Zero waste is a term which has slowly percolated through the sewing community in the last few years, but it’s been around for as long as clothes themselves, with bog coats and authentic Japanese Kimonos possibly being the most common examples. Fabric was once a precious commodity and both utilitarian and luxurious garments were made with minimal waste, using squares and rectangles. Many of the modern zero waste patterns for home sewists utilise this same technique and it works well. However, once people desire more shape and therefore curves, zero waste becomes problematic and requires more creativity and lateral thinking.
I am going to focus on the home sewist rather than commercial garment design as that is the target audience for this post, and examine the concept of creating clothing that is both useful and environmentally sustainable.
I found my sewing mojo! Woop! It was hidden at the bottom of a massive to do pile and needed coaxing out with a small purchase of pretty new fabric, some inspiring sewing texts from a lovley cousin of mine who has just started to sew her own amazing garments, and a decision to treat myself to a super simple new pattern that I knew wouldnt take too long and would be equally pleasing.
Pattern: I've stayed completly within my comfort zone and gone for this simple Lotta dress from TATB. I havent bought a printed pattern for absolutley ages, so this felt like the best treat ever! Not a peice of sticky tape in sight :)
Zips and fastenings? Nope. Elasticated waist? Yup. Integrated sleeves? Yup. Will this stress me out and I'll never finish it? Nope. Shoudl I have a new dress in a couple of hours? YUP!
Fabric: Took a chance of a piece of fabric I liked the look of but... [read more]
New year, new mantra....I've realised that keeping my sewing rhythm going depends on basically keeping things pretty damn simple and also doing a lot of what I've already done. Basically I like what I like and I'm most likely to churn out the same old patterns rather than making anything particularly new and challenging. I don't have enough spare time to give to the love of sewing as I used to, I want to be able to pick out a pattern and not have to go through the whole toile and alteration process, I want to cut it out and whip it up within a couple of sittings at the most! On that note, I've started the year with a selfless make, something else I'd like to do a lot more of this year too.
Shes back again?So looking back at my pictures I found that I was actually a bit more productive than I thought? These are a pair of work trousers I made during the first lockdown. I knew at some point I was going to have to go back to work but I also knew that after weeks of wearing pyjamas and sweat pants that my waist would not be able to handle a "traditional waistband".Instead I found
In 1853, trail guide Virginia Reeve is offered an extraordinary opportunity - to lead an all-woman expedition to the Arctic in search of the missing Franklin expedition. Each woman on the team has been chosen for her specific skills, but that doesn't mean that they'll all survive.
Moving back and forth between the expedition and Virginia's trial in Boston when she returns without some of the women, the book looks at what happens in extreme circumstances when women are tested to their utmost.
This cover is lovely, though hardly Arctic weather appropriate -- no gloves? No hat, no scarf, no face covering? A blouse under a pretty cape? Not going to... [read more]
Hello again! It’s been awhile. I’m popping in today to tell you about the newest pattern I tested for Itch to Stitch*
It’s the Lamma Hoodie and Sweatshirt, which is a raglan sleeved, princess seam top with the option of either a hood or cowl neck as well as either thumb hole or regular cuffs. The Lamma also has in seam pockets. I can understand if you’re thinking it sounds like at least a dozen other patterns already out there already, but the difference with this one is that it has the perfect potential for colour blocking which is perfect for using up those pieces of fabric in your stash that are a decent size, but not quite big enough that you know what to use them for. It also comes in regular and full bust sizing from 00-40.
For mine I chose to use a heavier cotton lycra paired with a sweater knit that was actually left over from the... [read more]
Seamwork Natalie is a button-up shirt with a relaxed fit and notched collar. Before the Waikerie shirt came out, this was high on my list of shirts to sew. If I hadn’t already downloaded and printed the pattern, I probably would have returned it (something you can do with Seamwork – very useful for me since I get patterns and change my mind later). I figured why not try it out?
I went for my usual pattern size: 24. I made no adjustments to the pattern. For a boxy shirt, the fit is okay. The darts are a mess, though. They sit so far back from the apex and very low, speaking as someone who often lowers darts and these are low for me. I’m confused why the pattern even has darts since they add nothing at all to the shaping. Other than that, it’s a bit wide in the back for me, but that’s the boxiness of it.
The fabric I used is a textured cotton from a... [read more]
I’m a fairly safe person when it comes to my use of colour in my wardrobe. For years I’ve stuck to blues, grey, black and white, and beige. With variations, but all fairly neutral and all matching. However, in the last 2 years, another colour has been creeping in – rusty, cinnamon, paprika, terracotta. It’s a colour that I’ve always liked, but never considered wearing. It would clash with my hair and freckly face! But it doesn’t, and it really makes the blues and the black and white in my wardrobe sing! It’s my neutral with POP!
I bought this fabulous terracotta brushed cotton twill in October, intending to make a pair of cargo-inspired pants, not unlike the pattern in the Burda of September 2020, but when I finally traced and toiled the pattern, I realised it wasn’t for me. On the whole, I like wide legged pants, but when they’re... [read more]
Do you ever feel tongue tied when leaving a comment on social media?
In a recent discussion on Instagram and the blog, many of you said that you aren’t sure what to say when commenting, especially when it’s a post where a minority has shared their life experience, and you don’t want to say the wrong thing. Maybe you worry about putting your foot in your mouth or making it about yourself. Don’t worry, we’ve got some suggestions for you!
First of all, how beautiful that you want to do the right thing! I think this is a case where perfect is the enemy of good—better to do your best and make the author feel supported. With that in mind, here are a few simple replies that you could use in many situations!
“Thank you for this post.“
This was a suggestion from a reader, and it’s brilliant! Simple, positive, and uncomplicated!... [read more]
I guarantee you that there is always a lot of wonderful planning on my part the beginning of every year! This year I plan on finishing this #makenine. Of course, I have said this before, more specifically January of 2019 here! when I posted THE EXACT SAME #makenine PHOTO. This is how much I accomplished in … Continue reading 2021 Sewing Plans?
I let my hair grow out rather too much for my liking over the past few weeks – I had a lot going on and I didn’t find the time to get the clippers out to get this done. Today, Sunday, is going pretty easily, so I thought it would be best to give it a shot, as I have a SUPER busy week ahead, and a few things to do today.
My husband helped with the back, and with trimming the edges to make it look a little neater. Last time, he decided to shave it all on #0!!! I was surprised, but, thankfully, it grew out pretty quickly. I prefer a nice #1 or #2, as this looks neat, but I don’t feel weird with my scalp showing. Also – WARMER! It’s the middle of WINTER here! Yes, I feel as tired as I look. It’s been a rough couple of months.
We’re going to go change the oil in the Jeep, car, and truck in a little bit, and taking the dogs with us, as they love to run around the Big... [read more]
This is a wonderful book, which I fortunately got my hands on via Interlibrary Loan. So inspiring! It's one of the titles in the Couture Sewing series by acknowledged expert and Chanel collector Claire B. Shaeffer. (If you haven't heard her talk about her collections, check out this podcast by Threads).
This book is full of great information on making and applying trims to that Chanel style jacket you've just spent so long working on. Rouleau loops, piping, ribbon, self fabric fringe or selvage piping, insertions, embroidered edging; there is so much here to work with. Since it's couture focused, most of the work on these trims is done by hand, and really seems like it needs to be to get a good result. Quick weekend projects these are not.
The Verity Knit Top was released in December, and was one of the ‘freebie’ patterns that month. I downloaded the multi-size PDF. The sizes are denoted with different colour lines, so print in colour if you can
Style Arc describe Verity as ‘jumper style, square shape with Ann extended shoulder line, slim line sleeves, funnel neck with a channel for ribbon, slightly scooped hemline with a facing and feature top stitching’
This fabric is Abstract Leopard Print French Terry from Textile Express.
I used my walking foot with a 1.5 x 2.5 zig zag stitch throughout and finished the seams and hems with my overlocker. The only change I made was to shorten the sleeve by 4cm.
The funnel neck drapes well, and can be worn full height or folded. The buttonholes are the first part of the garment to be sewn. I added some medium weight iron on interfacing to... [read more]
In 2019, at the awesome Women in the Outdoors weekend, I won a free intro flight with Frost Aviation. I finally got to go on my flight in 2020, around my birthday, and it was AWESOME!
I’ve wanted to fly since I was a little girl, and it was a moment so intense when I got up there that I teared up.
I took off, I landed, I did turns and flew right over my home. It was incredible. I was keen to start the process of getting my pilot’s license. My husband said he would support me 100%, and he offered a portion of his GI bill to cover my initial costs, as, for some odd reason, all the sponsorships and grants only offer you money if you are going for a commercial license. So you are on your own for that first step.
Due to being a “foreigner” you have to jump through some extra hoops since 9/11 to even start with the pilot license process: Extra ID validation and... [read more]
I'll be honest: this solution is going to result in pants that don't fit
I've been having this stretched out waist problem with denim and twill fabrics (last pair of pants gained three inches stretch).
The best way to avoid this is to stay stitch the waist and crotch seams first thing, before you start handling them. Twill weaves will stretch its why we like them for work clothes, but you want them to stretch the way you want them to.
When it's too late, you are going to want to get out your pattern pieces and recut that waistband (and probably the back crotch seam). And it may not work very well. Another option is pleating the fabric to take up that slack.
Since I eat my feelings, I need new pants. Nudity is frowned upon, and it's winter here. I am working on a set of pants about posts. No, wait, reverse that.
This lovely floral blouse (105-04-2018) is the final project in my Burdastyle Academy Advanced Teacher Certification Course. It's an interesting pattern, with lots of detail -- front darts, two piece sleeve with a gathered cuff, collar and stand, and so on.
It was an interesting make, with lots of challenging bits. Nothing really super hard, but lots of steps. I enjoyed it! I used a floral cotton from my stash, one that I've had for a really long time, and was delighted to finally find the perfect project for this fabric. Not only that, there was a very amusing typo in the selvages that entertained me -- so I had to use it as a garment label. Shout out to my fellow peons!
This cotton behaved very nicely, taking pressing well, so that the darts and seams all lay nice and neatly. I had to shorten the sleeves quite a lot (thanks to my T Rex arms) and... [read more]
its 2021, its been five/six months since my last blog post, we are currently in our second? major lockdown and here i am writing my blog. Who'd have thunk it?So what have I been doing? and why haven't i been blogging?WELL LIFE!First of all there was the lovely thing called divorce , which I'm pretty sure is designed purely to suck the living soul out of a person and cause enough grief that most
Today is the culmination of years of work – today I have finally updated the last three of our patterns to be layered pdfs! This means that if you open the pattern file in a compatible app like Adobe Acrobat, you can turn off the layers you don’t need and just print your size(s), which can make things a lot clearer to read and cut out!
Our first pattern to include layered pdfs was our men’s leggings pattern, the Lightspeed Leggings, and subsequently all new patterns included this feature, but going back and updating all our existing patterns over the past 18 months has been quite a feat. I work for an office job four days a week, so everything to do with FehrTrade Patterns gets crammed into Fridays and weekends – lots of boring stuff like accounts and receipts, to answering emails, to negotiating new deals, to... [read more]
Disclaimer: I tested this pattern but my opinions are always my own (unless you want to buy me a house somewhere tropical, pay off my debt, and give me a yearly allowance of 300K then you can definitely have my opinion).
The Sew House 7 Free Range Slacks have been out for a while, but they were re-released and updated with a “Curvy” range. They are high-waisted, elastic waist, casual pants. There are two views: straight leg and tapered leg.
I made the tapered leg version in size 24. I used a stretch mystery fiber denim-like fabric in hot pink from a local fabric store called Fabric Fabric.
The fit is okay. There are definitely issues, but nothing tooo bad that doesn’t make this version wearable. Some bunching at the back, which I think I’m going to tackle, but I am unsure how to approach it. However, reviewing other... [read more]
Have you had a project that does not go right from the beginning? I've been sewing for quite a while. I don't very often have sewing mishaps with commercial patterns. I know what size to cut and any adjustments I need to make it right before I sew. When I saw the Liberty Emporium fabric collection by Riley Blake Designs, I immediately had a plan in mind for the two fabrics I chose. I was planned to make a mixed print tiered dress.
I loved the dress I previously made with Liberty cottons and had planned to make a new version with a different pattern. When the fabrics arrived, side by side, I didn't think they would work like wanted. I was slightly disappointed and decided to change my plan. I switched it to make a pattern that has been in my stash waiting for the perfect fabric match.
I absolutely love the sleeves of view A of this dress! I... [read more]
Have you been waiting for your chance to write for the Sewcialists? This could be it!
We are looking for three volunteer authors to make a sewing project from a zero-waste pattern and blog about it for the Sewcialists blog this February. You could make any kind of project, simple or complex. Our FAQs for contributors are here: basically, you need large, bright photos (but they don’t have to be magazine quality!), and you must be able to submit by February 1st.
We’ll take the first three people who comment below! If you miss the chance to sign up here, we’ll put out a similar call on Instagram in 12 hours (a.k.a. 7pm-ish Eastern Standard Time) for three more people.
Of course, you can always take part by sewing a zero-waste project this February and tagging it #SewcialistsZeroWaste on Instagram, and engaging with posts here on the... [read more]