Sunday, March 20, 2022

Weekend Review: Zero Waste Sewing


Zero Waste Sewing / Elizabeth Haywood
Clare, South Australia: Cooatalaa Press, 2020.
142 p.

If you're interested in sustainability and the idea of zero waste sewing, this homey book is a must read! Liz Haywood is a patternmaker from Australia, with years of experience in pattern cutting and design, and she's been investigating zero waste for a while. This book offers 16 patterns and variations for sewists to give this a try -- if you're new to zero waste, as I am, I can assure you that there are a variety of styles here, and they are very approachable. 

You can find a lot of info about this book at Liz Haywood's website, The Craft of Clothes, as well as lots of other fascinating content and some free patterns to try out. She also has an Etsy store where you can buy her books and many other patterns not in this book. Lots to explore! 

But on to the book. Here are the patterns included (from her website):

The photos are clear, and feel like blog photos - real people wearing interesting clothes, and inspirational in a down to earth way. I like the vibe a lot. The patterns are diagrams, with lots of sketches and lots of explanations of how they work and how you put things together. 

It's broken up into sections, or themes: making tops from squares of fabric, one-seam cuts, and tessellated layouts. She goes into detail, particularly in the one seam section, about the traditional and historical roots of this kind of clothing design. From the infamous Bog Coat to traditional kimonos and more, one seam garments are found throughout history. I enjoyed the context she shares about the techniques and background to her own designs. 

This is the pattern I'm most eager to try - the first one in the book, the Tie Front Top. I love that it doesn't look bulky or voluminous. I was hoping to have one made by the time I reviewed this book, but I didn't get there. 

I was impressed by the variety of designs in the book and the generous sharing of information in each section. Sometimes I find that Zero Waste designs just look odd and billowy in a way that doesn't appeal to me, but not here. Liz Haywood spoke to our local Garment Guild recently, and I was inspired by her breadth of knowledge and seemingly endless ideas. 

Really a solid book, immediately useful and giving a great introduction to an area of sewing that is still fairly new. Recommended!


  1. Hi Melanie, thank you for this lovely review. It was a pleasure to speak to your group - I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. So did we! Thanks so much. A few zero waste makes appeared in our next Sew & Tell :)

  2. Hi Melanie, A great review! I have made the tie front top, and can vouch for it's comfort, fit and elegant feel. I used a fine cotton, and couldn't have been happier. Liz's instructions are always very clear, as if she is speaking to you, and she always offers options. I like this as (in my head) I always plan to make more and look for possible small changes. In reality I keep moving to the next pattern in my queue.

    1. That's great to hear, it's a very pretty pattern. I really enjoyed hearing Liz speak and her book has the same comfortable tone. I'm with you -- I always plan to remake a good pattern but move on to the next!

  3. I've made a zero waste panel skirt and the ZWW T-shirt - both were successes. I must get Liz's book for more inspiration on this method of sewing.

    1. Your zero waste patterns were great! I think you'd enjoy this book.


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