I noticed a zero waste pattern for sale online last week and, despite the fact I’ve ignored all other temptations as far as fabric and dressmaking patterns go for a while, this time I succumbed.
I was drawn to the concept because I’m often horrified by the amount of fabric left over after a dressmaking project and, excited by the fact it only used 36 inches/90cm of fabric, I ordered the PDF and found some linen in my stash that I thought would be suitable.
There are no pattern pieces to print out – thereby saving paper too – and the idea is you use the whole width of the fabric and then cut it to the required length. Then you draw the shapes directly on to the fabric according to the measurements given in the instructions – it’s a one size pattern but you can adjust within the limits of the width of fabric you’re working with. Any gaps between, in this case a triangular section between the two fronts and a rectangular piece between the sleeves, are cut out and utilised in the construction so that there is almost no waste.
In this drawing you can see by the dotted lines where these ‘surplus’ pieces are added to the inside as facings and top stitched to make, I assume, a design feature on the back of the shirt.
The triangular pieces are used to face the side seams which I did because, although I’d overlocked the seams so they looked pretty neat already, these pieces did finish them off quite nicely.
The purpose of the rectangular piece I couldn’t fathom and left it off although there is a hack to cut that rectangle in half and make two patch pockets for the front which at least makes sense rather than use it for a ‘back hem facing’ which, to me, didn’t make much sense at all. I suppose, to be called a zero waste pattern, it is necessary to use all the pieces you cut out somewhere on the garment whether it needs them or not.
Unfortunately, I did waste a bit more fabric than intended because the linen I used was a nightmare to cut in a straight line. Something wobbly in the weave caused it to shift off grain and I ended up having to cut off a bit more than planned just to straighten it up again.
Maybe the wobbly grain worked to my advantage for the button band though as it needed to go around the neck and a more stable fabric, cut as this was, might not have behaved as nicely around the curve.
Even though I’m only 5’3″, this is quite cropped on me but that is down to having to straighten up the shifting fabric and not a problem with the pattern.
You can’t make out the top stitching on the triangles at the side seams which is probably a good thing as I did it from the inside and the bobbin thread never looks as neat as the top thread. I don’t think adding the rectangular piece would have brought anything to this particular party.
So, I think I made a wearable cropped shirt although I have to remember not to reach up …
……unless I wear something underneath as nobody wants to see my midriff revealed.
I might consider making this again to see what it would be like in more drapey (stash) fabric and I’d put a couple more inches on the hem. Also, there is a gathered sleeve hack which might look quite good. I have plenty of stash fabric to work with.
Coincidentally, I was working on this zero waste project at the same time as my good blogging friend Kate was working on one . Unfortunately, Kate made a dress which didn’t work out so well. We have a few followers in common so you’ve probably seen her post but, if you haven’t, you can read about it here for another take on these sorts of patterns.