I’m very excited to be sharing with you my ‘no waste’ sewing project!
A ‘no waste’ mindset is something I definitely try to have in all areas of life, although when it comes to crafting I am definitely guilty of having overbought on fabric for a project when I could have planned ahead and only bought what I needed. Or perhaps saved those scraps for another project instead of throwing them away to make space? I’ve tried to up my game even more in the last few years by working through my fabric stash and keeping hold of remnants for mini makes or for any friends and family who need fabric for projects (please, take these scraps off my hands!). So when I saw the Sewcialists shout out for no waste sewing projects I was excited to get involved.
A little about the pattern:
I knew from the get go which pattern I wanted to use for this project and it couldn’t be more appropriate to the theme – it’s the Miyagi Trousers from the sewing pattern and lifestyle brand Sew Much Waste.
The Miyagi Trouser is a little pair of comfy, relaxed trousers for babies and toddlers. I downloaded the PDF pattern last year and used it to make a Christmas tracksuit for my 1 year old niece, Little M. The premise of this, and all the sewing patterns from Sew Much Waste, is that they are designed to be created from other/old items of clothing. The patterns don’t provide a guide for fabric requirements but they do provide a ‘how to’ for preparing your old garment and a placement map for cutting the new pattern pieces out of that fabric. So simple but so useful if you’re not sure where to begin.
I had quite a range of choice for the fabric as these trousers can be made in a woven or a stretch material. I considered what I already had that could be re purposed and hit on the perfect idea. There is a tenuous link coming up but bear with me! A friend gave me a blouse that she was getting rid of, and I absolutely loved the fabric but the style just didn’t suit me. The blouse was a silky, drapey material with big cat illustrations on a black and light grey striped background. I was loathed to get rid of it because of the fab cat print, but there was no point holding onto something I knew I wouldn’t wear. Then, as if by fate, this project came along and I had this gorgeous old garment to repurpose into something new and exciting!
I love the way that you have to be more creative and adaptable with your ideas when creating new from old. The end product can be so much more unexpected and exciting when you’re working around what you’ve already got, rather than having bought each ideal component. I know it never would have crossed my mind to make Little M some silky, posh-looking, lounge trousers, but now I’m wondering why I hadn’t thought of it before!
To prepare my blouse I removed the sleeves, the waist ties and the buttons from the back. I laid the remaining bodice out as flat as possible and laid my pattern pieces on the fabric. I was slightly worried that it wouldn’t all fit on, or at least not all in the right direction for the stripes but I did manage it; two front legs, two back legs, a waist band, and a pocket.
I wanted to have one of the cat illustrations central on the pocket so it ended up being a slightly unique shape – lets call it a design quirk! The only area I could cut around a whole cat was at the neck edge, so a length of the neckline ended up creating a slanted top edge of the pocket – already finished too so that suited me! I turned the other three raw edges of the pocket in and top stitched it to the back trouser piece.
I didn’t have quite enough width of fabric to cut the faux-fly out with the trouser front, so instead I cut a straight centre front seam on the trousers and then when assembling the pieces I layered the blouse button-hole placket between the two front pieces and stitched all three together. I then top stitched the button-hole placket flat against the left leg front so that it created my own sort of faux-fly. This detail was completely decorative but I like the extra detail. I sewed four of the self covered blouse buttons onto the fly for decoration.
I had to cut the waist band in two lengths which I then just attached together at the short edges to create a circle before sewing to the top of the trousers. The waist band raw edge was folded over 1cm and then folded again down the centre of the band to encase the raw edge. The band was then stitched down with a gap on the side seam to thread the elastic all the way around. The gap was then slipstitched closed.
The leg cuffs are folded in and edge stitched. I love the cute turn ups on the pattern but this fabric, being as slippery as it is, will have to be worn as full length trousers. Overall, the sewing itself for this project didn’t take very long at all but it was nice spending some time playing around with options, like I did for the front fly and the buttons and deciding on the cuffs.
After I finished the trousers I looked at what I had left of the blouse (mainly one sleeve and some small bodice scraps), and decided to make some matching accessories! I had in mind an elasticated head band but it would have been too silky to stay in little M’s hair so instead I decided on some hair bow clips!
I cut two rectangles approximately 4 inches x 2 inches and ironed interfacing on to give them enough body to stick out in a good bow shape. I folded each rectangle right sides together along the short side and sewed around the raw edges leaving a little gap to turn. After turning right sides out I slip stitched the gap closed. I folded in the centre so the edges fanned out and put a few stitches in to secure the shape. I then wrapped a thin ribbon around the centre a few times and tied in knot at the front with the two tails adding some extra decoration.
For the crocodile clips I hot glued a length of grosgrain ribbon along the top, opening, and bottom of the clip (making it a soft surface for that delicate baby hair). Then I simply hot glued the bow to the top of the clip. Done, and in my opinion, so adorable!
This was such a fun little project to create and I’m so thrilled with the fact that I managed to squeeze a pair of trousers and two hair bows out of one blouse. I would love to know how you think I did with this project and to hear about your adventures in no waste sewing!
Hello! I’m Rebecca and I love sewing, talking about sewing and delight in other people’s sewing! I’m a big fan of vintage fashion and this is what you’ll usually find me creating in my sewing space. I run an Etsy shop ‘Decadent Darling’ where I sell handmade skirts and accessories made from gorgeous re-purposed fabrics. My non-crafty hobbies include reading, long country walks and watching cosy crime dramas. Come and find me on my @pretty_handsome_everyday and my blog!
What a cute pair of pants, and of course that cat fabric is delightful! It’s great that you managed to turn something old an unused into something useful. I’m probably being too pedantic about the definition of zero-waste sewing, but it’s my impression that it means using an entire piece of fabric with no leftover scraps at all. It sounds like you used almost the entire blouse, which is great. I think this might be called more of an ‘upcycle’ or ‘refashion’ rather than ‘zero waste’.
Hi Lori! Thank you, I was pleased with how cute they turned out! Interesting to hear your thoughts on ‘no waste’ sewing, of course the definition will always vary in each person’s opinion. In this case, it’s a project that didn’t generate any waste so I think it hit the nail on the head! All the off-cuts have gone into my scraps bucket and will be used (probably to stuff a cushion). It could have been a strange looking pair of trousers if I had used the entire blouse but there are always other ways to ensure that nothing gets thrown away, and it’s great to see so many people embracing no waste sewing!
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Now I want a pair of striped kitty pants! They are adorable.
Haha I know, same here!! Thank you, I’m glad you like them!
Thank you, I’m glad you like them!!