Thursday, 2 February 2012

zero waste sewing

I've been quite intrigued by the zero waste sewing movement, given my frugal nature, my distaste for waste and the huge bags of fabric scraps I already own.  Basically zero waste sewing is, as the name suggest, generating little to no leftover fabric through careful placement of the pattern pieces on the fabric.  Personally I can't see how it could be achieved fully in most designs unless you ignore grain lines and directional prints or the nap of fabric.  But I like the philosophy behind the movement and instead like many others I try to use my larger fabric scraps in a useful manner rather than just chucking them in the bin, especially since I work in the environment sector and know the resources and energy that are used when producing textiles (even the cheap and nasty ones).

Since I'm not a quilter (and nor do I think I would ever have the patience to be one), I'm lucky to have a small child to sew for as well the odd crafty item here and there to use up my fabric scraps.  And this would be an excellent example of both.

The blue and white stripe knit fabric I used for the bodice of the dress in the last post was from an odd shaped piece of fabric I picked up from the op shop and had been in my stash a while.  So to begin with I was using up someone else's scrap but being oddly shaped I couldn't have made much more from it than the bodice top that I did.  But I also managed to eek out this tshirt for Anna since they are little bitty pattern pieces for such a little tshirt:


The pattern I used is Kwik Sew 3424 which I've used before and is such simple construction it's not worth talking about.  I made a red cotton yo yo flower (also scrap fabric!) with a button from the stash to jazz it.

I also managed to cut out a simple rectangular gathered skirt with a elasticised waistband from the solid blue knit also from my dress, using up the last of the biggish area of the fabric:


By this stage there were only random small bits of fabric left, but I still wasn't done with it.  I  made an even smaller matching t-shirt for Anna's cabbage patch doll.  Unfortunately Anna wasn't being cooperative and refused to let me take a photo of her wearing these clothes, but the cabbage patch doll was a far more willing model!


So I think I've done my best to avoid adding precious resources to limited landfill deposits.  Rest assured though that Anna, the cabbage patch doll and I will NOT be seen in public together wearing our matching fabrics......

Speaking of the cabbage patch dolls, one of my very lovely readers, Renata, who is a fellow Sydneysider, sent me an awesome package shortly after christmas:


Unbelievably Renata gifted me these very cute and hard to come by cabbage patch dolls patterns from her own pattern stash.  So thank you again Renata, although I'll probably be cursing you when I'm up to my eyeballs in fiddly teeny tiny dolls clothes!

16 comments:

  1. I love this idea. I too get most of my fabric from op shops. Mainly because then I feel there is less pressure if I mess up. But also because you can't go past 3 meters for $2!

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  2. I'm yet to venture into doll clothes sewing. I need Adele to stop undressing all the dolls and talkng about doodles. Love the scrap management and the patterns.

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  3. You certainly got your money`s worth ! I used to love sewing dolls cloths - just wait until Anna plays with barbies - then you can keep scraps that are just cms big . Will you and Anna and Cabbage Patch doll wear your new clothes all at the same time ?

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  4. Ohhh, I have the Cabbage Patch Kids carrier pattern.... I recently made it for my daughter.... I love it (and remember the version my Mum made for my sisters and I when we were little).

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  5. That was awesome of Renata. I never had a Cabbage Patch kid but wanted one DESPERATELY.

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  6. So sweet of Renata... funny cause I just went thru my patterns and had found 1 or 2 that I was going to send... but it looks like she covered all the bases! Our daughters got their CPD's from their Uncle one Christmas... and this year... granddaughter got one from the same Uncle! Love at first hug! Jean C.

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  7. Way to go on the zero waste sewing!

    How generous of Renata! My sister had a Cabbage Patch doll but I didn't, and I was so jealous ;)

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  8. Great job on zero waste! I've never sewn for cabbage patch dolls (never even owned one when I was little) but I sew for other dolls of similar size and personally think it's really fun because it takes so much less time and fabric. Like instant gratification

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  9. Hurray! You can also cut the knit fabric scraps into rag yarn and knit or crochet it into very absorbent mats. My husband's old tee shirts usually end up on the bathroom floor in this manner -- very appropriate, as they spent much of their working life on the bathroom floor anyway.

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  10. I freecycle my scraps to local crafters as I am not very good at using up the pieces myself. But I am absolutely crazy about reusing my basting threads. If I am able to pull the thread out of the fabric, I'll use that thread again for more basting. Talk about seeing the trees instead of the forest.

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  11. Wow, I didn't know you could get Cabbage Patch doll clothing patterns! Oh no, I'm getting that tingly feeling when a new obsession is starting ;) Wow, what an amazing gift and a great way to use up scraps though. I'm a bit obsessed about Barbie patterns, I can't get enough of them.

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  12. Love the new t-shirts! I had fewer scraps when my daughters were younger because most scraps can be used in some form for little people. What a great pattern haul! I can see years of cabbage patch doll sewing ahead of you!

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  13. I admire your philosophy and industry! I'm a great gatherer of scraps but never use them. In Spain I saw a beautiful scarf in a museum shop that was made from small strips of fabric pieced together. My 2012 resolution - make at least one of these.

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  14. At least the small pieces weren't for Barbie dolls. Talk about little itty pieces. As for Cabbies, I have 7 ... for me ... DGD has 13 ... we play with them together.

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  15. I am totally impressed! I make panties of knit scraps that are large enough, but haven't found a use for woven scraps.

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  16. That's really cute! I love it. :)

    I'm interested in it, too, but so far my "zero waste" extends mainly to using almost every sliver of fabric that comes into my posession... Quilts are great for that... My "quilter" friends kind of roll their eyes and smile at me because I use everything in my quilts, not just quilt cotton... I fuse a lightweight woven interfacing to the back of knit or thin fabric scraps, which stabilizes them well... I don't know if my quilts will last for centuries, but it's a pretty way to use scraps... (And yep, I definitely have more quilt tops than finished quilts... )

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