Crikey, I’ve Lost My Sewjo! Here’s How to Get It Back

All sewists have experienced it at one time or another – the mysterious case of the lost sewjo. Overnight the act of sewing, once a source of such joy, has become the most unbearable chore. The sewing machine gathers dust while you are stuck in a hideous holding pattern of hesitation, frustration and resentment.  

It’s no fun at all, but it’s by no means incurable. Here are five tip-top suggestions to help you find that elusive sewjo and kick your sewing machine into gear.

Abandon Your Sewing Machine 

Not forever, of course. But spend a couple of days paging through a sewing-related read or going all-out on (seamstress-related) screen time and you might just find yourself yearning to get behind the wheel again. Peppermint Sewing Coordinator Laura Jackson says watching The Dressmaker always does the trick for her. “There’s something about the power of those beautiful textiles, expert fitting and pure creativity that sets my sewist heart alight and compels me back to my machine,” she says.

Another trick? Save your most favourite podcasts for sewing days. That way, you’ll always have something to look forward to – even when you’re at the pointy end of a project. Whodunnits are great for this purpose, but if you’re after something slightly less gruesome we recommend “Whipstitch” by the author and sewing instructor Deborah Moebes.

Reorganise Your Space 

If you find yourself hovering around your sewing machine but unable to sit down and start anything, one of the best things you can do is to give your space a thorough clean. Sweep up all the scraps and threads, put away all the pins, stow away any half-finished projects that have been thrown aside in despair, sort your patterns and fold your fabric stash.

While it’s easy to fall into procrasti-cleaning habits and ignore those rapidly encroaching deadlines in favour of scouring a sink, in this instance it really does work. Clearing away the chaos that’s accumulated at your sewing station will help to clear away any associated stress or guilt that you might not even be aware you’re carrying, and a perfectly optimised space will tempt you to sit down and get sewing.

Plus, as you sort through your fabric stash, you’ll invariably find some hidden treasure set aside for a special reason – and the inspirational spark will be rekindled.

Give Yourself Small Victories

Re-immerse yourself in the sewing game with a tentative toe dip rather than forcing yourself to plunge off the highest diving board. Is there some mending you’ve been meaning to do, some clothes in need of minor alterations or a piece you set down just short of the finish line?

A simple project, like fixing a busted seam, reattaching a button or adjusting a hem, will give you the satisfaction of emerging with a fully wearable item without the gruelling work of starting a full-scale project. If you don’t have any obligingly easy slam dunks to hand, set yourself a small sewing project – something you can start and finish within a couple of hours. A scrunchie, a headband, a tote bag… it doesn’t matter, it just has to be something you can knock out quickly and knock out of the park.

Then, crucially, take the win. Don’t diminish or downplay it. Bask in your incredible power to create something where nothing was before. You haven’t lost it – the magic was inside you all along!

Window Shop For Inspiration 

There are as many cures for your missing sewjo as there are causes. You may be struggling because the projects you’re working on aren’t exciting you creatively. In this case, you need to find some inspiration that will fire up your fervour. This doesn’t mean searching tirelessly for the one perfect pattern that will single-handedly solve your slump – an endeavour that (from experience) generally leaves one frustrated and feeling like an uninspired, time-wasting lump. You need to take a step back and seek that secret spark of sewjo more holistically.

Window shopping is often far more relaxing and enjoyable than trekking through stores in search of something specific, and that’s the approach you should take to looking for inspiration. You can literally window shop, if it’s safe in your area. Look at the new season’s fashions and ask yourself: what do I like about these? What don’t I like? And when an outfit catches your eye – on the street, on the television, on Instagram – ask yourself: what are the elements of this that appeal to me? The world is your Pinterest board. Keep looking for what delights you.

Then turn to your roster of projects, old and new, and examine each one, applying your insights. Do they have elements that excite and inspire you? If not, can you alter them in some way so they do? When you’re trying to reconnect with whatever it was that made you love sewing in the first place, make sure you’re creating things that spark joy.

Take A Break 

Sometimes the only way out of a slump is through it. Some part of you is trying to tell the rest of you something and the right thing to do is to step back and listen. Sometimes you’re simply too tired and too busy and you need a break.

This isn’t a bad thing! You shouldn’t expect yourself to be constantly churning out precious pieces. The creative cycle has its fallow periods. When you feel like you’re dormant and barren of ideas and output, you might actually be recharging – growing strong roots just beneath the surface.       

So don’t put pressure on yourself, especially if sewing is your hobby or outlet. It’s supposed to be fun! If you’re not having fun, don’t do it! You can try experimenting with other creative endeavours, like dyeing or embroidery, or you can lie around and watch TV.  

Whatever you do, be kind to yourself, and have faith that when your sewjo returns from the war (and it will) you will be there, refreshed and rejuvenated, waiting with open arms.