Author Topic: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting  (Read 12036 times)

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Offline FrancesGrimble

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Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« on: October 07, 2011, 02:46:19 AM »
For example:

http://hollymcquillan.com/images/figure-6/

http://fabricsforfreedom.com/zero-waste/

and

http://zerofabricwastefashion.blogspot.com/

I am all in favor of eco-responsibility.  However, I think this kind of design is merely a high-fashion fad, designed to impress people with the sheer intricacy of the patterns and with terms like "hyperbolic tessellation."  The results are seldom wearable and actually, often use more material in the garment than a conservative modern cutting method for an ordinary T shirt, plain skirt, and many other garments average people wear most of the time.

For more wearable clothing with zero-waste cutting layouts, you're more likely to get something like these:

http://www.theweebsite.com/greatkilt/index.html

http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/kente/how.htm

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/radical_romans/female/female.htm

http://www.alteredcloth.com/blog/2007/06/how-to-make-a-no-sew-sarong.php

http://www.festiveattyre.com/research/chemise.html

http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/%7elwittie/sca/garb/bliaut.html

http://www.twilightbridge.com/hobbies/festivals/japan/shichi/makekimono.htm

http://www.modestclothes.com/patterns_files/caftan.htm

http://gersey.tripod.com/history/tunic.html

http://www.phantomranch.net/folkdanc/costumes.htm

And many, many other traditional garments from numerous cultures.

My other problem with the modern zero-waste puzzle pieces method,  is that it is not at all necessary to use left-over material on the same garment to use it in an environmentally responsible way.  It can be made into a sofa cushion, a tote bag, or other small item.  It can be used for patch pockets, yokes, collars, cuffs, trimmings, interfacings, and other small pieces on a different garment or garments.  It can be used for patchwork quilts or patchwork garments. Tiny pieces can be used to stuff cushions, rag dolls, whatever can be stuffed. Furthermore, the person who makes the original garment does not have to personally use the scraps, but merely get them to someone else who will use them.

People have been saving and reusing fabric for thousands of years.  I find presenting this concept as something much too complex and intimidating for the average sewer to carry out, to be pretentious rather than environmentally responsible.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2011, 05:58:32 PM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline ljh

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2011, 04:04:38 AM »
I agree-and besides, when the clothing wears out, it all ends up in the landfill anyway. 

If you want to do zero-waste, it's fine with me, but you'd save more by returning to simple, rectangle based designs, than elaborate "zero waste" ones.
Linda

Offline Liana

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2011, 04:29:55 AM »
Thanks for pointing this out, Frances.  I hadn't really realized what the 'new' zero-waste cutting meant.  Seems a somewhat silly conceit.  I do not understand why having things covered with 3-D 'floral' shapes is a way to save fabric.  Or maybe they're not saving fabric, just using all they have on the garment rather than using what you need and keeping the rest for something else. 

I guess we could all sew our scraps onto the outside of our clothing (or maybe the inside, for warmth)  ;D and we'd be doing it too.   ::) ???

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 05:35:36 AM »
Or maybe they're not saving fabric, just using all they have on the garment rather than using what you need and keeping the rest for something else. 

There are many traditional garments that use more fabric than is practical.  For example, the sleeves of a kimono don't really need to be that big.

I don't mind the concept of using it all up. And I don't think we should all be wearing sleeveless minidresses regardless of climate, figure, or fashion--which would be another way to save fabric.  But, well, the zero waste is just people creating a kind of high fashion, claiming it's environmentally aware and "ethical," and carving a niche for themselves teaching others to make highly complicated one-layer patterns.

A related rant:  Some of the more extreme DIY books on recycling clothing.  The ones that use numerous thrift-shop garments--which look to be in good condition in the books--to make one new garment. It's sensible to do things like take a dress with a damaged skirt and another dress with a damaged bodice and put them together.  It's another thing to make a project like one I saw in a book, and which is hard to describe, but here goes. It was a dress made from a couple of dozen long-sleeved men's dress shirts. The skirt was made in a flouncy style and the sleeves were all just hanging off the flounces.  A huge statement that "this was recycled from other garments."  It's a good thing that it's currently OK to not conceal that you are recyling, but I don't see that it's any more environmentally aware or "ethical" to make it screamingly obvious.  The extreme garments produced that way are usually just weird.

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 07:02:25 AM »
It was a dress made from a couple of dozen long-sleeved men's dress shirts. The skirt was made in a flouncy style and the sleeves were all just hanging off the flounces.  A huge statement that "this was recycled from other garments."  It's a good thing that it's currently OK to not conceal that you are recyling, but I don't see that it's any more environmentally aware or "ethical" to make it screamingly obvious.  The extreme garments produced that way are usually just weird.
Not to mention the fact that a couple of dozen people could have had something to wear from those shirts, vs. one ridiculous, extravagant skirt that would likely be worn very few times (if any.)  I would think cleaning and repairing the shirts and donating to a shelter or halfway house or clothes pantry would be recycling in a less frivolous way.  K

Offline Hen

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 07:35:28 AM »
I see these pieces meant as fashion, or art.
They are meant as a huge statement, to get attention and create awareness.
I don't think anybody is claiming that this is the way to go. Although the third link is very "Bauhaus", intriguing.

It is like with Greenpeace, they get a lot of attention but don't do a lot for the environment physically, but in the end people buy CFC-free refrigerators.

Offline Lisanne

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2011, 10:13:05 AM »
The Japanese kimono is an elegant way of using every square inch of extremely expensive fabric.  A European peasant smock or indian top are good ways of making a garment out of rectangles of the most basic fabric - woven on looms that can't make more than a few feet of length.  Personally Iím much more interested in ethnic styles than big city high fashion concepts - there, thatís my prejudices showing. . .  Though I do admit I prefer sewing with natural fibres, as I can just put the scraps on the compost heap  ;D
« Last Edit: October 07, 2011, 11:23:26 AM by Lisanne »
Does this make you feel special  ;D  if not, try something else

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Offline Soupdragon

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2011, 10:31:29 AM »
Don't most of the people who sew ttry to cut 'economically'? Don't we all want to save money by not buying too much fabric for a project (and thrilling to the project we fitted into 'too little' fabric)?
All of the 'waste' I can't use in another project I pass on to a friend who is a primary school teacher who uses it for art projects.
And I make the garments I like and will wear - hence zero waste dressmaking.

Offline DeniseM

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2011, 11:32:51 AM »
I tried to cut the Tea Garden Tee with zero waste. I now have half a top.

Hyperbolic tessellation.  :computer: :blahblah: :rotfl:

Offline andib

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2011, 12:56:07 PM »
Quote
I can just put the scraps on the compost heap  ;D

OK, I have been composting for years...can I really put my scraps of natural fiber in the heap?  Is it considered "green" or "brown" waste?  what about all the dyes and chemicals used for processing?  You have really got me thinking now!

I usually give most of my scraps to a art teacher friend.  Some are just too small...hmmm

Offline justgail

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2011, 02:07:52 PM »
It looks to me like an idea that's been around for centuries gussied up with fancy words and presented as something new.  Some of those garments I'd wear, others - no way! 

I will say one thing for it - making garments that use every bit of the fabric would certainly solve my problem of "this scrap is usable for.......something.  I'll keep it."
Gail
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Offline Ambimom

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2011, 03:52:08 PM »
[Clearing throat...ahem]

Isn't this the way patchwork quilting got started?

This "zero-waste" nonsense is just pretentious crap from people who think they've invented something that's been around for centuries. They should know better.  Like the teenagers who are gobsmacked to learn that their parents actually engaged in sexual intercourse before they were born.

Offline Bunnykins

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2011, 04:13:59 PM »
'Hyperbolic tessellation"! Yikes!  Had to happen, though.  My DD#1 used to live and breathe origami, so I've spent a fair number of hours looking at wonderful geometric shapes and shapes for which I have no words and, when trying to figure out what to do with a garbage bag full of old her old tshirts, garments/rugs/whatever inspired by made of recycled and waste materials.  My favourite for plain ugliness and heart stopping prices was the design student who made clothing from ripped tights and undyed waste from tight makers' waste sewn together on a serger.  Then there's the very popular lampshades slotted together from a dozen or three identical pieces of light cardboard or translucent plastic. 

I think the clothes are pretty to look at, transitory, frivolous, and, at least for me,  more an exercise in fabric manipulation than fashion.  Somewhere in this house is an old book with folk inspired clothing and one amazing dress cut in a spiral from a then-young Japanese designer.

Offline ljh

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2011, 04:23:44 PM »
Hyperbolic Tessellation indeed.  As in "hyperbole-an exaggeration not intended to be taken literally"?   (Yes, I know-curved planes-but does that mean they curve the fabric before laying out the pattern or something?  Really?)

Moderation in all things.  Minimal waste is certainly a fine thing, but slapping your fabric scraps onto your garment does not actually reduce waste-depending, of course, on how you define "waste".   That said, I think the fad is harmless.
 
I suspect mass market clothing manufacturers do their best to reduce waste, and furthermore, I imagine the chances of them getting their waste recycled in some fashion (rag content for paper, whatever) is far better because they have a regular supply.
Linda

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2011, 06:00:17 PM »
Somewhere in this house is an old book with folk inspired clothing and one amazing dress cut in a spiral from a then-young Japanese designer.

What's the title of the book?  It sounds interesting.

Offline Susan in Saint John

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2011, 06:55:57 PM »
Recently, I was reading "Modern Fashion in Detail" http://www.amazon.ca/Modern-Fashion-Detail-Claire-Wilcox/dp/0879518693.  It includes several designs from the UK from the period in which fabric as rationed during WWII.  This probably wasn't zero waste cutting but it was very economical use of fabric -- necessity is the mother of invention.

Offline blue mooney

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2011, 07:33:47 PM »
I used to make a lot of the folk-type clothing like Fran linked to in her post.Stuff that is made with minimum cutting, and sometimes the pieces are even woven to be the right width. It still has charms for me, although I look like a lumpy peasant in it - probably a lot like the people that wore it originally.

When people started seriously cutting fabric for style, it must have made a big difference, because it caught on and changed clothing completely. Doesn't the word "couture" derive from the word for cutting? Very apt.

Offline Weezie17

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2011, 10:49:13 PM »
To the OP, nice post!!!

I do think some of these garments are meant to be art and draw our attention to a larger issue. But I totally agree with your point. Historically, people really knew how to use their fabric conservatively and achieve beautiful form fitting looks.

In the past tailors looked at their fabric resouces differently than our modern clothing designers do.

Offline BeeBee

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2011, 11:58:33 AM »
It seems to me that the industry has already reduced "waste" - our sleeves are 3/4, our pants are capri, our shirts are cropped and I can't even put a chapstick tube in my jeans pockets.   ::)
That said, I've seen some really cute recycled garments - did anyone else see the girl's blog last year 365 garments in 365 days?  Some of her stuff was very cute and frequently made from stuff no one (in the US) would likely wear again.  Maybe not my style but still cute. 
And I see the fun in designing something "new" or "unique" and not everything has to be worn on the street - though if it's NOT worn on the street I fail to see how it could be "green" but I may have missed the point... ;)

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2011, 06:16:59 PM »

And I see the fun in designing something "new" or "unique" and not everything has to be worn on the street - though if it's NOT worn on the street I fail to see how it could be "green" but I may have missed the point... ;)

So do I--I make clothes out of hand-embroidered vintage linens I get on eBay.  It's just, I'm always irritated by clothes that are clearly an extreme statement that's not meant to be worn by anyone except wealthy fashionistas, which is what I think of a fair amount of runway fashion. OK:  I don't have to make or wear those clothes, and I don't.  But it seems hypocritical to design a garment that is only wearable as an extreme fashion statement, but then claim it's for the purpose of being "green." It seems like just an angle these designers are using to market their careers. Personally, I think "green" is more humble, things like remodeling thrift-shop garments to get something unique but useful, sewing and altering your own clothes, using your scraps to make other things, and so on.

And yes, since ready-to-wear manufacture is all about cutting down both processes and materials to be as economical as possible, I do suspect that most manufacturers are already using as little material as they can manage to produce a style.

« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 06:22:22 PM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2011, 06:04:55 AM »
Here is a response from one of the zero-waste designer who seems to have read this discussion:

http://timorissanen.com/2011/10/09/emotional-zero-waste/

I am sure he has real ethical concerns. But still, carving out a small niche for yourself in the fashion industry or fashion schools, if you can, is probably more successful than being yet another new designer doing much the same things as all the other new designers.

Also, I don't agree that "fashion hasnít offered much personal choice for a long time, if ever."  Except in specific groups where uniforms are worn, such as a religious order, the military, or certain jobs (but only when on the job), there has always been significant personal choice. True, there has always been tension between what individuals want, what most suits their practical needs, and what they can afford; and what society expects them to wear.  And "society" comprises complicated and sometimes conflicting aspects such as socioeconomic status, profession, religious affiliation (more in some historical times and places), political affiliation (ditto), gender, age, marital status (more, historically, for women), any subculture the individual belongs to, time of day/specific activity, and others.  It's not always easy to negotiate all this and certainly, people make compromises.

But people have a great deal of choice, even if they only buy ready-to-wear.  If they sew their own clothes, they have a great deal more.  From my interpretation of clothing history, since the 1960s they've continuously had more choice than in any other era. 

However, as I don't think the design of clothing should be largely an intellectual exercise (part of my criticism of modern zero-waste clothing), I also don't think that making eco-aware choices should be difficult.  If every time they need to buy fabric, people need to extensively research whether a given manufacturer's "organic" cotton or "bamboo"/rayon is actually better for the environment than other fabrics or just marketing, most won't bother.  Especially when they also need to research all the trimmings, thread, the manufacture of their sewing machines, how factory workers in other countries are paid and treated, and a host of other things.

I use vintage fabric and trimmings because I like them. I recycle fabrics and clothing where I can, I cut out garments as economically as I can, and I use my scraps or give them to quilters.  I recycle fabric from muslins into smaller pieces for different muslins, and ditto with large pieces of paper on which I  have drafted my own patterns (for patterns I don't want to save). I reuse large envelopes for patterns I draft or print off the net. And as far as clothing goes, that's about what I have the time and energy to do.  I don't live in a situation or climate where a lot of line drying is practical.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 09:55:20 PM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline Lisanne

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2011, 11:15:12 AM »
Also, I don't agree that "fashion hasnít offered much personal choice for a long time, if ever." 

What an extraordinary thing for someone in fashion to say.  That hasn't been true since the 50s in my experience.  Suggests a person who doesn't notice what people are wearing in the street, let alone the clubs.
Does this make you feel special  ;D  if not, try something else

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Offline ljh

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2011, 03:29:29 PM »
I'm glad we are providing amusement  ;)
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Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2011, 04:59:21 PM »
It's easier to think of the clothing of past eras and different cultures as static because it's harder to understand the nuances, which include the textiles and trimmings as well as the cut.  But certainly, current fashion of our own culture should not be looking uniform to anyone.

Offline Liana

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2011, 08:52:44 PM »
Quote
I do like the idea of all of us wearing rectangles as proposed by ljh. Kind of like what the Russian constructivists and Thayaht (Italian futurist) proposed, no? Totalitarian dress codes Ė bring it on! Because, letís face it, fashion hasnít offered much personal choice for a long time, if ever (read Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys ); time to get honest and decisive about it, and legislate!

Another quote from that blog (Thanks FrancesGrimble!)  which really makes me wonder just how long he/she has been watching fashion or even just clothing.   ::) 

Really?  We need to legislate a dress code, or presumably a 'cutting code'?  Gee, that ought to promote personal choice.  And in case no one else has noticed, there's been a fascination with dressing people in rectangles going on for a long time.  (Sewing Workshop or Cutting Line, anyone?)  It's not always the most flattering choice someone could make, but apparently if this blogger gets his way, it will be our only choice. 

Ah yes, personal fashion freedom and better dressing through rectangles.  ;D

Well, I guess we all think there is hilarity here on one side or the other, and possibly both.  ;)

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2011, 09:08:01 PM »
Quote


Really?  We need to legislate a dress code, or presumably a 'cutting code'?  Gee, that ought to promote personal choice.  And in case no one else has noticed, there's been a fascination with dressing people in rectangles going on for a long time.  (Sewing Workshop or Cutting Line, anyone?)  It's not always the most flattering choice someone could make, but apparently if this blogger gets his way, it will be our only choice. 


I like a lot of the traditional, ethnic-cut garments, but I don't look good in many of them.  And I find the new zero-waste ones to be intellectually interesting--problem is, that's the only recommendation for many of them.  The fashion industry is never going to adopt either the new zero-waste cutting or the old one on any scale.  I see the new zero-waste cutting as good for a few very high-priced garments from one or two companies as long as the publicity looks brand-new and different, and maybe something sort of resembling the old zero-waste cutting if any folk garments come back into fashion for awhile.  But the idea of uniform dressing (zero waste or not) is completely counter to the fashion industry's goal of constantly changing styles so people buy new clothes. If people don't buy enough new clothes, those companies go out of business.  I doubt they want to be as green as all that.  It is true that the US government regulated garment making during World War 2, but that was a crisis where there was a clear and immediate shortage of goods.  I can't see them doing it now.  They can't even resolve the immediate financial crisis.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 09:24:42 PM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline Pina

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2011, 09:58:55 PM »
The only time would wear something like in this picture in the Fabrics for Freedom link is if I wanted to join one of DH's bow and arrow hunting adventures.I made several of his outfits,some very similar like this one.I didn't know it was called Zero waste cutting.  ;)

Offline BetsyV

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2011, 12:28:36 AM »
I must be the dissenter here. Let's look at a couple of Timo Rissanen's points:
"fashion hasnít offered much personal choice for a long time, if ever" I must agree with him/her here (I am no Finn, so I don't know if Timo is male or female), and I don't have to read the links, either. All we can do every "season" is buy the colors/fabrics and patterns available, or not. That's our choice. You can only choose what's available, whether you are shopping for RTW or fabric and patterns to make your own.
Look, really look, at what people are wearing to work, to play, to walk to the coffee shop, wherever. It's shockingly boring and very repetitive. Why? Because people can only choose what's available to buy. That means somebody else is choosing what to make available.

And this suggestion, although it harkens back much further than he/she suggests :
"I do like the idea of all of us wearing rectangles proposed by ljh. Kind of like what the Russian constructivists and Thayaht (Italian futurist) proposed, no? Totalitarian dress codes Ė bring it on! "
Wearing rectangles? Greek toga anyone? traditional smock, anyone? While I am utterly opposed to a totalitarian dress code (or any other totalitarian code of any kind), the rectangular concept was the beginning of clothing, not the end.

Zero waste is a goal and a conscious choice. If there's a way to do it and still achieve an interesting silhouette that flatters my figure, then I'm all for it. I don't worry about the trimmings from my sewing. I don't worry about my single bag of trash every week from a 3-person household. I make a point of putting other people's discarded crap stuff to use whenever I can, whether it's using it or selling it to the scrap metal guy so it goes back into another washing machine or whatever. I do the best I can and waste the least I can. I can't help it - I am an American Yankee and a swamp yankee at that.

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
or do without

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2011, 12:46:33 AM »
I must be the dissenter here. Let's look at a couple of Timo Rissanen's points:
"fashion hasnít offered much personal choice for a long time, if ever" I must agree with him/her here (I am no Finn, so I don't know if Timo is male or female), and I don't have to read the links, either. All we can do every "season" is buy the colors/fabrics and patterns available, or not. That's our choice. You can only choose what's available, whether you are shopping for RTW or fabric and patterns to make your own.

<snip>

Zero waste is a goal and a conscious choice. If there's a way to do it and still achieve an interesting silhouette that flatters my figure, then I'm all for it.

But there is an enormous amount of ready-to-wear available, and a huge number of ways to combine garments. If you sew a much larger choice is available, if you also make (or even alter) your own patterns the choice is even larger. Thrift, online auction, and other online shopping, for clothing, fabrics, linens that can be used as fabrics, and vintage patterns are also ways to expand choices. I design and wear a lot of boho clothes, and wear vintage clothes, that have zip to do with the minis being marketed at department stores. I use vintage trimmings and buttons almost exclusively (I hate synthetic trimmings). And I don't wait for my favorite colors to come into fashion.  I just dye fabrics and clothes.

I live in San Francisco, where absolutely anything goes.  Up to and including a local group (a sort of mini-movement) known as "The Naked Guys," because yes, they are not wearing anything--in public. I see a huge variety of clothing just on the street.  Now, this is a liberal area. There are probably many parts of the US where you can't wear absolutely anything (including nothing) without being stared at.  But that is an issue of what society expects of clothing wearers.  Not of any limits whatever placed on them by what is available to purchase or make.

I too, am all in favor of eco-responsibility. I too, believe that making your own clothing is a good step towards preserving the environment. (And the best way to get exactly what you want to wear, when you want it, with the best fit and quality.)  I too, use up my scraps and so on. And yes, I like that recycling what I already own also saves money.

I just don't see that an ivory-tower strategy relying largely on highly complicated intellectual puzzles, big words, and styles most people won't wear, and which no one at all appears to be making commercially, to be any way to achieve eco-responsibility. It would be better to encourage garment manufacturers to proceed as they already do--except to also use up their scraps or donate them to craft centers or schools where other people will use them to make quilts, fabric collages, yo-yos, or whatever.  But then, maybe garment manufacturers already are doing this.  Just cutting what would be scraps in one with the garment, or piling them on after making it, achieves nothing. As far as I can tell, US (or at least California) garment manufacturers already sell usable lengths of extra fabric and trimmings through discount fabric stores, or their own outlets, and I see these fabrics on eBay too. 

Who knows what US garment (and textile) companies do when they farm out manufacture to third-world countries. I don't see that the US government has much hope of regulating what happens offshore. I also think manufacturing should be brought back to the US to increase the number of jobs here.  But, those are really different issues from whether a pattern should be a one-sheet piece that looks like a puzzle.

Maybe some people are right in saying that these garments are good marketing for, ultimately, making entirely other garments that are also eco-responsible--and more wearable.  Just like clothing manufacturers send extreme styles down the runway primarily as marketing statements for their less extreme ones.  Maybe some people even like extreme fashionista styles.  I just don't see any effort to get down to earth, to the practicalities of what average people really need and want to wear, and what they can easily do. Or for that matter, to the practicalities of what garment manufacturers will be willing to do.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 01:38:24 AM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline Bunnykins

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2011, 01:55:42 AM »
And, going of on something of a tangent, I both agree and disagree that there's no choice in fashion.  Yes, there's literally everything out there to make and buy, but, at the same time, people are expected to look a certain way if they work (curses on those Dress for Success books and Comme les Garcons who dressed women in shapeless all black for years.)  Add to that the irony that a lot of the clothes resemble the old Mao jackets, loose shirts and pants that all of China wore a generation ago.  It's not political, just the cheapest, easiest to make and sloppy fit for everyone of the international garment trade.  I remember when women wore colour and took (had?) time to style themselves, or were pressured into it whether they wanted to or not.

I very much like the retro, self-made, remade fashion that young women are exploring as it gives them more freedom to express their personal style and colour/shape/style that just isn't present in most rtw, not to mention the wonderful fabrics.  This new zero waste clothing looks very nice, but gimmicky and not very do-able at home.

As for that book: it's circa 1985 or so, British, and has a mix of schematics for sewing patterns (man's tartar dressing gown, Victorian nightdress) and knitting.  I don't think it's packed.  I have a man with a plan standing between me and my sewing room.  I've done nothing but sort and pack china/books/baking tins, you name it, for the past month as we're still clearing out the house.  Of course, everything that's left is in a bit of a muddle.  I'll look.  When he's sleeping so he won't chase me with an empty box to be filled.  not kidding.

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2011, 02:08:19 AM »
I very much like the retro, self-made, remade fashion that young women are exploring as it gives them more freedom to express their personal style and colour/shape/style that just isn't present in most rtw, not to mention the wonderful fabrics.

<snip>

As for that book: it's circa 1985 or so, British, and has a mix of schematics for sewing patterns (man's tartar dressing gown, Victorian nightdress) and knitting.  I don't think it's packed. 

<snip>

I also really like the new, youthful DIY sewing movement, whether it's decorating their old T-shirts or drafting their own patterns. I'm hoping a sizable number stick with it, so we have a new generation taking more control over what they wear, and doing interesting and creative things. (Frankly, I have consistently ignored the whole dress-for-success code, suits [yuck], and the black/neutrals trend for my entire career, but it's always nice to have more company.)

Re work clothes, BTW, one thing that makes the recession really visible is just how many people I see walking around in casual clothes during working hours/days. On a sunny day, in the little neighborhood shopping/restaurant districts, it's practically like a block party.

Thanks a lot for looking for the book.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 02:12:42 AM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline Weezie17

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2011, 02:54:31 PM »
I read an article years and years ago by a woman who was a little girl during the Great Depression. She had several sisters. She said money was so tight that there was no money to replace undergarments that wore out or that the girls out grew. A new line of rice became available at the store that was sold in 50 lb bags. The bags were made of linen. All the women in town started buying that brand of rice because they could save the bags and use them for other things.

This woman wrote about washing out the bags to remove the red stamp of name of the company and then laying the unbleached bags out in the sun to dry and turn white. She said that it started out as undergarments but as the years went on people made table linens, baby clothes, and even shirts from these rice bags. The author kept some of the napkins and table cloths. She said that they are much softer and more beautiful than the average linen available in stores today.

This story has stuck with me for a long time and seemed very pertinent to this discussion.

Offline Lisanne

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2011, 04:24:29 PM »
Weezie - thereís a whole range of Ďfeed sackí cotton prints used for quilting - based on the Depression companies who printed patterns on their feed sacks so women would want to have the sacks for making clothes - then use the scraps in quilts.

I think this business of Ďchoiceí depends on how wide a viewpoint you take.
Yes, I say there is very much more freedom of choice now, because in the 50s when I was a teenager it was a trim fitted bodice and big skirt, twin set and pleated skirt, or a pencil skirt suit.  Anything else and you were peculiar at the least.

You might say that there is no choice now as everyone wears slim pants and a knit top.  But that's certainly not true in this neighbourhood.  Much of my blog is about ípersonal styleí.  I constantly receive mail order catalogues, and they each have a different take on what is current - different shapes, different fabrics and prints, different styling details, different ways of combining garments.  Each company is trying to appeal to a different part of the market.  I perceive there being very much more choice about what I can wear than when I was young.  There are also many books on personal style.  Yes, there are a few which say you must wear a black  suit and a white shirt - but I think those are best avoided  ;D  There certainly wasn't any emphasis on personal style in the 50s, conformity was an important social norm.

My big peeve is a tiny point - I need very long pant crotch extensions - no one makes pants like that any more because theyíre very wasteful of fabric to cut !
Iím fascinated by Folkwear patterns, but Iím definitely not going to start wearing pants made out of rectangles. ;D
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 04:56:21 PM by Lisanne »
Does this make you feel special  ;D  if not, try something else

Sewingplums
Aim for Quality - links to good on-line tutorials for sewing basics
Easy Jackets - mainly links to jacket tutorials, in left menu

Offline FrancesGrimble

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2011, 05:24:37 PM »
I read an article years and years ago by a woman who was a little girl during the Great Depression.
<snip>

My father grew up in the South during the Depression.  People bought not only feed and flour but sugar and other things in sacks, and yes, they saved the sacks and made clothes from them.  Even the plain sacks were used for underwear, and he says my grandmother didn't even both to bleach out the company labels/logos for the ones used for underwear.  Old booklets on how to make clothes from flour sacks often appear on eBay at reasonable prices, in the category Collectibles/Sewing/Manuals & Books. Usually they tell you how to bleach out logos and how to lay out commercial patterns (the numbers of which are given) on the sacks.

During World War 2, rationing induced people to remake everything they could. Again, you can still find a lot of booklets on making a woman's suit from a man's, altering clothes into other styles, making dickies and collars to change the look of a suit, and remaking sweaters in ways other than raveling the whole thing to reuse the yarn. (They did that too, but it is more often discussed in knitting booklets specifically. Knitting also had a resurgence.)

The suit directions appear in many booklets.  Often specific commercial patterns were recommended.  But the general idea was to lay the woman's suit jacket pattern up to the front edge of the man's suit, to retain the front edges, collar, pockets, in short as much of the original tailoring as possible. The skirts were narrow and laid out "upside-down" in the wide part of the trousers, and I suspect often pieced a little at the bottom with fabric from the lower part of the trousers.

Remaking clothes seems to have become much less popular in the 1950s.  People had undergone years of hardship during the 1930s and 1940s, and they wanted to forget about it all and have brand-new clothes.  Preferably, ready-to-wear clothes. I have 1950s sewing manuals that tell readers they will learn to make clothes so well that they can tell their friends the clothes are ready-to-wear. 

The 1970s saw a DIY resurgence much like today's, except the styles were different.  People wanted more self-expression and individuality than they could get with ready-to-wear.  Buying (and sometimes remodeling) thrift-shop clothing was a way to get a wide range of different styles and fabrics cheap. On the fancy end, Folkwear patterns were very popular. I knew people who used all the instructions for hand embroidery, hand quilting, etc., spending weeks on each garment before they even began to assemble it.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 05:46:44 PM by FrancesGrimble »

Offline Back2Sew

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Re: Let me fume about zero-waste cutting
« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2011, 09:33:38 PM »
As a quilter I have always believed in Zero Waste. Whenever I cut into a new piece of fabric I always think my grandmother would be horified. I can hear her now, "Your going to take that big piece of fabric, cut it into little pieces and sew it back together?" There was a fabric hierarchy -- first clothing or curtains, then quilt or rug, then rag.  Even now, my frugal nature requires me to never throw away anything without first cutting off anything possibly useful in the future like buttons and zippers. Particularly zippers - it can be difficult to get long ones with metal teeth -- not to mention expensive for mending jackets.

I think the problem I am having is not with the zero waste idea as much as the idea that one section of fabric needs to be used for one garment. Couldn't you use a variety of fabrics and make several individual pieces and still use all of the material?  If the fabric doesn't match, you may be able to use it as interfacing. Not being an apparel sewist, I don't know if that would work or not. 

 

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