The Annual 2019 Sewing Slump - My Tips for Self-Care in Sewing

Feb 14, 2019 4 comments
The Letter, Pietro Longhi, 1746

It's that time of year! It seems right about this time, on an annual basis, I go into a dreadful sewing slump. I'm not motivated to even peek into my [utter disaster of a] sewing room, let alone drape or cut or stitch on anything. Even the simplest projects are gargantuan and better left untouched for more motivated days.

Do you ever feel this way?

Usually this slump bothers me, but this year I'm trying to give myself a break. We're moving house in just a couple weeks and I don't want to start anything new only to pack it all in and then feel stressed for not working on it while everything is in upheaval.

This leads me to think about self-care when it comes to sewing....or giving yourself permission to NOT do what usually brings peace, creativity, release, or relaxation.

The Seamstress, Jean-Francois Millet, 1853
It may seem crazy to feel stress around something that normally lowers the stress level, but in creative pursuits, especially when tied to social media in some way, it can feel like you're falling behind or "not performing" when you stop to take a breather.

The catch-22 is that you need to rest to be creative, even when creativity gives you a rest. The most important thing is to avoid performance pressure when creating. I believe all artists, no matter the medium, go through this. Have you ever heard that little voice in your head that says your work isn't good enough, that you've done that technique wrong, and you're a failure? It's crippling!

Let's all collectively give ourselves permission to leave the thread spools where they've fallen and close the door on it all for a little while.

Sewing Apprentic, Anne Claude Phillipe de Tubieres, 1737

It may also help to try something new and totally different for a short time too. What is stimulating and exciting your creative brain right now? For me (and I know at least two other historical costumers like this too), I love zippy cars, racing, and going to car meets. It's totally and completely removed from historical costuming, and it's a great way to take a break and recharge. Perhaps you're into horseback riding, surfing, hiking and camping, travel, aerospace engineering, biology, you name it. Pursue those other interests and recharge your dressmaking batteries.

When the time is right, you'll be overjoyed and excited at the prospect of a new historical costume, and the stitches will flow freely from your eager fingers.

So rest, relax, and try to embrace the slump. You'll be back at sewing in no time. <3


  1. It has a name...SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder. I first noticed it in myself in junior high. 3rd quarter my grades would drop a letter to rebound in the 4th quarter. Being 'shut in' during the snowy months just made me a little crazy. I had plenty of things/projects to work on but I just couldn't bring myself to work on them. All was well when the greenry returned to my world and I could walk in the garden. We'll all enjoy your return after a short break. :)

  2. Losing the sewing mojo is a permanent winter problem for me. I suffer from chronic depression which often cripples the sewing instinct and is badly affected by the lack of sunshine. I find that a SAD light helps, as well as having flowers around the house, and being patient and gentle with yourself. I also do tiny sewing tasks without berating myself for not doing more. Then one day, the desire to sew comes back and all is well.

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