"I've lost my sewjo"
It happens. Every single one of us has lost our sewjo at some point, or will do at some point in the future. You may even be struggling with a creative block right now as you read this. And that's okay.
Creative blocks can happen for so many reasons. You maybe have just come out of a period of time where you've been creating non-stop, or working on commissions, or preparing for craft markets, and you are feeling drained - you feel like you've used up all your creative energy.
Perhaps there are things happening in your life, away from your sewing table, that make it a challenge to find the time or energy to create. We've noticed this appears to have been the case for quite a number of you over the past 18 months, and that's understandable. With everything else that needs to be considered during this pandemic, finding space to create can be a challenge.
The creative block might even stem from a lack of confidence, from self-doubt, from a need for perfection, or from anxiety. Some of our groups see dozens or even hundreds of finished bags shared each day, and it's so very easy to look at the photos and think, "I could never do that."
So what can you do about it?
Before doing anything else please be kind to yourself! Then, have a little read of our suggestions on how to reboot your bagmaking creativity.
1 - Give yourself a break
If you're feeling burned out, take a step back from your sewing table and do something else for a while. Take a walk, have a chat with the people you love, treat yourself with something. Get out of your head and give your brain a break. Remember: you can't force creativity.
2 - Remind yourself what it is you love about bagmaking
Why did you start sewing bags in the first place? What was it about bagmaking that kept you going?
3 - See what other bagineers, fabric designers, or sewing suppliers are up to
Inspiration can sometimes be found in the things that others are up to, whether it's an idea for a new project, a fabric you've not seen before, or an interesting way to use hardware.
Why not have a look at what people are up to on our Facebook groups?
- Click here for Sewing Patterns by Mrs H,
- Click here for Swoon Patterns,
- Click here for the Bag of the Month Club,
Or, how about having a browse through hashtags on Facebook or Instagram?
- Click here for #SewingPatternsByMrsH,
- Click here for #SwoonPatterns,
- Click here for #BagOfTheMonthClub
Did you know that you can save or bookmark posts on Facebook and Instagram? On Facebook, click the three dots at the top right of the post then click Save Post. On Instagram, you'll find the bookmark icon underneath the photo or video to the right. You can even sort your bookmarks into folders on both platforms, so as to make it easier to come back and find things you've saved later.
And, many fabric designers or sewing supplies stores have blogs or video channels with suggestions on how to use their products, or for different things that you could try. Perhaps one of these may spark an idea for you?
Do you have a hard time with technology sometimes? We know many of our bagineers aren't quite as fond of digital media as we are. If this is you, keep a notebook to hand and then you can jot down ideas or thoughts as you browse.
4 - Combine the familiar with the new
Do you have a favourite sewing pattern that you've made time and again? Or, perhaps you made a particular bag design once a while back and have been thinking about sewing it again? Why not challenge yourself and try something new with your favourite or familiar design?
You could use patchwork with the Fiesta Tote. Experiment with the different stitch types on your sewing machine. Embellish your sew with applique, embroidery, or lots and lots of rivets! ("If in doubt, stick a rivet in it!") Or, make and use your own piping!
5 - Challenge yourself
I have no doubt you knew this one was coming! Step out of your comfort zone and try something entirely new. Try a new pattern or a new fabric or a different way of doing things.
You may prefer not to use your best fabric here because, with this one, the new challenge may result in a wobbly stitch or two. It may not. But, if it does result in a wobble, please be kind to yourself. The goal here isn't perfection; it's to help you to start creating again, to break down that creative block.
6 - Sew something, anything
Sometimes just starting to sew something can help us break out of a creative rut.
To help you to try something new, to find your creative inspiration, we've a special discount code here at Sewing Patterns by Mrs H and over on the Swoon Patterns website. Take 20% off your basket at checkout on both websites using the code CELEBRATECREATIVITY until the end of June 19th (excludes The Cwtsh Bag charity sewing pattern).
Or, why not use one of our free patterns - here at Mrs H, or over at Swoon?
7 - Talk about it
Last on our list, but probably one of the most important, please know that it is okay to talk about this. It's totally normal to lose your sewjo, to feel stuck or frustrated, or to feel unable to create, and these feelings do not make you any less of a bagineer. You are an amazing bagmaker, who just happens to have hit a block.
Please don't be afraid to talk about it. You could post in one of our Facebook groups, talk to your local sewing group, or send us a message. The bagmaking community is, for the most part, a wonderful and supportive place. We feel honoured to provide support to the community, to offer advice when you want it, or just to listen to what you have to say if you don't need advice. And, most importantly, to cheer you on along each step of your bagmaking journey.
If these ideas don't work for you today, that's okay too. You can always try again tomorrow or another day. The most important thing, always, is that you're having fun with your bagmaking.
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