Getting your Sew-Jo Back!

Thanks for joining me during Sam Hunter’s Design Studio Back-To-School blog hop! Because you are here that tells me you could use a little boost to your summer sewing routine. I know for me with small kids at home for the summer sewing can go to the back burner when you have play dates, library trips and the general mayhem of kids.all.the.time! And even if you are not in the season of kids summer is a reason to be outside, go on vacation, change up our spring and winter routines of being in side and in the sewing room.

Well don’t fret because I am here with a few tips to help you take back your creative time and get back into the sewing groove I know you so desperately need to keep your sanity! Because that’s why I sew, for me time and to recharge my creative energies that help to fuel the rest of my life.

I also love to inspire others to create, it’s my happy place. That is why when Sam asked me to join in the idea of sharing ways to get those creative juices flowing jumped into my mind. So next time you feel that slump in your sewjo coming on get in front of that feeling with these tips to keep your creative juices flowing. Enjoy!

  1. Take a class. Online classes at a site like or make it easy to learn a new skill from the comfort of your computer screen. Super easy to join with an email address and search the internet for an introductory offer to get started. Another great way to learn is in person at your LQS (local quilt shop). Not only is your LQS a treasure trove of supplies & fabric but it holds deep knowledge from the people who run the store. Added bonus of taking a class in person is you get to meet other quilters and quilt friends are the best friends.
  2. Service your machine. If you can’t remember the last time you took your sewing machine in for service or when you opened up the bobbin holder and did it yourself then it’s probably time. If you haven’t done it yourself I encourage you to try; it’s pretty easy! Start with a YouTube search for your machine model and how to clean, there are a bunch of lovely people waiting to show you how. And while you are at it it’s always a good idea to change your needle. Like right now, go change it.
  3. Try something new. Find a new technique for making flying geese or half-square triangles. Try out that quilt pattern that has always intimated you by starting out with with just one block. That new thing doesn’t have to be complex or time consuming but scratching that ‘what-if’ itch always feels fresh and inspiring. Stretching your creative wings always leads to good places!
  4. Take a slice of inspiration from your favorite designer or Instagram account. Full on copy cat action is allowed for your own fun! Let the derivatives fly! Choose a color palate based on your favorite designer fabric line. Loved that project your IG crush just started, start one too! Nothing is off limits when it’s your time to create – follow that inspiration and see where it takes you.
  5. Just start with 15 minutes. Set a timer (I do this on my Iphone all the time, Siri, set a timer for 15 minutes) and just play around. Maybe tackle that WIP first and then see how you feel, or just create a fun fabric combination for no reason at all. Simply be in your creative space and make the time for yourself. I bet after 15 minutes you will want to keep going and if not no big deal either. Create for the fun of it and like I tell my 7-year old; “If it’s not fun then stop playing the game”.
  6. Get your friends involved. Friends may mean your kids, your neighbor, guild friends, maybe even your partner is willing to get in on the fabric fun. Grab another human and play in your space! Show them your favorite quilting book, ask them what their favorite colors are, tell them about your dream project. Talking about your passion with someone you care about is sure to get those wheels turning – just make sure it isn’t that debby downer of a friend who poo-poos all your best and craziest ideas!
  7. Buy the fabric. Don’t even go on a guilt trip about it, just buy it. I know there is a least one thing you can think of that you have been wanting! Maybe it’s not even fabric – perhaps a new pattern or quilt book. I say if you can afford it then go for it.
  8. Give it away. On the opposite side of buy is sell. Are you ready for a destash? Is there a fabric pile that does not inspire you anymore? What about the WIP that is giving you the sideways look? Let it go! Give away or sell your unwanted fabrics. (on IG #thegreatfabricdestash is a good place to sell modern fabrics and there is always EBAY) At my local guild we have a free table where quilters bring in their unwanted fabrics, books and notions, does your guild have one? Donating to a charity, local school art class or a friend who wants to learn are great ways to spread around the fabric love and make room for what’s next.
  9. Clean it up. Is your creative space in chaos? I love to take a break from the creating and hit the reset button for the next project by cleaning up my sewing room. Organizing fabric, dusting off the shelves and putting away all the rulers, books and notions that tumbled out during a whirlwind of sewing always gets me back in a mood to start something new.
  10. Be easy with yourself. Did you get through this whole list and still say ‘blarg’. If that is you then make a cup of tea, coffee or a stiff drink and say ‘no problem’. Don’t worry about it! Close the door and go for a walk. Take the kids to the park. Call a friend and have a long chit-chat. Sewing & quilting time is our time for relaxation, meditation and creative expression it is not another reason to beat ourselves up. If you are not feeling it then get as far away from it as is comfortable until the mood strikes. And when it does watch out and remember no running with sharp scissors.

My last tip is more of a frame of mind; create for you without apology. Be as uniquely you as you can be. Leave all the inner and outer critics out of it and go with what you like. Stop comparing yourself to anyone or anything else (hello, Pinterest I’m talking to you!). Make something and enjoy it for you; not for IG – not for likes, not for comments but solely for you! In the incredible age of social media and all the information right at your fingertips sometimes it is fun to be your own cheer leader. Make it for you and then write a love letter to yourself about your project! Now how’s that for SewJo!