How Do You Recharge (Creatively)?

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Do you ever feel on the verge of a sewing burnout? I love sewing and making things so much, but sometimes, I just get so busy and overwhelmed that I can’t get my thoughts in order and I just end up losing my groove, you know? I’ve been sewing for myself since adolescence, and working on projects for Sewaholic for over two years (on top of my day job). It gets hectic sometimes, and there is no doubt I thrive during these crazy times. The last couple of months have been especially nuts! Sometimes though, I just need a moment to breathe and regroup.

Recently I’ve been trying to make an effort to really take little breaks and start traditions that force me to take a step back. I thought I would share some of the ways that work for me, because they really work!

balletPlanning fun activities that are non-sewing related works wonders for me. This past fall, Tasia and I had the chance to go to see a ballet show, it was lovely and so fun! I remember we decided to walk home – it was about a half hour walk and we talked about our goals, exciting plans for the next year, and we bounced tons of ideas off each other. I came home feeling refreshed and inspired.

stanley parkSometimes, getting out of the house and moving around is all that I need. I love to go for runs in Stanley park, or go to a yoga class. Exercise plays a big role in my energy and happiness. It’s not always easy to drag myself away from whatever I am doing to go out and work up a sweat, but I never regret it when I do!

bra saturdayLately, we have been setting aside time for selfish sewing. Tasia and I are doing what we call “Bra Saturday”. One Saturday a month, we meet up at Sewaholic HQ and spend the day working on a new bra. We usually meet in the morning and sew well into the evening. We don’t even notice the time! We have been so into lingerie lately, so that’s what we’ve focused on. But we have plans for a quilting day, and just a “sew anything” day this summer. If I didn’t set aside this time, I don’t think I would sit down and sew something for myself for a long period of time like this, so I have enjoyed these days immensely.

photo 1I hate to admit it sometimes, but there is more to life than just sewing, after all. I love reading, gardening, baking, cooking, spending time with my loved ones. When I am feeling like I need a recharge, sometimes it’s as simple as carving out some time to enjoy my other hobbies, and the people in my life.

This might be obvious, but as a perfectionist and a bit of a workaholic, I have found that stepping back and taking a breath really helps me to get my thoughts in order and prioritize my goals. I think it’s so important to do this once in a while!

Do you have any go-to activities or rituals that help you to recharge and regain your sewing/creative mojo? I would love to hear them!

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27 Responses to How Do You Recharge (Creatively)?

  1. LSV May 28, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    All excellent suggestions! I went clothes shopping with my 11 year old daughter over the weekend and seeing different styles, how they could be made, taking pictures in the dressing room – all very creatively inspiring!

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Oh that’s a great idea! As much as sometimes I loathe shopping… If I’m in the mood, it can be super inspiring. Especially because I end up always thinking “I can make this, I SHOULD make this!”. Thanks for the suggestion :)

  2. Natasha May 28, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    I think I pretty much took the last half of april and first half of May off from sewing (and even blogging)…I pretty much had lost my mojo. I blame it on the weather…it gets a little depressing when I want to be sewing clothes for summer, but up North we were hardly out of winter! Then I booked a vacation to Vegas for my friends 30th on June 13…once as that was booked I’ve had no problem making time to sew…I even somehow managed to make a bunch of projects that I could share the tutorials on my blog…I pretty much sewed so much that my kids and hubby forgot what I looked like!
    If only I could book a vacation every time I lost my mojo!

    Natasha ~ TashaDelrae

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Ha! I can totally see how that would give you the push you need to get back into sewing. I really do find that before a trip I almost always sew myself at least one “selfish” thing.

  3. Emmely May 28, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Especially when I’m tired I’ll dive into a book and can really get lost in it.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Oh yes, reading is so rejuvenating. I haven’t read a good book in a looong time. It’s one of those things I just push aside in lieu of other tasks/to do’s. Diving into a book sounds just SO nice right now.

  4. suzied May 28, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    It’s worse when something you’ve been working on goes wrong. It’s best to leave it have a glass of wine or two, then come back to it in the morning. Then chop it up and make it into something else!

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

      So true! Sometimes I get soooo frustrated with something and just want to finish it, and not call I quits. But I never regret putting it down and looking at it with fresh eyes in the morning. Always works!

  5. jan May 28, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Selfish Sewing – it should be the law for those of us who work on sewing for others. Outside of sewing I’ve just learnt to crochet and you’re right about the exercise thing, once you’ve done it it feels great, its just thinking about it thats hard

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      Yes I’ve been thinking about taking up knitting a quilting just to give myself a break from garment sewing. It’s always hardest to face the fact that it’s time to take a step back, but it’s totally worth it, I always feel re-energized afterwards!

  6. Elle May 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    Since sewing IS my creative outlet, I’m usually using it to recharge from other stressful elements of my life! Often, however, if I get bogged down by one type of project (fitting issues with wovens, stupid snarly fabric issues with knits), switching from one type of project to another can be helpful!

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      That’s a good point! For so many, sewing IS the break and recharge.

  7. Claire May 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    As an artist and teacher as well as a sewist I really need to be on top of my game creatively. I find the biggest creativity killer is massive workload and pressure. I usually recharge my batteries at the weekends and school holidays. I’m not beating myself up about failing to blog about my work and just enjoy creating. I try to keep a notebook full of ideas as I can’t possibly create everything I dream up.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      I’ve been meaning to start carrying around a notebook/sketchbook. Great idea. It would be really helpful to get ideas down on paper instead of trying to organize and remember them in my head. Would also help to clear my mind and probably relax me! I’ve got to do this!

  8. Debbie May 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    I use running or swimming to recharge in general. When I am swimming length after length or out pounding the pavement, my mind can mull over any issues that I have (work or sewing!). Sometimes that is as simple as thinking through a sewing technique I am stuck on, or thinking about what to sew next. I think up new ideas to get me out of a rut.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      Great point. I find running does that for me too. :)

  9. Andrea May 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    I have deadlines aplenty at my job, so I try to get away from goals and objectives in my free time. For me, that creates some balance. I do like to finish things, but I like that there are no parameters on what I might take on next. To be honest, I don’t worry about being creative in my sewing, I just want to decompress and have fun.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      Oh I SO wish I could be like that. I am the queen of self imposed deadlines and objectives. I’ve really been meaning to work on that and the way you describe it is so exactly how I want to be with my personal “selfish” sewing. It should be fun! Thanks :)

  10. Jet Set Sewing May 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    I recharge when my husband and son leave the house. But it’s next to impossible to get them out at the same time! If I get lucky and they’re both gone, I either work on a sewing project uninterrupted or just kick back.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

      There’s something about kicking back with no one in the house huh? It totally recharges me and there is zero guilt because no one can see that I’m doing nothing!

  11. susie May 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    I have a lot of sewing books and magazines ( for instance, two 6′ tall bookshelves of books, and Threads mags from the 80’s on), and when I’m in a slump, I recharge by randomly picking 2 or 3 of them to page through. It gets the wheels turning again. Sometimes even the old ads will do it!
    My reading material is as valuable as any sewing tool and I’ve never regretted keeping this collection.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Oh wow, I’m so jealous of your Threads collection! I can totally see how flipping through some books and magazines would get the wheels turning. I should do this more often!

  12. Mitch May 29, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I’ve burned out on sewing before – to the point where I couldn’t even look at my sewing room for months at a time. I make costumes for a dance school and the tight time lines, long hours & repetitive nature did me in – it sucked the joy out of sewing. I still sew for them but I do much less & I veto fabric or patterns if I feel they’re not right for the task or time is too short. I put my foot down this year on 17 piece bell bottom pants – times six! For those who sew for a living, you definitely need to set boundaries to avoid burnout – and be prepared to say “No I can’t/won’t do that”. So, I’ve regained my joy in sewing – I’m working on projects for myself & my family. I also make sure to indulge my other hobbies – gardening, painting and jewelry making.

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

      Yes, saying “no” really takes some doing but I agree that it’s really important. So glad you regained your joy in sewing!

  13. Vicci May 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    I love hearing about your sewing saturday.. today is not saturday but I started making me a pair of pant to wear to my grandson graduation on suday they are coming out pretty nice …I also have been working on a bra…I have not had one in years … :)
    thank you for this time to chat about what I am doing….

    • Caroline Amanda May 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      My pleasure! Good luck with finishing the pants and bra! Lingerie is my absolute favorite thing to make lately.

  14. Miss Crayola Creepy June 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Honestly, if I take a break from sewing for a few days I can’t stop thinking about it and suffer withdrawals haha. If I’m not sewing I am reading, knitting, or walking my pup on the beach :)