• Dressmakers Mannequin with pins in it and a tape measure
    Sewing

    5 Things to do When you Lose Your Sewjo

    When you lose your Sewjo (or your motivation to sew) it can be really upsetting. This wonderful hobby that once brought you so much joy suddenly leaves you feeling meh. On top of that, you also have to deal with feeling guilty for not wanting to sew, as if you were betraying the sewing gods.

    If you’ve been left disconnected from your sewing projects, or can’t find the motivation to start a project you were once so excited about, don’t worry. We have ALL been there.

    So here are my top tips to make it though this tough time and find your sewjo once again.

    How to Find Your Sewjo

    Pins and needles in a pink pin cushion
    Photo by Lisa Woakes on Unsplash

    1. Stop being so hard on yourself

    First of all we need to tackle all those negative thoughts that come to mind when you think about sewing. Loosing your sewjo can be a vicious cycle where you feel bad for not wanting to do something that once made you happy.

    But if at this moment in time you don’t feel like sewing, give yourself permission NOT to sew. Consciously take a break and don’t beat yourself up for it. Our hobbies shouldn’t be a chore. Take some time away to recharge.

    2. Try and identify the cause

    It is so often the case that the reason we feel so down about our hobbies is due to other circumstances in our life. If you’re really stressed at work or are going through a break up, just getting through the days can be tough. Is it any wonder you don’t feel like doing anything other than sleeping and watching Netflix?

    Again go easy on yourself. Know that this tough time will pass and when you start to feel better in other aspects of your life, creativity will return.

    3.  Get organised

    Use your time off from sewing to organise what you already have. This way you might discover patterns you had forgotten you had bought, or fabric that is perfect for that top you wanted to make.

    They say tidy home, tidy mind. Bringing some clarity to your work space or craft room might make you realise just what you love about your hobby. If you find yourself surrounded by fabric you don’t like, give it away, sell it on eBay, get it out of your life. You don’t want it dragging you down. Rediscover special pieces that mean something to you. If you want to go all KonMari keep only the things that spark joy and treat them with the love they deserve.

    Then when your sewjo returns, and it will return, you have a choice of projects that excite you ready to get stuck into.

    4. Find artist that inspire you

    Whenever my sewjo leaves me, I find it really helpful to look at other people’s work. Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube are full of amazing people sharing their work with the world and often I find their enthusiasm infectious.

    I love to follow people with different style to me, and even from different crafts. A few of my favourites are Brittany J Jones on Youtube and Gather What Spills on Instagram. Brittany makes really cool, contemporary clothes and is so passionate about sewing. She really inspires me because she is always so fun to watch.

    Gather What Spills is an account dedicated to visible mending. I love the hand stitched repairs and patches they share as well as the naturally dyed threads. In fact they inspired me to try visible mending for myself. Check out this post where I rescued my bra.

    Branch out a bit and see what other people out there are making.

    5. Try something new

    This is possibly my best tip for you. If you feel like you’ve taken some time out, want to get back into sewing but don’t know where to start, try something completely different.

    Do you always make baby clothes? Why not try making a bag instead? Never made a quilt? Give it a go. Fed up of sewing? Why not learn how to knit?

    Being a beginner at something is really refreshing as there are no expectations and no pressure. If it doesn’t work out, or you didn’t enjoy it, oh well! You were trying something new. Experiment with new techniques and skills and give yourself permission to just play around. You might discover your sewing takes on a whole different direction.

    And that’s it! I hope this post helps you find your sewjo once again. If you’re looking for inspiration why not follow me on Pinterest? I pin a wide range of things so hopefully you will find something that inspires you.

    All the best,

    Claude x

    Dressmaking dummy
  • Sewing,  Vintage

    I Made a … 1930s Inspired Dress

    Time to catch up with Retro Claude. Blogging has taken a back seat to working in the past few weeks. But I thought I would catch you up with all the things I have been making, starting with this 1930s inspired dress.

    I made it to wear to the What Katie Did summer social. If you aren’t familiar with What Katie Did they make excellent vintage reproduction underwear and stockings. Every year, they host a little party to launch their new collection and I was lucky enough to be invited!

  • Sewing

    PSB – Challenge No. 3 – Abstract Embroidery Art

    Abstract Embroidery Art - Retro ClaudeAbstract Embroidery Art - Retro Claude

    And now for my final Petersfield Sewing Bee challenge. I put an abstract twist on this challenge and came up with my abstract embroidery art.

    The focus for this challenge was embroidery, inspired by the embroidery therapy that was offered to many soldiers across the world after WW1. Surprisingly ahead of its time, embroidery therapy tapped into the therapeutic nature of lots of handicrafts and helped soldiers deal with their psychological trauma.

    For this challenge we were provided with 1 metre of linen. We could use as much or as little as we liked and we could do any kind of embroidery that took our fancy.

  • Costume

    Commissions Commissions – Edwardian Lady’s Maid

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    I am so pleased that I am able to share with you another historical commission, this time for a Lady’s Maid from 1901. Most of my commissions start with a photograph or reference picture sent to me by the client. We then usually have a conversation which goes, like this but with short sleeves and in black, or something like this but not so fancy. I then do some research of my own, looking for historical references that I can base my designs off (this is why my costumes Pinerest board suddenly has a lot of servants on it). I then finalise my designs and send it back to the customer for approval before I get to work.

  • Uncategorized

    The Petersfield Sewing Bee

    This summer, the town where my parents live is hosting their own ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ style competition. If you haven’t seen the Sewing Bee, it is basically the Bake Off but for sewing. One of the plus sides to my convalescence in the countryside is my new found abundance of free time. And for me free time means sewing. So I’ve decided to enter.

    If you still have no idea what I’m on about the idea is quite simple; contestants complete 3 different sewing related tasks, each designed to test a different area of dressmaking knowledge. And this premise has formed the basis for my local sewing shop’s competition.