Zero Waste Clothing

All of the knitwear at Laine is fully fashioned, absolutely no cutting and over-locking. The reasons for this are simple, firstly it creates a beautiful, accurate and clean finish to the garment, secondly it creates no waste*. Knitting is unusual in that you can create pattern pieces to the exact size you want them, but how could I create a zero waste garment that was cut and sewn?

I’ve been thinking for a while about introducing some cut and sew garments into the collection at Laine, but felt uncomfortable with the associated wastage, so I began to learn about zero-waste patterns. These patterns make use of every millimetre of the fabric is, which can create unusual and striking garment shapes. Of course it’s trickier with cut and sew garments, whilst obviously it makes sense for patterns to never waste fabric, it can be difficult to use up every last inch.

A brilliant illustration of a zero-waste Kimono pattern from sewobsessed.com

A brilliant illustration of a zero-waste Kimono pattern from sewobsessed.com

Some of the simplest patterns are inherently zero waste, take for example the Japanese Kimono. The pattern for these is incredibly simple and uses every bit of the fabric. In fact the more I researched, the more I realised that many historic garment designs adhere to the same zero waste principle. The reason why is simple, wasting material was a ludicrous idea back then. Wasting is so ingrained in our culture nowadays, that we don’t look at it as throwing away money anymore.

By this point my mind was made up, Laine would have a zero-waste collection ready for late spring. I was lucky to find a gorgeous linen cloth, with perfect drape and a variety of subtle tones. Experiments start next weekend! My plan is to hand paint them with natural dyes, to give them all their own unique personality, but as always, I’d love to know what my customers think first! If you have an idea that you’d love to see brought to life, then please leave a comment, send me a message or pop in to the shop and let me know!

*Lastly, just a little note on my zero waste claim from the first paragraph. By law, my knitwear is zero waste, in that less than 1% of my yarn is thrown away. The only parts I ever chuck are the ‘ends’ little bits of thread which are left over when casting on and off. Usually I give these to the birds for nesting in spring or tie my packaging with them, but occasionally one or two do slip into the bin bag. If anyone has a use for some ends, perhaps a keen felter, then do let me know as I could certainly save some up for you!