and strategies that enabled me to see glass half full and to get things into perspective - looking at the positive and making the most of the situation.

In that frame of mind, the other day Mr TMW and I went for the first day trip we've done in ages. There's a few pics on Instagram. We had a lovely day!!!

What strategies do you use to get yourself out of a sewing slump?

... Pam


  1. Glad your mojo has returned, sometimes it's just a few little things that get you re-started.

  2. Sometimes you just have to take some time off, glad you got your mojo back!

  3. That's great news Pam, and you've made some lovely items. So satisfying when you can tackle a few things that have been hanging around. Sometime you don't even notice them any more until they're "off your desk", I find!

    1. Thanks, Vicky. It's great to see them finished. I'm keeping them there for a while, just to remind me of the progress and to keep motivating myself.

  4. I am glad you are back. I see a lot of similarities in own situation... busy seasons, time wasted on social media, unfinished projects, and a messy sewing area. I cleaned it up this week and I am focusing on finishing one thing at a time. I also purged my fabrics but cutting 5" squares from the scraps. I keep that pile near my sewing machine so that I always have a little quick sewing ready. I did most of my sewing when I had very little children in small increments of time.

  5. What a great post! I tend to be a 'gung-ho' person and start way too many projects but sewing is the one I never get around to because like you, I'm waiting for a big block of time which will never happen because by the time I get it I'm ready to elevate my legs! LOL! One thing which I am going to start doing is 'prepping' for my sewing. I notice that a quilter friend of mine only has evenings as she works full time so one evening she will gather all her materials or order if she needs to plus ensure she has all her supplies ready. The next time she will cut out all her pieces, then another night she sews, then there's the finishing which many times is handwork but she has already got her next project ready to go. I think dividing up the tasks makes so much sense to me and makes it seem like it's not overwhelming and like you said.... 5 or 10 minutes here or there can make a huge difference in getting to that "finish" line. Thank you for sharing as you have motivated me!

    1. Glad the post has motivated you, Sam. Your friend sounds very organised - something for me to aspire to. Maybe if I do it for long enough it'll become second nature - might even extend to the housework:-) :-)

  6. I’m glad you got your mojo back!

  7. Wow! I see so much of myself in this post. I'm still at the alterations level but hope to start doing more

  8. This post really spoke to me. I have been so overwhelmed by everything lately, that I've not done anything with my sewing machine. I look at it and move on. I, too, look for the big block of time. When I have that, my energy is low. I need to do just a little here, a little there. Thanks for the motivation and glad you got your mojo back!

  9. OMG! Thank You for this post. I have be dragging since I had back surgery 3 years ago. I am on it. Finishing what I start and tidy up the craft room.

    1. Glad the post resonated with you. All the best with your health and getting back to things you enjoy.

  10. So glad that your sewing mojo has returned Pam, and from the list of projects you have ticked off it has definitely benefitted from that time out :)

  11. Thanks Pam. You sound so much like me. At the start of the year I made a decision to get more done and here are some things that have worked for me: when sitting in front of the "time vanisher" (TV) do some hand sewing/embroidery; on weekends, when I have more free time, work on the bigger projects; only look at social media in bed; post my finishes to social media so that I have a record of what I have completed so far. There are still some days when I don't do anything but I try not to beat myself up about it. Feeling good about what I have accomplished spurs me on. Good luck.

    1. "Time vanisher" - love it!!! In the couple of months since writing this post, I've taken up knitting again, and bring it out whenever I watch TV. Ha, ha... doesn't get sewing done, but it is relaxing. You've brought up some good points there - if only I could restrict social media to once a day, I'd gain so much time. Good on you for being so disciplined - something I must work harder on. Thanks for taking the time to add to the discussion, Jeanette.


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