Zero Waste Month Round Up

Well, what a month it’s been in February! We launched Zero Waste month, with the hashtag #sewcialistszerowaste on Instagram, and are so excited with the way that the community has embraced this theme; it’s been so heartening that so many of you share our concern for the environment and sustainability and the enthusiasm for the creativity that comes from trying to not waste a scrap of fabric.

We’ve had a series of blog posts, podcasts with SewOrganisedStyle, and a plethora of instagram posts. We’ve loved how you’ve embraced the theme, got as excited as we are and discovered so many new zero waste patterns. We have well over 100 instagram posts tagged with the #sewcialistszerowaste which relate directly to our themes of zero/minimal waste, scrap busting and repurposing. That is so inspiring! Let’s have a look at some of the aspects covered:

Text displaying the words Our Social Fabric, a textile recycling initiative.
  • Several posts featuring scrap busting; check out this one with Ziggysplayhouse.
Woman wearing a dress and jacket made from colourful fabric scraps.
  • Size inclusivity is a major consideration and Kim McBrien Evans wrote an excellent article about how changing the orientation of the fabric or joining the fabric can increase the size range of many zero waste patterns. Kim made Liz Haywood’s Smith Pinafore.
Woman wearing a purple/pink pinafore dress and black t shirt
three colourful simple tops
  • We discovered a whole new area of recycling called “Trashion”. This made our hearts beat faster, and Keira shows us a blazer she made and embellished with bottles pulled from the ocean. She gives step by step instructions to turn recycled plastic bottles into flowers. Perhaps one of you could create a garment with embellishments like this β€” how cool is it? Some of the Sewcialists team are definitely going to try it!
lapel of a blazer embellished with flowers and beads made from recycled materials

This is just a small sample of the blog posts on Zero/Minimal Waste sewing, by both designers and sewists. Go and check out the others! We are sure you’ll love the innovation and creativity.

Instagram threw up a vast array of zero waste makes, and again, only a very small sample can be included here, but we loved each and every one of them.

@naaiatelierkrul made the Liz Haywood blouson top from Zero Waste Sewing.

woman wearing a green and black top

This lovely dress is an open source (read free) pattern from Tissuni. This one is by @alifeofitsewn. This pattern just made it on to my queue!

woman wearing a white dress called for pattern testers for her new zero waste pattern, with a good range of sizes.

woman wearing a moss green jacket/shirt

@mimiandmacca has been making the Elbe Textiles Maynard dress from recycled fabric, and enjoying the struggle!

blue fabric with white stripes creating a check effect

@annapikadiy has made the Brumer dress from @milan_avjc, who is part of the @zwdo_collective, a group of designers who are exploring zero waste both commercially and for home sewists.

woman wearing a colourful orange and white dress, black turtleneck and black tights

Pattern Union gave us a sneak peak of a new pattern to be released soon. This one includes optional extra skills such as embroidery and smocking

woman wearing a black floaty dress with white embroidery and smocking.

And finally @Sagner_by_kristen showed us how to play pattern Tetris to minimise fabric waste.

length of fabric nearly completely covered with paper pattern.

That leads nicely into the whole concept of scrap busting, and there are so many wonderful examples on both the Sewcialists blog and Instagram.

This lovely coat by @bashfulleo is made completely from scraps. Those scraps are so beautifully placed.

colourful jacket made completely from scraps of fabric

Tricia of @morrissews made a dress completely from scraps she had. The dress is also zero waste, again from Liz Haywood’s Zero Waste Sewing. Does this make it zero waste squared?!

woman showing front and back views of a zero waste dress made completely from scraps and offcuts

Then there was the story-telling by Denise Archer on her Made with Love and Total Domination series, which I loved. Check out her dolls and the story behind them!

three black dolls wearing white dresses

I also did a post on scrap busting, showing a variety of items from a dog’s snuffle (olfactory) rug, to puzzle balls for children, as well as posts on Zero Waste makes and Zero Waste sewing.

On Instagram, the posts just kept coming in and included this lovely jacket made from scraps by @nataliecsews, who embellished with flowers inspired by local cherry blossom. Sigh!

jacket made from predominantly blue scraps some of which have been embellished with floral embroidery

It was nice to see that the family pets aren’t left out of the scrap busting β€” here is @annetteart1, who made a beautiful jacket for her pup from a padded sleeve cut off a coat, a sample piece of tweed and remnant bits of a fleece blanket. I want one!

cute dog wearing a little jacket with a pocket on the side

And finally, how good are these slippers by @diypatterns? These could be made for large and small people and would be fabulous for those small scraps of fabric. Off to investigate!

padded slippers made from blue scraps

Then we had the podcasts that went with the theme. Maria from SewOrganisedStyle did a marvellous job interviewing Liz Haywood and Denise Archer, as well as an interview with Anniemieke about her sustainable weaving mill.

Finally, I was contacted by Emily Handler to say that she’s been compiling a list of zero waste patterns, which is such a useful resource. She has identified 100 patterns so far β€” let’s help her to find more. This is such a great initiative! She’s identified sizes, garment type, fabric type, price and type of pattern, which is so useful for filtering. Thank you so much for letting me know, Emily, and congratulations!

Sue lives in beautiful Western Australia where the weather is most conducive to making easy to wear zero waste garments. She is retired (so has lots of time) and blogs at and is on Instagram @suestoney.