Zero Waste Sewing by Elizabeth Haywood - the Blog Tour

If you're new to The Drapery, hello and welcome! We're Jane and Fiona, and we established The Drapery fabric shop in Adelaide, South Australia, in 2013. We're delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for Elizabeth Haywood's exciting new book release, Zero Waste Sewing. Read on to see the project we tried!
Sewing, and making in general, often encourages the maker to have a greater sense of environmental responsibility. Hands-on, deep involvement with the base materials of common objects (fabric, yarn, timber, clay, leather, metals) will almost certainly lead to an appreciation of the limits of our earth's precious resources.

It's not surprising then that there has been a growing interest in the concept of 'zero waste sewing'. It's not a new concept. Pre-industrialisation, it was common practice for many people to farm their own fibres (flax, hemp, wool etc), process the fibres into threads and weave their own cloth. If you had laboured to produce every thread, you'd be pretty keen to see every thread put to use. Garments were often made of simple rectangular and triangular shapes, cleverly pieced, gathered and gusseted. Zero Waste Sewing takes readers through Liz's journey of research and experimentation with different shapes, cutting and seams that result in a great variety of zero waste garments. To find out more, check out the rest of the blog tour:


At The Drapery, we're definitely on board with cutting down waste in sewing practice. We know how satisfying it is to eke a project out of a bare minimum of fabric and have only a small handful of scraps at the end. We very much appreciate pattern designers who give accurate, non-wasteful yardage recommendations for their patterns.

We're very fortunate that Liz Haywood is practically a local, living just a couple of hours away in the gorgeous Clare Valley. She was kindly able to drop in and allow us to see and try on the samples for her Zero Waste Sewing book.

I was drawn to make the Hooded Blouson. The sample I tried on was both cute and fascinating, with its hood (always a win in my books), puffball shape and clever pockets.

I chose our Japanese cotton corduroy in Peony. The pattern calls for 130cm of 115cm wide fabric. My fabric was 140cm wide so I cut just 115cm, letting my width be the extra 'length'.

The cutting and assembly process feels more like origami than traditional sewing. It's not difficult, and a tape measure, ruler and chalk easily take the place of pattern pieces.

After I had inserted the pockets and tried on the partial garment, I realised my fabric choice was not ideal for the pattern 'as writ'. (If I'd read to the end of the instructions first I would have realised this and seen Liz's handy tips! There are a lot of layers that come together at the pockets.)

I needed to re-think. I spent some time with my friend the unpicker, mulling it over. Liz had made a cape version of this pattern, and I thought that might be more suitable for the corduroy. In keeping with the zero/low waste ethic, and also with my love of pockets, I decided to re-use about half of the pocket bag fabric for a pair of patch pockets.

Playing around with possibilities
I rounded off the bottom corners using a French curve, and finished the bottom edge with cotton bias tape to preserve as much length as possible.



I kept the armholes, so I'm not totally sure if this qualifies as a genuine cape but it sure has that swing.

It was quite a warm day when these photos were taken so please pardon the unlikely combo of cape with shorts and t-shirt!




If you'd like to see this cape in person it's now hanging up in the shop. And the book is available in store and online here!

Thanks so much for having us on your blog tour Liz, and here's to less waste of beautiful fabric.

- Jane & Fiona xx









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