The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Sewist and Inspiration

I think a lot of folks are a little put off or maybe just not accustomed to the word sewists.  It even sometimes becomes controversial.

For me, it’s easy – sew + artist = sewist!

Another great word is makers from England and the Great British Sewing Bee (you have seen this haven’t you?….if not rush right over to YouTube and watch it before it’s gone).  They’re having another next year – more episodes and longer.

But this is also a descriptive word (makers).  There’s a whole exhibit at the V & A (Victoria and Albert museum which is devoted to craftsmen inspiration – it’s a wonderful resource for inspiration and ideas on line – but if you’re in London – it’s a must!  I put it up with British Museum, Tate, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s – for a creative person, you MUST see the museum.)  It pretty much encompasses about any sort of creative endeavor, writer, composer, visual artist, performance artist, etc., but it’s also a good descriptive word, without the double entendre of sewer!! 😉

So for those of us who express our creativity and our individuality through sewing (and that includes all of you out there), I prefer the word sewists as this word seems to bring sewing out of the back dark sewing room and into the living room – thank heavens.

This month in my newsletter I’m possessed with inspiration and where it comes from and how you get it…..more basically what happens when you don’t have it and how to get it back.  Because sewing is so new to the light (remember it’s been in the back room for almost 50 years), it’s hard to find inspiration and impetus to sew.  After all if you were in the back room, I’m sure the glare of light would be a bit much too.

So I wanted to illuminate and OK, let’s be honest, build a fire under people to get their sewing mojo in order!  For me, I find inspiration everywhere – I’m just that way.  If I’m not creative for a certain period of time, I get testy, short, problematic, and basically not a nice person to be around.  It’s not that I’m all in fits, it’s more that I’m tied in knots – not angry, but disagreeable, and finally I break down and create something, and then I’m so much better!  Whew!!!  Makes me antsy just to talk about it!

There are lots of ways professionals do this and I mention all those in my newsletter, but there are some other shortcuts that help too.

Let’s face it though.  The cure all and final solution for this is to be creative about the search for the solution – which means working on a bunch of them before you find one that works.

[private]In my newsletter I mention a lot, but here are some sort ones that work really well for me.

  1. Music – Between Beethoven and Tchaikovsky (he’s actually very Romantic!!!) and Mozart, I can get out of the doldrums really fast.  Maybe that’s Guns & Roses for you, but music has a way of reaching
  2. Tapping –  Yes this sounds like something from la-la-land, and probably is, but it can help jump start you right into a fun, enjoyable and satisfying project.  I usually start with something like, “I just can’t seem to get going on a worth while project.  I wish I could do something creative and productive and satisfying.  I want to do something creative, productive and satisfying.  Where is that creative productive and satisfying project hiding…..” and work through like that.
  3. Brainwave entrainment – Another one of those woo-woo techniques that sounds very “out there”.  There’s a lot of choices out there, but when I’m needing to be really creative, or relaxed or just calm, this is a wonderful, drug free technique to use.
  4. Down Time – I know I mentioned this in the newsletter, but you MUST have down time.  Your body needs sleep;  your mind needs rest, and this works for the creative side too.  All professionals  know this and either schedule it in or have down time to just recharge.
  5. Organization – A messy studio may promote creativity, but only for a short time.  At least neaten it up, if you can’t clean it all up.  This way you don’t have 50 projects calling out for your attention and get side-tracked or bowled-over by the peripheral material and projects around your work place, or studio space.
  6. Finally – Just Do It – as corny as it sounds sometimes it just takes, pulling out the pattern and by rote drill going through the steps, cutting it out, making alterations to the pattern, cutting it out, tissue fitting, then cutting fabric, and putting it together.  Don’t ask me why, but that cutting it out part is often the hardest part.  Maybe it’s cause it’s the final decision on this piece of fabric – who knows, but just know that even for professionals when they are doing work for themselves, this is a hump of a step!
  7. Enjoy the process – this means you have time and space to work and you’re not stressed, so don’t kill yourself trying to do this – it’s supposed to be fun, so schedule in the time and space to do it!

Here are some other fun little ideas from artists’ sites and sources:

*  Visit an art museum alone; give yourself one or two hours to slowly browse your favorite sections, and visit the areas that include your less-than-favorite pieces. You never know what might strike a chord.

This is really a great idea – and you can translate this to sewing easily by going to places that are like museum quality garments….like Barney’s New York, Bergdorf’s, Neiman Marcus – all of these have upscale clothing.  Also don’t forget – it is a virtual encyclopedia of fashion although it can be a bit much there’s so much to choose from, it’s a great place to start.  Another fabulous source is to just watch what is worn on the streets – particularly in huge metro areas.

*  Watch a documentary about an artist or specific fine art genre.

YouTube can even be a source here, by search for fashion or even particular fashion schools, FIT, Parsons, LA School of Design, all those things to see what’s grabbing the younger generation.  Now this is going to be really off-the-wall, so prepare yourself, but it can also bring up some really fun ideas.

*  Grab a cup of coffee and reserve 20 or 30 minutes to browse through the visual books and magazines on your bookshelf. The coffee and time are integral because it’s important to stay focused while digging for imagery that will inspire you.

Good point here – stay focused, and remember there is an ebb and flow to the natural order of life (that includes your body and your mind), so if you don’t effuse creative ideas 24/7, that just means you’re normal!!!

*  Talk to someone. Find a friend, or better yet, a stranger, to discuss ideas with. This is often how new concepts are born.

[private]If you have a group locally you belong to, that’s great.  And I ADORE hearing your ideas and sharing thoughts with my students.  As subscribers, I love hearing about your success and your problems.  That’s what I’m hear for![/private]

And finally for some more food for thought!

Two Minutes With TGD: Are You Creatively Satisfied? from The Great Discontent on Vimeo.


Sign off is a little different with my usually encouragement, and then my contact info!





1 Comment
  1. This was a very inspiring post and I appreciate so much your bits of insight on the creative process. It is very true that one can not be pegged to the creative side always. Keeping a journal for ideas, bits and inspirations is very useful. I am finding that more inspirations are coming to me now that I got this more organized. Now all I need is a bigger workspace and a machine that will sew knits! 😉 YOU INSPIRE ME! Thanks for all your hard work here! I value you!

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