I experienced something unusual this weekend. I found myself at home with a lot of free time on both Saturday and Sunday… and I didn’t want to sew.
At one point I actually got my sewing machine out and then instantly put it away again. I just could not be bothered.
I know, right!? This has never happened to me before.
I thought perhaps I might be starting to feel a little depressed. Many people claim that sewing and other stitch based crafts can help their mental health. And there has been a significant amount of research in the last few years on mental health wellbeing and craft.
“The emotional and educational value of stitch based crafts’ was the title of my undergraduate research project in 2010 and, as someone who has been prone to episodes of depression and anxiety since childhood, it is area to which I feel a strong connection.
I know lots of people feel that sewing and other crafts can help them cope with mental illness. With me, one of the warning signs is that I no longer gain enjoyment from the things I normally love, including sewing.
But in this case, thankfully, I don’t think that I am depressed and I don’t even think that I have lost my sewing mojo (I am not calling it a sew-jo, absolutely not!), I think what I am experiencing is complete and utter exhaustion.
I am experiencing burn out and when I feel like this I start questioning myself, my choices and my reasons for doing things. My lack of enthusiasm for sewing at the weekend gave me a chance to step away from everything and ask some questions about my sewing and why it was not, at that particular moment, making me happy.
1. I have a wardrobe full of clothes – why am I making more? It sometimes feels like I am churning out outfit after outfit without giving it much thought.
2. I have loads of patterns that I have never made – why am I constantly buying new releases?
3. I have a sizeable fabric stash – why do I feel the need to scour websites daily looking for fabric bargains.
I decided that I don’t want to be creating a wardrobe of disposable fashion items made of cheap fabrics that are rarely worn and, gulp, thrown away. That’s not how I shop for ready-to -wear garments so it makes little sense that my sewing is like this.
I want to make fewer garments, from better quality fabrics. I want to really take my time on the fit and finish of the garment so that it is perfect in every way. I want to take my time choosing patterns rather than be influenced by latest indie releases that might not suit me. I might even stop using patterns all together and start drafting my own designs – something I have not done since I was in my teens.
So it might mean that I make just a handful of garments in a year and, once I’ve worked through my backlog of posts, you won’t see as many makes on this blog. But that is OK. I’m still going to keep blogging each week (currently every Tuesday, FYI!) with tutorials and sewing related articles. I am a sewing teacher and a trained journalist – I’m sure I could find things to write about sewing every single day!
But for now I am slowing my sewing right down and I feel less exhausted already.