Getting my sewing mojo back

I’m tired of not sewing!

Last autumn, I had so much going on with knitting projects that I sewed very little. And then came the house buying, and the moving, and, well, my sewing machine has been pretty lonely. I kept saying I’d start sewing again once I got my basement craft area going, but that hasn’t really happened yet. It’s been bothering me that I haven’t sewn in months, especially since I had hoped last year I’d really step up my sewing pace. Well, there’s always next year… err, of course we’re 4 months into that. 😉 I finally decided I’ll just set myself up to sew wherever I can until I have my dedicated space.

The first step was to find my last vintage sewing project in process. I started this back in September. It’s view 3 from Simplicity 4608, though short-sleeved.

Let me tell you, if you’ve never picked up a sewing project that you started months ago, it is hard. I haven’t even started back in on it, but it’s pretty intimidating. I have no notes on this, only where I left off. The tucks are complete, as are the French seams for the shoulder front and back.

And sorry, it may be awhile before I get lighting figured out for basement photos! Our house is proving to not have very good natural light for photos and I need to do some research to work around that. Otherwise outfit photos in winter will be outside standing in the snow, ha ha.

Here’s the back view. This fits very poorly around the neck of my dress form, but rest assured when draped on my own body it’s fine. (I probably need to adjust the dials a bit.) The back horizontal shoulder seam was gathered, too. I recall I tested out the French seams with gathers and this fabric before doing it on my pattern pieces as I didn’t think it would work out, but it did and I’m quite pleased.

(Of course, it looks a lot better ironed, but this was fresh out of the bag I had it stored in.)

Along with the sleeve and collar pieces cut out and pinned to their respective pattern pieces, that’s it. I have no notes. I have no idea what I was planning to use as interfacing for the collar pieces. I don’t have any white silk organza (why do I keep forgetting to order this!), so I suspect I was planning to use another layer of the fashion fabric since it’s quite lightweight, or perhaps sew-in interfacing. I remember now that I still hadn’t decided how to finish the inside of the sleeve cap and I was nervous about finishing the collar with such a sheer fabric. I guess I need to just dive back in! Although that’s a bit easier said than done when you’re already a rather timid sewist.

To try and get my sewing mojo going again, I also opened up my packed sewing patterns box. This is how my vintage patterns have lived since we started packing at the end of December. Lots fit in here, but it did really show me that my pattern stash is woefully small. No wonder I always look through and have a hard time deciding what I’d like to sew!

Isn’t it fun when you get to unpack something of yours that you really, really like? It was kind of like Christmas. There were patterns I’d only recently bought before packing, so I didn’t even remember I had them. What fun!

I had a helper, too. I swear you can’t open a box in our house without Dinah diving in.

So here’s a little sewing inspiration for you, from a few vintage patterns.

I really like this blouse pattern, it’s very simple. (Did you catch the great shaped waistband on the skirt on the right, too?) I could see making view 2 in any number of solids, or using the collar-less view 1 to show off great prints. While the pattern didn’t say, I’m thinking this needs something very lightweight and drapey, like a cotton lawn, or perhaps rayon? I think the only closure is one button at the back of the neck.

How about the dress below? I wouldn’t wear the collar up, but isn’t it smashing? I love the sleeves, too, and the piping accent on the solid version. If only I could find more light cottons in prints like that floral… oh, how I wish I could browse in a vintage sewing shop!

And last but not least, a blouse pattern that was new to my collection when it got packed. I just love all the views of this Hollywood pattern! Which is your favorite?

If you’ve gone through periods where you haven’t done any sewing or your projects aren’t working out for you, how have you been able to get your sewing mojo back?? I really need to step up my sewing!

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Golly, 32 Comments!

  • I love the first blouse, the sleeve detail is so pretty.

    One of our cats is the same – she cannot resist sitting in any available cardboard box, then sits there looking very serious 🙂

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  • Love your vintage kitchen table 😉 So glad you got your mojo back…moving usually puts everything on hold. I had not sewn in a very long time and what got me back was finding an unfinished 1940s dress in a back of stuff from yard sale that she was going to send to the Goodwill, although I did buy her eight boxes of vintage patterns. The dress was cut out and ready to be stitched, I couldn’t resist. since then I have made several outfits just for the pleasure of creating and sewing (pictures are on my blog). So speaking of sewing I have a project waiting now to be cut out.

    And, I like view 4 blouse in the last picture.

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  • My cats do the same with boxes and bags, but they prefer boxes.

    When I’m picking up a project again after a couple of months I do that gradually. I put the project on a dress without doing anything with it. While I’m sewing other projects I will look at it and study it a little. After some time I know how to start again. I get really excited about it and just pick it up and finish it.

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  • I totally admire your sewing ability! I knit, but sewing isn’t something I’ve tackled yet. Also, just wanted to pop in and tell you I started following your blog several months ago, and love it! Your home and family are adorable, and your cat reminds me so much of mine. She’s a cranky tortoiseshell that I call my paint-by-number cat, because the splotches on her face look perfectly placed, painted in. Just like Dinah!

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    • Thanks so much, Amanda! And that’s so cute you call your kitty a paint-by-number cat, Dinah (and particularly her nose) definitely fits right into that.

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  • Spring always makes me want to sew more. And there is something about all those colorful old illustrations on patterns that is so cheerful and optimistic. I’ve been sewing quite a bit lately, but haven’t been able to get myself back into the habit of blogging about it. Plus, I’m also in kind of a pattern rut, making the same three dresses over and over again. Of course, when we moved I got rid of a bunch of dresses I had made that didn’t quite turn out right, so I feel justified in replacing that stash. But really, I think I need to branch out. I have a blouse and skirt pattern that I’ve been itching to make for weeks now.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished blouse! It looks very flattering.

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    • You may be waiting awhile, I sat back down and it almost brought me to tears or to throw it out the window. Ugh.

      I actually need to get INTO a pattern rut, I think. It’s great that you have a few staples you know you can rely on, because you can probably have more fun with fabric and the sewing process that way. I get too bogged down and then just can’t finish anything because I’m so frustrated with it all. The only thing I really was super happy with last year was a dress I sewed in the summer… maybe I will return to that pattern and make another!

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    • I sympathize. If I don’t finish something in a weekend (or maybe two weekends) I know I’ll never finish it. There is something about it taking longer than a few days that will just make me feel defeated. As long as I can get about 80% there on construction, I’m ok to wait. Some buttons, hemming, etc. Ok. Entire sections waiting on me will make me throw in the towel. I guess the downside is that I seldom take on really complicated and elaborate projects becasue of this, but the upside is I have a closet full of dresses I wear. The same 4-5 dresses. 🙂

      But this is also a result of finding out what looks good on me and sticking to it. I’ve made quite a few dresses that I abandoned after a few wearings because I realized that while they may look great on the pattern envelope, on me they look frumpy or severe. For better or worse, I will probably never again make a dress that doesn’t have a 6-gore a-line skirt. That’s kind of sad and limiting, but it also means I will always like what I make.

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  • I spend time “prepping” and getting my sewing area ready. Then I’ll do something quick and easy to remind myself that I DO still know how to use a sewing machine!
    Px

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  • Your so lucky to be able to sew, I would be making outfits like crazy if I had your talent.

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  • Wow you have some great patterns in your stash! (And I’m loving your kitchen table and chair set, too!), I’m only just starting out with my sewing adventures, but already have 2 fully completed dresses and a skirt to show, with another dress, and a Hawaiian skirt and top set cut out and ready to go! Maybe choose some fabric you really love to inspire you for your next creation 🙂

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    • This is a great suggestion, there is nothing to love about white boring fabric (though I definitely need more white blouses). Maybe I’ll do a little fabric window shopping online for inspiration.

      Sounds like you’re really doing awesome with the sewing, congrats!

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  • Sewing, knitting…I’m with you…I have had lots of distractions for the past year or more. Although my Briar Rose is completely knit, I have yet to sew it together. I have just sewed my first garment in close to a year. It was painful. I just cut out another dress today. Maybe we can cheer each other on. GO TASHA!!!

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    • I’m all for rooting each other on, I need it for sure! You’re such a talented sewist, I’m sure you’ll be plowing through patterns again in a snap!

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  • How Tasha got her groove back! That juiced me up seriously too, because that throwaway comment about the waistband shaping on the skirt in the first pattern illustration reminded me that I have a skirt pattern with a similar waistband sitting around somewhere, and has managed to plunge me back into my patternbox. Thank you for the push!

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  • The same kitteh + box = instant BBFs effect occurs at my house, too 🙂

    Love your collection of vintage sewing patterns, thank you for sharing some of them with us. While (lacking a sewing machine) I don’t sew at the moment myself, I can completely relate to feeling like you need to get your crafting mojo back in the wake of your recent move. In some regards I feel the same way when it comes to my paper crafting, and hope that once my craft room is finally completed (in the basement), I’ll be able to dive back into creating again after being on hiatus from much of this year so far.

    Wishing you a terrific Tuesday,
    ♥ Jessica

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  • what a lovely collection of patterns you have ! I think ladies back in those days were all a lot thinner then now. I love the vintage style, but unfortunately it doesn’t fit me. Those colours are great too. And, yes, I think there is something very appealing about boxes and cats. Mine are both soo happy when I come home from shopping, with 2 new cardboard boxes for them to play in.

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  • My sewing mojo has run off with yours I think. I bought a new sewing machine a little while ago and it’s still in the box!!! My mother scolded me about that the last time she visited I can tell you but I really seem to have lost my sewing oomph, I can’t seem to get any enthusiasm up. I’m looking at all your replies here for inspiration!

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  • Oh how wonderful – a cat in a box! ha ha! it is like a scene from my own house! Except I do not have a box full of wonderful patterns or your apparent ability to sew 🙂

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  • Interested to hear how you get on with the light issue. I lived in a ranch-style house in Austin and never worked it out!

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  • Those pattern are lovely and your little helper completely adorable!

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  • Lovely patterns- and we love your helper 😉

    As to getting the mojo back… I step back. I make something different… like for DD. then I buy a new pattern and make it 😉

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  • Hi there
    I am also getting my mojo back too. I also moved (although 2 years ago now), then I was painting and renovating and making curtains etc. I have just got back into it and am finding everyone’s blogs really inspiring (and have even just started my own). Plus I love the idea of doing challenges – I really want to do some of the ones on Sew Weekly (1940s for a start). I have re-organised my workspace to an area I am happy with and now find I have sewing on the brain all the time! Happy sewing!!
    PS – love the kitty 🙂

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  • Oh how lovely patterns, especially that dress. Love that type of model. Sometimes it’s hard to get the mojo back, I know the feeling. At least in the beginning. But sometimes that I take up something that I left halfinished it turns out just right. When its almost ready and somehow it isn’t difficult anymore and It just goes really fast and then it’s ready and it feels like you got something to wear in a “jiffy”. It has happend at least twice, haha, so I hope it will happen again. Rather that than picking up something that still is as hard as when I left it. 🙂

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  • Tasha!!! Sooooo jealous of your kitchen table and chairs AND your pattern collection! Just curious – what is the story behind the table? I would love to hear it.

    Honestly, the comments to this post are probably going to help you get your mojo back! I have found that every time I think I am either at the end of my rope or too apathetic to continue, someone sends me an email or leaves a comment and I am off again. I can wait to see what you make next! 🙂

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  • There is something about the cats and boxes. Our cat does the same. And I love your vintage pattern stash. Even though I’m seamstress by profession, my stash is way smaller than yours 😀 Funny enough I just recently started collecting them, even though I have been vintage lover for much longer.
    Just when I graduated from Vocational school of arts and crafts there was about a on whole year when I could not do any sewing. The school and especially the last year before graduating sort of took the joy of sewing off of me. I also got serious burnout at that time. But bit by bit, when time passed and I got better, I started feeling that I want to sew again. That was ten years ago. Now I sew for work, and still try to have time to make something for myself every now and then. But sometimes when you do that every day it seems that after working hours you don’t really feel like sewing anymore for yourself. But I do. This time my unfinished stash includes 20’s dress for Sew Cinematic Challenge and silk slip for summer to be worn under dresses.

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    • I can’t blame you for not wanting to sew for yourself sometimes! It’s really difficult when you do something professionally to want to do it in your personal life. I have definitely gone through that.

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  • Siiigghhh, this happens to me more often than I’d like to confess. I have the attention span of a gnat 😉

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  • I’ve had a lot of “not sewing” time this year (although I had two big projects in March/April–but those were special occasion dresses!). Between moving right before the holidays and then a troublesome puppy, I’m lucky if I get a few hours a week to sew. And somehow I keep getting stuck just tracing and grading patterns–never sewing! That’s how it always works with me when I have little sewing time. Gah!

    Although the other day I decided enough was enough! I was tired of not giving myself permission to take the time to sew daily (even if just for 30 minutes). It helps keep me sane, I’m convinced. 😉 The first project I cut out is looking like a bit of a bomb (fabric issues; I’m using a vintage, thrifted silk, which is part of the problem I think), so I set that one aside and decided to make something I’m *really* excited about. For me, that’s usually how I get my sewing mojo back; sewing something that really excites me (even if it means putting aside another project or two that I “should” do!) and the thought of having something that I can’t wait to wear spurs me on to sew. Hopefully this new garment will work out and I’ll have some Actual. Real. Live. Sewing! to show! lol.

    Also: despite what you say about your stash being small (trust me: there is nothing wrong with a smaller, well curated stash! Sometimes I think I have a pattern addition and it will soon start taking over the house. haha!), you have some lovely patterns! I especially like that Advance dress–so classic!

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    • Thanks for the inspiration, Casey! I’ve been thinking all day about what you said about taking time each day to sew. I think this is really something I need to institute. 15-30 minutes each day to do something sewing-related (as it happened all it was yesterday was pinning sleeves into armholes, but it’s still forward progress, lol). When I don’t sew for long stretches at a time I find that not only am I more frustrated when I get back into it, but I’ve forgotten things I used to know! I just haven’t been doing it long enough for me to keep all of that in my head. So then I get slowed down by having to look at resources for things I once knew how to do, second guessing myself, etc. And then I wonder if I really like sewing at all, because I’m so cranky about it! 😉

      When I picked back up the above-referenced blouse it really was kind of a disaster, so I put it aside to start a dress I’m much more excited about (a 40s summer dress). I’m much happier and it’s reminding me I really -do- like to sew!

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