When Your Muse Wanders Off…Indefinitely


To be fair, I probably should have written this a while back. But I’ve been confused and haven’t known what to say so I’ve been putting it off. I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been posting much lately – for a couple of months, in fact. Well, there’s a reason and I’ve been struggling with it.

What does one do when one writes a blog about reproducing historical fashions and one’s sewing muse abruptly just ups and leaves?

That’s what’s happened to me. At first I thought it was just all the kerfuffle from deciding to move and then getting the whole thing organized so all the pieces came together in the right order. Then there was the move itself and a month of pure chaos – half living in one town and half living in another. That was followed by the exhaustion of unpacking (still not finished, by the way) and further sorting. And so passed December, January, February and a good chunk of March.

(original source unknown)

(source unknown)

Now it’s two months later and in that time I’ve not even been able to make myself sew. Which is so very weird because I have loved sewing since I was a kid, just as I’ve been interested historical fashions since even before I started sewing. Then suddenly – poof! What the heck? I have a marvelous sewing space, a small mountain of a stash, a tall filing cabinet full of patterns…and not a single thing moves me.

I got to the point of considering whether I should let this blog go altogether – admit that my urge to sew was gone for good, pull myself together and move on.

But I just couldn’t do it, and for two reasons: 1) because I could not believe that my sewing muse has departed for good and 2) there is a lot of historical sewing I haven’t yet explored and I’m still interested in learning about it.

So, after months and months of pretty much agonizing over what to do, I’ve finally made a few decisions which I hope will entice my muse to return.

First off, I’m dropping out of the Historical Sew Monthly – at least for the time being. I’ll keep the badge and link active on my home page because I think it’s a great idea and support the HSM wholeheartedly. I just don’t want that additional bit of pressure from a deadline right now. Having said that, the Challenge for May (Holes) is finished and I’ll be sharing that with you as soon as it’s been blocked.

I am really drawn to hand sewing at the moment, so perhaps focusing on a couple of small projects to get the wind back in my sewing sails. A friend of mine has A Big Life Event coming up soon and I’d like to make something for her, so perhaps a little something of a historical nature would fit the bill. So my second decision is to work on smaller projects so I can get to the finish line – hoping that garnering a series of successes will help bolster my enthusiasm.

And, with the HSM retired, I can pick what I want to make for myself and do it at my own pace. My third decision: be a little more selfish in choosing what garments to make and start with something casual that won’t be on display…anywhere. I’m interested in having something to wear around the house other than sweats. And I’m interested in the idea of wrappers. And it so happens I have two Laughing Moon patterns for wrappers and the fabric to make them. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll try that – something just for me to be worn just for myself and my pleasure.

Lastly, my fourth decision is that historical sewing needn’t be confined to garments and accessories only. I’m still hand sewing my 1840’s reproduction quilt using historically accurate reproduction fabrics I’ve collected over the years. I used to think that English paper piecing was the definition of mind-melting, repetitive boredom. But now I find it relaxing, almost meditative. And I believe that making home goods counts, so it’s staying in the mix and you’ll be able to watch it grow over time. Here’s the pattern, as made by someone else (I don’t know who) and posted online:

"Grace's Quilt", based on an extant 1840's quilt

“Grace’s Quilt”, based on an extant 1840’s quilt

So that’s where I am. A little of this, a bit of that and, hopefully, great success in luring my muse back home.


18 thoughts on “When Your Muse Wanders Off…Indefinitely

  1. Good luck luring it! I’m a writer and I’ve lost my writing muse many times over the years. It always comes back, even if it takes a while. 🙂

    • Thank you! I never would have guessed my sewing muse would be as tempestuous as my writing muse, but there you have it…seems like everyone’s misbehaving at the same time. But, as you say, my writing muse always returns so I have every reason to believe my sewing muse will, too. (Unless the writing muse is holding her captive. Then I’m in deep trouble.) 😉

  2. Hope your muse makes her way back! I had to do something like this recently when I realized my muse flips me the bird and says “Have fun with that. I’m out.” every time I try to compose more than a page of prose into any form of word processor that isn’t one of my blogs. She’s essentially forced me to keep my main story longhand first and take a page a day for my secondary story in order to get work done. Muses are fickle things.

    • Aren’t they? Horrid temperaments, too. 😉 I also write prose in addition to this blog and I know that feeling of looking at the screen and the only response you get is “Fat chance today, cookie.” 🙂

  3. I’ve Been THERE! You are on the right track by trying new things to keep your creative juices going. Sewing for your own satisfaction rather than a deadline is personally rewarding. I like to work on small project that can be finished in a short period of time. It offers that “Instant Gratification” that we all sometimes need. I hope you continue with your blog because I enjoy it. Best of luck.

  4. I feel you. This happens, it’s happened to me also a life long sewer and most of the prolific women I know. The best thing, I have found is to just leave it alone as you have done. It’s a hobby and an artistic outlet, it should be fun, joyful, etc. I have not joined the HSM because I know the pressure of the deadlines would kill my love of the project. We’ll wait for you to get the mojo back. One of these days you’ll take a fancy to a project and won’t be able to wait to start.

    • Thanks, Veronica. I initially started the HSM (formerly HSF) to help keep me on track and actually get things done. Over time it somehow morphed into my trying to work on the things I wanted to make AND squeezing in HSM projects while still meeting the deadlines. The real kicker for me was when the HSM challenges for this year were announced – for the first time very few of them interested me. Then I was going to be making things just for the sake of the challenge and that’s when it really all blew up for me. So I appreciate everyone’s patience while I await Ms. Muse’s return. 🙂

  5. I completely understand!!! I have gone through this many times and am happy to report my desire to sew has always come back! Of course, it will come back but when it wants to and in what area is best. I have learned to let my creativity lead me to what I want to sew, not the other way around! I completely understand and empathize and wish you all the best! Enjoy this wonderful time for yourself to regroup and refocus!

    • Thank you, Aimee – I definitely will. And I have you to thank for helping me decide to not give up hope! I was catching up on the blogs I follow (I’d gotten seriously behind) when I came across your post on What to Wear in the Morning and it reminded me of how much I want a wrapper, or two, to wear around the house instead of sweats and other tatty stuff. So you’ve helped to keep the fledgling flame alive. 🙂

  6. Phew! I’m so relieved that you’re not throwing in the towel. When the title came up on my reader I selfishly thought about how much I’d miss your blog if you stopped. Sewing Mojos going awol is not unknown, I’m sure yours will turn up when you let him know you aren’t going to chase him. Make what makes you happy, good luck and thanks for putting out so much inspiration.

    • Thanks, Jay. It was a tough decision – my brain kept saying “enough is enough, OK?” but it just wasn’t in my heart to let it go. I have an inkling of something to spark a flame, so who knows? Muse may meet Mojo once again. 🙂

  7. Hugs on losing your muse. I know how that feels – mine decided to come home only recently. I keep looking over my shoulder to see if she’s still hanging around. 😉

    Don’t give up. Your muse will find interest in a fabric or pattern, and you’ll be up and sewing again. 🙂

  8. I feel ya! It’s been the same way around my house, too. Just no will to sew. I call it the Summer Slump. Though, honestly, the feeling has been looming over me since January. The quilt pattern looks beautiful! Perhaps it is just the ticket to get your creative drive going again.

    • Thanks, Liz. Yeah, this quilt has been the one thing that’s held my interest for the past few months and keeps me coming back. So fingers crossed it is indeed the ticket. 🙂

  9. Hmm, then I guess you don’t want to hear about the challenge group I’ve set up on FB for a 1912 jacket from a very new pattern from a fairly new pattern company? No time limit either. Its’ mostly to see and help anyone making it. 😉

    • Thanks, Val, but I think I’ll pass on this one. I don’t have the energy for FB and haven’t for a while. Think I’d best step back while this muse thing settles. But I’m sure I’ll get there, eventually. 😉

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