17) Zero waste - zero idea?

tags: zero-waste , pattern

In the long winter nights you never know what you might find on the internet: I came across the zero-waste concept.

Because our bodies are curved, our clothes must be as well to fit us. Curved pattern pieces do not stack together very well, meaning that whenever you make a garment there are always scraps left over that are too small to do anything with. It is thought that in this way 15% of fabric in the clothing industry is wasted.

One solution to this problem is to design clothes so that the pattern pieces fit perfectly together like a jigsaw. This is the zero-waste concept.

The most famous example of a zero-waste design is the traditional japanese kimono. The kimono is made up of rectangles of varying sizes that can be cut easily from a single piece of fabric without any waste. Zero-waste garments are actually an ancient idea, since in the good ol’ days you had to do everything by hand, wasted fabric meant wasted time and effort - not so much today though!

The easiest way to make a zero-waste piece of clothing is to just use multiple rectangles, but this creates a boxy and unflattering fit. It is a real challenge to design something zero-waste and well fitting, but several brave folks out there have managed it.

As you’d expect, most of the stuff out there is for women (sigh), but I have found some designs for men. These are:

I will eventually get around to making these (and hopefully extending the list) and sharing my thoughts and experiences.