Zero Waste Home Sewing [an experiment]

If you get our weekly newsletter or follow me on Instagram you will have noticed a very definite ‘Zero Waste’ trend this last week.

It all started last week when I first saw a video from Zero Waste Fashion label Tonle.

This is their Kickstarter Video


I just loved this concept and couldn’t help but wonder if it was possible to achieve the same zero waste outcomes in a home sewing setting. It is reported that home sewing generally produces around 30% waste – surely I could do better than that?? So this week I gave it a go.

First thing I did was spend a little while playing around with the pattern pieces from a pattern I am working on at the moment. The aim was to see if they could be re-arranged and altered very slightly to take up a smaller amount of fabric.

Here is a pic of the final layout I came up with

Zero waste home sewing

When cut from the rectangle, and including all the serger tails and threads from sewing the garment up, this layout produced an 8% waste by weight:

zero waste home sewing

Then I set my mind to how I might use up the small pieces. I settled on cutting thin strips, sewing them together where needed, and using them to make some ‘Nautical Knit Fabric twine’. I can use this for another project as a waistband or hoodie tie or the like.

zero waste home sewing

Finally I used the final scraps the same way they do at Tonle – making paper.

I mixed 3 of the sheets of paper that I had printed the pattern pieces on, mixed with the fabric scraps to make 3 lovely textured pieces of paper. Here is a quick how to if you want to give this a go.

Here is how mine turned out – I love it!

Zero Waste home sewing

I had a fun day on this project, but I would get very little done in my pattern design business if I dealt with all my waste this way. I am sure that there is a practical way though – stay tuned to hear about what I can come up with.

If you have a go at zero waste (or even less waste) home sewing be sure to grab some pics and hashtag them #sew4bub I would love to see what you come up with!

As always, thanks for reading.

Liz xx



6 thoughts on “Zero Waste Home Sewing [an experiment]

  1. Love this! I always feel like I have so much waste and I would like to reduce that amount. I have been trying to sew more from my stash and using what little pieces I can. I like your ideas and can’t wait to hear what else you come up with!

  2. NOW y’all are getting it!! This warms my heart as I learned very early on from my Mom who used to sew for the church missionaries. She was given patterns & fabric by the church & always came out w/ far more dresses than the other sewing ladies. They all said, “Millie can make fabric scream” by pinching as much as she could out of it. When I first started following sewing blogs I would cringe at seeing pattern placement on a piece of fabric when I knew I could place the pieces so much closer together & not waste so much fabric. BUT, just how do you go about telling a seasoned blogger how to do her job when I don’t blog myself?! Seeing this here makes me VERY happy!!! I LOVE you & what you do Liz & your patterns make me SEW happy!!!! I am glad someone besides me can get others to see the waste & teach others. Makes me look far less bossy! LOL! Keep up your FABULOUS work.
    From your biggest fan!!!

  3. Pingback: Zero Waste Home Sewing [Part 2] | Sew 4 Bub

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