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International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education Precious cut: exploring creative pattern cutting and draping for zero-waste design Precious cut: exploring creative pattern cutting and draping for zero-waste design


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The purpose of this practice-based study was to introduce and test within zero-waste framework the application of Transformational Reconstruction (TR), which is an innovative pattern-making technique. Contemporary methods of fashion construction create a waste of 15% of the total fabric, leaving a 'significant ecological footprint'. Without changing the basic silhouette of contemporary women's day wear, three garments were designed and constructed with different zero-waste methods (one jigsaw and two TR) to reduce or eliminate fabric waste from the cutting process of creating garments as well as achieving figure flattering fit. From these experimentations, it was evident that utilization of TR toward zero-waste resulted in more fitted garments. In addition, in this innovative technique, the pattern cutting process was integrated into the design progression, which enabled the designer to think in three-dimensional rather than two-dimensional space. Hence, unlike the traditional zero-waste practices, the final look of the garment was often predictable with minor changes. ARTICLE HISTORY
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International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and
ISSN: 1754-3266 (Print) 1754-3274 (Online) Journal homepage:
Precious cut: exploring creative pattern cutting
and draping for zero-waste design
Elahe Saeidi & Virginia Schreffler Wimberley
To cite this article: Elahe Saeidi & Virginia Schreffler Wimberley (2017): Precious cut: exploring
creative pattern cutting and draping for zero-waste design, International Journal of Fashion Design,
Technology and Education, DOI: 10.1080/17543266.2017.1389997
To link to this article:
Published online: 24 Oct 2017.
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Precious cut: exploring creative pattern cutting and draping for zero-waste design
Elahe Saeidi
and Virginia Schreffler Wimberley
Department of Textile, Apparel & Merchandising, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA;
Department of Clothing, Textiles and
Interior Design, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
The purpose of this practice-based study was to introduce and test within zero-waste framework
the application of Transformational Reconstruction (TR), which is an innovative pattern-making
technique. Contemporary methods of fashion construction create a wate of 15% of the total
fabric, leaving a significant ecological footprint. Without changing the basic silhouette of
contemporary womens day wear, three garments were designed and constructed with different
zero-waste methods (one jigsaw and two TR) to reduce or eliminate fabric waste from the
cutting process of creating garments as well as achieving figure flattering fit. From these
experimentations, it was evident that utilization of TR toward zero-waste resulted in more fitted
garments. In addition, in this innovative technique, the pattern cutting process was integrated
into the design progression, which enabled the designer to think in three-dimensional rather
than two-dimensional space. Hence, unlike the traditional zero-waste practices, the final look of
the garment was often predictable with minor changes.
Received 1 May 2017
Accepted 3 October 2017
Zero-waste design; fixed-
area-jigsaw; transformational
reconstruction; creative
pattern cutting; draping
Textile waste is created in either the pre-consumer or the
post-consumer stages of a garments lifecycle. As Hawley
(2006) has summarised, pre-consumer textile waste con-
sists of excess fiber, yarn, fabric, and garments during
manufacturing while post-consumer textile waste is cre-
ated by consumers, which may consist of any type of gar-
ment or household item that has become unnecessary.
Agreeing with Anastas and Zimmerman (2003) that it
is better to prevent waste than to treat or cleanup
waste after it is formed(p. 96A), this study is concerned
with pre-consumer textile waste and, more specifically,
the waste created during the design and cutting
Since garments typically do not exist without fabric or
textiles, Fashion designers often regard fabric as their
raw material, but fabric really is a finished product in
its own right(Rissanen, 2005, p. 7). Conventional pat-
tern pieces have irregular shapes, which make them dif-
ficult to interlock perfectly in order to use 100% of fabric
length and width (Rissanen, 2013). Thus, the amount of
fabric waste is dependent upon how closely the pieces
can interlock on a fabric spread. With the contemporary
methods of fashion construction only effectively using
85% of the fabric spread in a garment, 15% of the total
fabric is left on the cutting room floor (Cooklin, 1997;
McQuillan, 2011). The fabric waste for adult outerwear
varies from 10% to 20%, with an estimation of 10% for
trousers or pants and greater percentages for blouses,
jackets, and underwear (Rissanen, 2013). Since fabric
as a finished product embodies the time and effort of
all the people who contribute to the fiber to fabric pro-
cessing, wasting a percentage of the fabric is also wasting
the embodied effort of all individuals who had contribu-
ted to the fabric production (Fletcher, 2008; Rissanen,
Appearance, fit, and cost are the three of the primary
criteria for conventional fashion design (Rissanen, 2013;
Rissanen & McQuillan, 2016). Appearance, which is the
principal criterion of fashion design includes attributes
such as garment shape, balance, and use of color, texture
and line(p. 78). Fit, the second criterion indicates how
the garment sits on the body and the amount of ease
incorporated in pattern pieces. Ease is subject to vari-
ation by consumer preferences and contemporary speci-
fications, with some companies allowing more ease in an
attempt to fit a wider range of body types versus compa-
nies that have a narrower customer niche. In most cases,
appearance and fit have a direct relationship with each
other. In other words, the fit of the garment on the
body has an influence on the appearance as well. Cost,
the third criterion, refers to the total expenses, including
fabric, notions, labour, and company overhead, that are
© The Textile Institute and Informa UK Ltd 2017
CONTACT Elahe Saeidi Department of Textile, Apparel & Merchandising, Louisiana State University, Human Ecology Building, Baton
Rouge, LA, 70803, USA
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involved in sending the garment to the retail store. While
cost is one of these criteria for evaluating designs, it was
beyond the scope of this study to include the reduction of
costs by limiting the amount of yardage used in a design
nor is the reduction of labour considered since the time
to design a zero waste design frequently takes more time
than conventional design methods (Rissanen, 2013).
Therefore, the focus of this study was on the appearance
and fit criteria.
Research objectives
Previous researchers have proposed that the fashion
designer, marker maker, and pattern cutter can have a
great influence on the amount of fabric waste generated
in the design process and by working together are
capable of producing garments with minimal or no fab-
ric waste (James, Roberts, & Kuznia, 2016; Rissanen,
2013; Townsend & Mills, 2013). To be more specific,
creating zero-waste garments is only possible if pattern
cutting is an integral, active part of the fashion design
process(Rissanen, 2013, p. 26). Zero-Waste Pattern
Cutting (ZWPC) is the process of eliminating the typical
1520% of fabric waste at the cutting stage by using the
entire width and length of the fabric (Townsend & Mills,
2013). The purpose of the present research was to intro-
duce and test the application of an innovative pattern-
making technique, Transformational Reconstruction
(TR), within the zero-waste framework to determine
whether the TR could be applied toward zero-waste
design. Then the TR is compared with the jigsaw puzzle,
the technique most frequently used and a basic zero-
waste practice. Hence the study addresses the following
(1) Can TR reduce the amount of fabric waste and lead
to zero-waste design?
(2) Can TR produce more easily a closely fitted and aes-
thetic design with its 3-D process in comparison to
the 2-D flat pattern jigsaw processes?
Historical and contemporary zero waste
The zero waste approach is not a new concept. Patterns,
taken from historical clothing, show that less fabric was
wasted in the process of making fashionable garments.
Indigenous clothing and traditional dress such as the
Greek Ionic chiton and Indian sari are examples of
zero waste design concepts because cloth was clothing
itself(Rudofsky, 1947, p. 143), since they are pieces of
cloth draped around the body without being cut or
stitched; therefore, none is wasted. The Japanese kimono
is also an example of a zero waste traditional garment.
No waste is created in the cutting process; all pieces of
the garment are restricted to the width and length of
the traditional Japanese cloth (Rudofsky, 1947).
During the Pre-Industrial Revolution period, pro-
duction of textiles and garments was time-consuming;
therefore, fabrics were treated as a precious resource
and Pre-Industrial Societies tried to use every cut piece,
which sometimes resulted in using 100% of the fabric
(Burnham, 1973). European tailors and dressmakers
for centuries were able to eliminate fabric waste in the
cutting process and pattern development (Tarrant,
1994). Hill and Bucknell (1967) state that before the
1800s, the width of the fabric and its costs dictated the
way of the cutting; therefore, most of the time patterns
were closely interlocked and had negligible cut-offs to
use fabric efficiently. After the Industrial Revolution,
the textile industry improved through new technologies
in producing textiles with the result that some fabrics
became so inexpensive that the amount of waste was
not regarded as problematic or of concern (Schneider,
During the twentieth century, examples of no-waste
garments are those of 1940s fashion designer, Claire
McCardell who used two rectangles sewn together in
her designs and fitting was achieved with elastic bands
either at the shoulder, under the bust or the waist
(Rudofsky, 1947). The first decade of the twenty-first
century has seen the emergence of more zero-waste
fashion designers who have started eliminating or redu-
cing waste in their designs in different ways. One way to
approach zero-waste design is to reuse fabric scraps from
the cutting process as an embellishment in the garment.
Natalie Chanin, the founder of the American company
Alabama Chanin, has established her company based
on the principle of sustainability. All the garments are
made with either organic or recycled materials by the
hand of local artisans. Any waste fabric is used as an
embellishment, patchwork, or appliquè (Brown, 2010).
Mark Liu is another designer who converts the negative
space of the fabric to positive by cutting the edges with a
laser cutter and using them as decorative external seams
(Rissanen, 2008).
Basic zero-waste design approaches
The zero-waste approach means that the designer needs
to know the fabric and design dimension to be able to
design the zero-waste garment. According to Rissanen
(2013), The textile width is always a crucial consider-
ation in zero-waste design. You cannot design zero-
waste without knowing exactly how wide the textile is.
The textile width is the space within which you create
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zero-waste fashion design(p. 5). Holly McQuillan
(2011) has classified different ways to approach zero-
waste fashion design through patternmaking, including
tessellation and jigsaw puzzle with the fixed area and
with the width of fabric.
Tessellation consists of one shape or motif that is
repeated to fill the width and length of the fabric.
Depending on the tessellated shape, there can be wasted
areas that are not included in the design, which is mostly
along the selvedge of the fabric. Holly McQuillan has
tried different ways to overcome this problem; one is
using mathematical objects called fractal, which have
random shapes to reduce or eliminate the waste at the
edges. However, such a method would need considerable
mathematical work and calculation. The other solution
would be using smaller tessellated patterns as they get
close to the edges of the fabric (McQuillan, 2011).
Even if the waste is eliminated, according to McQuillan
(2011), the process of applying these shapes to a dress
form leads to a garment design process more akin to
sculpture than drape(p. 89). Carrico and Kim (2014)
suggest using tessellated shapes with straight edges
instead of curved ones to align with the grain but they
supplemented the tessellated shapes with additional
shapes beyond the tessellated pattern. The shortcomings
of the tessellated approach, in general, are as follows.
First, the final look is not fully predictable before the cut-
ting process is finished. Second, this method cannot fol-
low the curves of the human body without the
overlapping process or adding supplementary shapes.
Finally, the whole process could consume a greater
amount of fabric in producing the tessellated shapes to
cover the body by layering in comparison to a conserva-
tive, modern cutting method.
The jigsaw method requires the designer to be profi-
cient in pattern cutting techniques in order to manip-
ulate the pattern pieces to interlock with each other
without any fabric waste (McQuillan, 2011). Zero-
waste pattern cutter, Mark Liu (2010), explains zero-
waste design from a technical perspective: it involves fit-
ting all the flat pieces of your clothing pattern like a jig-
saw puzzle so no fabric is wasted(para 1). In the jigsaw
method, in contrast to the tessellation method, a variety
of different pattern shapes may be used and, like the tes-
sellation method, the pattern is the generator of the gar-
ment design; therefore, the final look is less predictable.
McQuillan (2011) uses two factors as guides to start
her design process: first the width of the fabricand
second the fixed area. The fixed area is the only area
of the design that is predictable and will be the foun-
dation of the design from which the rest of the design
radiates outward; it might be the shape of the neckline
or a decision on the fitting of a specific part of the
garment. McQuillans goal is to eliminate waste rather
than use less fabric; thus she does not restrict the design
to a specific yardage (2011). Thus, for designing zero-
waste garments the designer needs to have a complete
and clear plan, which involves not only the technical
details but also considers the final appearance of the gar-
ment. Unlike the typical patternmaking process, the pla-
cement of all the pattern pieces in zero-waste design
must be planned simultaneously in order to interlock
the pieces. While the approaches for zero-waste design
require more time than conventional fashion design,
the benefit is in the reduction of the ecological footprint
by reducing waste of resources.
Transformational reconstruction
As the conventional design process results in patterns, a
creative methodology in pattern cutting is a start point to
eliminate fabric waste. Hence, creative pattern cutting is
imperative to achieve zero-waste fashion design (Rissa-
nen & McQuillan, 2016). In the two-dimensional form
of patternmaking, it is difficult to consider the shape of
the pattern pieces, in order to be able to interlock with
each other and the fit of the garment simultaneously.
As noted by Rissanen (2008), draping techniques,
which involve the three-dimensional form of pattern-
making may solve the difficulties of using a two-dimen-
sional flat pattern technique.
TR is an innovative patternmaking technique by a
Japanese designer, Shingo Sato, where manipulation of
pattern pieces is three-dimensional rather than two-
dimensional. In this technique, pattern cutting is inte-
grated into the design process as desirable design lines
are drawn on an already fitted-control toile on a dress
form to create the pattern. Conventional fitting devices,
such as darts and waistline seams, can be eliminated by
converting to the seam-lines of the drawn design lines.
In order to use pattern pieces two-dimensionally, the
toile is removed from the dress form, cut apart along
the design lines, and then laid flat on the fabric as pattern
pieces. As Rissanen and McQuillan (2016) noted, what
distinguishes zero waste fashion design from conven-
tional fashion design is that the pattern cutting must
be integral to the design process(p. 88).
Method and procedures
While designing garments without fabric waste was the
primary purpose of this research, the ability to use the
TR for zero waste design was equally important. The
goal of the zero-waste designs in this study was to mini-
mise or eliminate the fabric waste but not necessarily to
use less total fabric yardage. Zero-waste garments in this
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study used all of the fabric, both lengthwise and across
the full width without compromising the fit or aesthetics
of a garment.
The total study involved the design and construction
of five zero-waste test garments and the testing of their
appearance and fit; three are discussed in this paper in
detail: one with the jigsaw puzzle and two TR garments.
This study focuses on achieving the best appearance and
fit as fabric waste in the cutting process is eliminated.
After constructing garments in fashion fabrics, four
departmental graduate faculty members evaluated each
garment to determine whether these designs were
appealing to contemporary consumers, based on appear-
ance and fit criteria.
Evaluation criteria
In thinking about what makes a design basically appeal-
ing without being wearable art or extremely avant-garde,
fit and appearance seem to be major factors as classified
by Rissanen (2013). To judge these two criteria, a design
criteria form was developed and pre-tested before
being utilised by a panel for the evaluation of each of
the three designs to determine if the zero-waste designs
in this study were successful for the criteria of appear-
ance and fit.
Appearance was the most challenging attribute to
define, because different companies and designers may
have various concepts/attributes about the appearance
of the garment. Therefore, appearance in this study
was categorised by its component elements: such as
Zero/low waste look was defined as whether it was notice-
able that the garment was made using a zero-waste
method (because frequently garment parts or details
are included to use waste pieces to get to zero-waste
but the resultant look is awkward, bulky or crafty) or
conventional looking, Visual aesthetic was referred to
as the overall appearance of the garment while Unity
of design: existed when all elements in a composition
work together for one purpose(Brockman, 1965,
p. 82). In other words, if all the parts look cohesive,
belong to each other and nothing is out of scale or pro-
portion. A single strong focal point/ center of interest
was characterised as to whether there is a specific
element, which is the dominant contribution. All other
elements should be in a supportive relation with the
dominant element or the focal point (Brockman, 1965,
p. 82). A means of transfer of interest, was achieved
when the observers eye could move smoothly from the
focal point to the wearers face rather than staying on
the focal point (Brockman, 1965, p. 82). For the criteria
of Elements of a design: it was judged successful if the
embellishment and details of the design were relevant
to the design and not just used to minimise the waste.
Since a design can vary between a very loosely fitted
design to a close fitted design, fit was described by
three elements: Set (garment sits on body without undo
wrinkle caused by improper grain position or improper
size of the panel to fit the body part); proper ease (The
amount of ease is appropriate to a design and purpose
of the garment); and Hang of garment (the silhouette
projects outward from the body equal distanced all
around the figure). These criteria for apperance and fit
were listed in the order presented above on the evalu-
ation form used by the judges to rank the designs on a
three point scale of 1 to 3 from weak to excellent.
Since the TR process starts with a fitted toile and then the
lines are drawn on this toile to develop the final look
without any waste. Therefore, the general process
involved making patterns by either flat pattern (jigsaw
with the fixed area) or by draping techniques to make
the TR fitted toile. With the desired look determined,
the pattern pieces were laid on the width of fabric, as clo-
sely as possible, to determine whether fabric waste would
result before cutting. This step could be done manually
on the fabric, using a paper marker layout or a computer
screen image sized to the width of the fabric. In this
study, the manual layout of pattern pieces on the fabric
was utilised. In order to achieve zero-waste, in some
cases the pattern pieces were modified in order to inter-
lock with each other, causing some minor changes from
the initial design of the garment. As McQuillan (2011)
states ‘…the pattern is the originator of the garment
design(p. 92); therefore, the final look of the garment
is not fully predictable. Photography was used during
each stage in order to document pattern development
and toile fitting. After approval of the toile, the garments
were made in an appropriate fashion fabric without the
complication of woven or printed patterns.
Limitations of the study
Since some zero-waste techniques, such as jigsaw, are not
applicable to every type of design, there was no attempt
made to force every zero-waste technique to produce the
same style garment. Similarly, since some of the zero-
waste techniques require specific characteristics of fabric
performance; there was no attempt to make the same
fabric perform in every technique or garment type.
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Experiments results
Experiment 1: jigsaw puzzle with fixed area
The first practice used the jigsaw puzzle methodology
with the fixed area to create a jacket with minimum or
zero-waste. In this test garment, the hood of the jacket
was chosen as the fixed area. This allowed the designer
to manipulate all the pattern pieces except the hood.
For instance, the sleeve was one of the modified pieces
that was constructed with four-pieces instead of the
usual one piece. These changes did not alter the overall
design and silhouette of the garment. The negative
areas were purposefully incorporated into the design
without awkward attachment (Figure 1). The purpose
was to integrate the negative space into the design either
functionally or aesthetically (as self-fabric embellish-
ment) (Figure 2). For instance, patches on shoulders,
which resulted from the front and back shoulder seam
slopes were reversed. The negative space around the
top of the hood (on the pattern) was included to the
design as an embellishment on the hood. Waste areas
of front neckline were used functionally as an inside
pocket with four stitched segmented chambers to hold
pens. Small triangles from between cutting sleeve pieces
were functionally used as button placement reinforce-
ment, since the buttons were heavier in comparison to
the weight of the fabric, instead of using fusible interlin-
ing. Irregular negative space shapes resulting from creat-
ing the curved armscyes shape were utilised functionally
and aesthetically as an adjustable back waistband, which
helped the fitting of the coat (since it was not possible to
make the jacket fitted during the preliminary trials) and
gave it more feminine look.
In this jigsaw technique for zero waste, the designer
needs to be proficient in pattern cutting techniques for
manipulating the pattern pieces to interlock with each
other without compromising the fit and appearance of
the garment. Although 100% of the fabric was not uti-
lised, the fabric was used very efficiently with minimal
waste. It was the designers choice to leave four small
wasted pieces, which were not possible to be used either
functionally or aesthetically, instead of using them
Experiment 2: transformational reconstruction 1
Utilising the TR technique toward zero-waste involves a
very different design hierarchy. Unlike the traditional
Figure 1. Denim coat pattern layout utilising jigsaw puzzle practice.
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design process where a designer creates the design
sketch, then drafts pattern pieces, and tests the patterns
and fit by making a muslin toile; this TR technique com-
bines both design and patternmaking process. The TR
practice starts with a control fitted garment. The
designer then draws the desired design lines, using
expertise in patternmaking and design in order to place
the design lines in an appropriate place to keep the
shape and fitting of the final garment. In the other
word, in the TR technique, appropriate and desirable
fit is achieved by developing seam placement, which
could be an equivalent to dart manipulation in the con-
ventional design process.
The process of this experiment began by draping a
basic bodice and skirt with waist dart control in a basic
fitted muslin. For ease of interlocking and cohesive
appearance, the straight design lines were drawn, on
this muslin fitted garment, to create pattern pieces
that would have the same width at opposing edges
(Figure 3). In developing the cutting lines, the muslin
was removed from the dress form and cut open on the
design lines. Then the pattern pieces were placed on
folded fabric until the most efficient use of fabric was
achieved. Minor corrections were applied to the pattern
pieces for a zero-waste design. After placing all the pat-
tern pieces, the process of integrating possible wasted
areas to the design began. The priority of designers
approach for eliminating fabric waste was to integrate
Figure 2. Denim coat, jigsaw puzzle experiment.
Figure 3. Control fitted garment of the TR 1.
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the wasted areas into the design first as facing and then as
an embellishment. Therefore, the negative spaces were
converted to bias pieces for finishing the armscyes and
bottom hemline. Smaller triangular pieces were used to
get a better armscye shape at the intersection with the
side seam (Figure 4).
Fabric choice is also critical to the appearance since all
the pattern pieces needed to be cut from one fabric. In
this test, a double-sided fabric was used, which allowed
the pieces to utilise the reverse side for a two-colour pat-
tern effect overall (Figure 5).
The common belief about zero-waste garments is that
they result in bulky and loose silhouettes with unusual
appearances. Utilising TR toward zero-waste design
could lead the designer to design the fitted garment
and still use fabric efficiently. A second zero-waste gar-
ment was created with this technique to develop TR
within the zero-waste framework and illustrate the feasi-
bility of this technique in creating fitted and beautiful
garments while eliminating fabric waste.
Experiment 3: transformational reconstruction 2
To show the application of the TR technique within the
zero-waste framework, instead of straight lines, curved
and non-straight seam lines were applied in the last
experiment. Different designs with curved lines were
explored to use fabric efficiently, all of which did not
quite succeed in achieving zero-waste. The use of curved
design lines required a greater amount of mathematical
calculation in order to fit one curve into another. Con-
sidering the fact that all the processes from patternmak-
ing to altering the pattern pieces to making the garment
were done manually in this project, using curved lines in
a symmetrical design was very demanding and time-con-
suming. Therefore, the researchers decided to design an
asymmetrical look, which required working full width
instead of half. Using an asymmetrically fitted-control
garment, in this exercise, was the designers choice
(Figure 6). After constructing the asymmetrically
fitted-control toile, various design lines, each using a
different colour, were drawn until the most desirable
design lines were established. Then the toile was removed
from the dress form and cut open. The researchers
thought it best to draw the lines along the waist-fitting
as closely as possible in order to be able to lay the pattern
pieces flat on the fabric. Since the bust darts were not inte-
grated into design lines, they were unstitched to lie
smoothly flat when pattern pieces were placed on the fab-
ric. One of the back-fitting darts was incorporated into a
design line and the other back dart was retained in the
design but was opened to lay flat for cutting. After all
the pieces were placed on the fashion fabric in the least
wasteful formation, there were still some negative spaces
around the pattern pieces.
The wasted areas were incorporated into the design
both functionally such as facing and pocket and
Figure 4. Dress pattern layout utilising the TR technique.
Figure 5. Final look of the zero-waste dress with TR technique.
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aesthetically, as bow (unused piece were coloured on the
pattern lay out). Since the researchersrole in this project
was as both fashion designer and pattern maker, they
decided to make some changes in the design to use fabric
more efficiently as shown in the final look of the garment
(Figure 7). The yellow areas were incorporated to the
length of the longer vertical pieces, which resulted in
having a graduated hemline and were coherent with
the initial design. Green areas above the shoulder were
also integrated into design and used as a self-fabric
bow. The armhole was finished with the semi-bias strips
from above the facing pieces. The waste areas at the front
and back armcsyes were also used functionally as an
inseam pocket (Figure 8), with the result that all pieces
cut were used in the design.
Judges evaluation
To judge the consumer acceptance of these designs is
beyond the scope of this paper; but to prepare for a
larger sampling of reactions, a pilot study instrument
was designed and tested by four departmental graduate
faculty. The ideal would be to have the garments be a
zero-waste garment without looking deviant from con-
temporary fashion. Therefore, the survey instrument
asked for reactions to the appearance and fit. While
the judges knew that they were looking at all zero-
waste designs in the study which may be a limitation,
the overall scores on designs showed that the two TRs
received higher scores (asymmetrical TR2: 2.96, dress
TR1: 2.93) than jigsaw jacket (2.84) (Figure 9(a)).
With regard to Appearance of the designs the TR dress
was rated highest (3) and both TR2 and Jigsaw were
equally high at 2.95 (Figure 9(b)). While the jigsaw gar-
ment had fit achieved by a back waistband and not by
seaming, it still elicited acceptable rating of 2.67 though
of course lower than the more closely fitted TRs
approaches with Fit scores of TR2 at 3 and TR1 at 2.83
(Figure 9(c)).
Figure 6. Control fitted garment of the TR2.
Figure 7. Final look of the zero-waste top with TR technique.
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By assessing the responses of the third practice, which
was designed and constructed with TR technique, it was
found that utilising the TR within the zero-waste frame-
work resulted in designing fitted zero-waste garments.
Even though the silhouette of the control fitted garments
were very curvy and close fitting, utilising complex seam
lines helped to interlock pattern pieces and create fitted
garment without fabric waste. The appearance of the gar-
ment was appealing and rated as excellentin all ques-
tions related to appearance. Regarding the appearance
of the TR2, all the participants rated the appearance of
the garment as excellentexcept one, who rated the gar-
ment as good. Similar evaluations were given by the
same participants regarding the fit of the garment.
Discussion and conclusion
With the increasing number of fashion designers work-
ing for store brands or starting their own lines, we
have the potential for creating the rapid increase of fabric
waste in the cutting process (Rissanen, 2013). In order to
prevent this from happening, designers need to be
encouraged to think about changing their design process
one that focuses upon reducing and eliminating fabric
waste before the garment reaches the consumer.
This practice-based research was intended to intro-
duce and test the new application of the TR technique
within the zero-waste framework, without changing the
basic silhouette of contemporary womens wear, by
designing and constructing garments with different
zero-waste methods to reduce or eliminate fabric
waste from the cutting process of creating garments.
Addressing the first research question, it was evidenced
from the experimentations and patterns layout of the
two TR garments (Figure 4,Figure 8) that the utiliz-
ation of TR leads to zero-waste design. Complex
seam lines development in the TR provide the possi-
bility of interlocking pattern pieces and using fabric
To reference the second research question, the
authors realise that creating fitted garments with TR
was more easily achievable than with the jigsaw
methods. In addition, utilization of complex seam
lines on the control fitted garment enables the designer
to think in three-dimensional space rather than two-
dimensional. Further, unlike traditional zero-waste
practices of tessellation and jigsaw where the output
of the zero-waste design is often unpredictable, with
TR technique, the final look of the garment is predict-
able with minor changes; and in some cases, it is iden-
tical to the initial design as was the case in the first TR
dress with straight lines.
Following the development of TR technique and the
process of design and redesign of the second TR
Figure 8. Top pattern layout utilising TR technique.
Downloaded by [University of Alabama] at 10:06 25 October 2017
experiment, it was found that the collaboration of designer
and pattern maker would combine the design and pat-
tern-making process, which could be the initial step to
break the current and relatively fixed process of the tra-
ditional fashion design production. The adoption of the
zero-waste methodology can make this linear process
more interactive as the designer and pattern maker need
to work as a team and collaborate with each other. This
finding is very similar to prior studies in the realm of
zero-waste (James et al., 2016; Rissanen, 2013).
In terms of continuing this research, a larger sample of
randomly selected individuals will be surveyed to assess
the potential for acceptance by consumers for these
zero-waste designs. Interlocking pattern pieces leaves
no room to reduce or increase pattern pieces, because
changing one piece impacts another, which is a limiting
factor for changing each design for a whole size range. To
apply zero-waste in mass-production, more research is
required for grading patterns to produce the usual size
range of several sizes. While none of the designs created
for this study had linings and many contemporary
womens wear garments do contain linings for covering
inside construction, building body into the garment and
providing long-term stability and shape retention,
further testing with linings as part of the design would
need to be explored.
With contemporary design and construction methods
only effectively using 85% of the fabric expended in a
garment, the application of zero-waste design tech-
niques would improve fabric utilization to reduce this
waste. While taking more time at the beginning of
the design process, the designer and pattern maker
essentially solve the problem of what to do with fabric
scrap before they become a real problem. This effi-
ciency of cloth utilization reduces the environmental
impact of the loss of energy and material inputs for
the textile formation as well as increased cost of
transportation and disposal for fabric waste. The end
result would be a more profitable apparel production
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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... Pre-consumer textile waste consists of excess fiber, yarns, fabrics, and garments generated during manufacturing, while post-consumer textile waste is created by consumers and can consist of any type of garment or household item that has become unnecessary. (Saeidia and Wimberleyb, 2018) This study focuses on pre-consumer textile waste. More specifically, the waste created during the design and cutting process that we would like to eliminate. ...
... Since current fashion construction methods effectively use only 85% of a garment's fabric width, 15% of the total fabric remains as waste. Fabric waste for adult outerwear varies from 10% to 20%, with an estimated 10% for trousers or pants and a higher percentage for blouses, jackets, and underwear (Rissanen, 2013, Saeidia andWimberleyb, 2018). ...
... Designers can play with the manner fabric is draped to create new designs, or they can work with a flat pattern cutting method or draping, or combine both techniques, which is also the process of sketching. a (Saeidia andWimberleyb, 2018, Rissanen, McQuillan 2016). ...
Full-text available
... Thus, zero-waste designers tend to create one-size-fits-most options, customized one-off designs, or single-consumer use pattern options for home use, thus limiting mass-market applicability. Each of these approaches addresses the global carbon footprint challenge [9]. Despite the environmental benefits, zero-waste pattern design, as an apparel production approach, is not without its challenges. ...
... A one-size-fits-all garment may be feasible for a small number of apparel items, and may suit some consumers. However, in order to fully assimilate a sustainable practice like zero-waste into today's fashion markets, zero-waste garments will need to resemble current apparel assortments in the ready-to-wear category, which includes being available in a range of sizes [9]. ...
Full-text available
The implementation of standardized grading production practices within the mass market has been challenging for scholars experimenting with zero-waste apparel design. The purpose of this research was to test the efficacy of the Carrico Zero-waste Banded Grading (CZWBG) technique, which utilizes bands inserted in strategic locations as a method of grading zero-waste patterns across various consumer categories. An additional purpose was to evaluate the ways in which this grading approach affected the aesthetic outcomes of garments across a size run, and to determine whether this method affected the overall design process of the designers involved. Through experimental research design, six design scholars successfully tested and incorporated the CZWBG technique in zero-waste one or two-piece apparel item(s), subsequently developing three sizes in an industry-specified size range for their product category. Each design was cut from zero-waste patterns in a mid-range size and graded up and down one–two sizes using an industry-standardized grading scale. The grading was achieved by varying the widths and lengths of strategically inserted bands of fabric or trim. The designers utilized various grading methods, textiles, pattern development methods, and size runs, showing that the CZWBG technique can successfully be applied across multiple consumer categories in the apparel industry.
... The volume of textile leftovers is systematically underreported and thus underestimated by the industry (Runnel et al. 2017a, b). Leftover generation and fabric loss from garment production (mainly from the cutting and sewing process) is relatively well known and the manufacturers are making considerable efforts to optimise their processes and avoid or minimise waste (Nayak et al., 2008;Saeidi & Wimberley, 2017;Townsend & Mills, 2013). However, very little research has been done to analyse and estimate the amount of fabric waste that is related to other problems with fabric quality as well as manufacturing and resource planning (Runnel et al., 2017a, b). ...
... The textile waste and leftover analyses were carried out via repeated site inspections, interviews with key staff and screenings of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data extracts as well as material and waste inventory data for both studied companies. The main categories of textile waste and fabric leftovers presented in this research are derived from a general classification used in the textile industry (Nayak et al., 2008;Ng et al., 1999;Saeidi & Wimberley, 2017;Townsend & Mills, 2013). The types and causes of manufacturing related fabric leftovers and loss generation were also studied in both companies during the waste analysis. ...
Full-text available
This paper summarises the results of a more than 5-year practice-led study on the use of upcycling design and production methods in garment mass production. The efficiency of upcycling design approach is described by analysing the generation and potential use of various types of fabric leftovers from garment manufacturing. The results of this research show that depending on the size of the factory the fabric leftovers and textile waste generated in garment production ranges from 25–40% of the total fabric used. Experiments show that 50% of that material can be upcycled into new garments and for some types of leftover—mainly spreading loss and excess fabric—it can even be up to 80%. Implementing upcycling on the industrial level requires transparency to understand the waste created in garment production and create designs that suite the production system. It is important to consider that the upcycling design process differs from regular design—a garment is designed based on the parameters of the waste materials.
... In total, adjustability was addressed along the waistline through adjustable elastic casings (4) and belt, underarm/side seam through snaps, and sleeve width along hem through a belt-like approach. After completion of the utility dress, a zero waste pattern cutting technique, tessellation (Carrico & Kim, 2014;Saeidi & Wimberley, 2018), was used to cut petite hexagon shapes from the remaining small pieces of textiles to create a honeycomb patch to cover the damaged area on the original pant. To balance the patch on the skirt portion of the dress, a smaller honeycomb patch was created and applied to the upper left sleeve area. ...
... Zero waste patterns can eliminate the cutting waste, but the pattern design can take more time than traditional patternmaking (Rissanen, 2014). In addition to the increased time needed for making zero waste patterns, generating the designs in a range sizes has been a hurdle for taking zero waste designs to market (Carrico & Kim, 2014;Rissanen, 2014;Saeidi & Wimberley, 2018); hence, very few zero waste designs available are sold in a range of sizes for consumers. If designers were tasked with generating new patterns and zero waste layouts for each size in a range, they may not have the time necessary to devote to such work. ...
... Berdasarkan pengalaman dan pemerhatian penyelidik sewaktu sesi pengajaran di KV, pelajar kurang mengamalkan pengurusan yang lestari semasa pembangunan projek atau tugasan (Leal Filho, Pallant, Enete, Richter & Brandli, 2018;Grose, 2017;Ahamad & Ariffin, 2018). Sikap, tingkah laku dan kesedaran pelajar SRF KV juga menampakkan pembaziran semasa proses pembangunan produk dan tugasan seperti fabrik, kertas pola, kertas A4 dan bahan-bahan jahitan yang lain tidak digunakan secara berhemah (Palomo-Lovinski, Copeland & Kim, 2019;Saeidi & Wimberley, 2018;Kim, Jung & Lee, 2021 Teori Tingkah Laku Terancang (TPB) dijadikan sandaran kajian ini berkaitan perlakuan dan kecenderungan pelajar SRF terhadap amalan KPF dan perasaan positif atau negatif terhadap tingkah laku yang akan dilakukan (Azjen & Fishbein, 1980). Malah, penyelidik ingin melihat kecenderungan pelajar SRF untuk melakukan sesuatu kebaikan dan memikul sesuatu tanggungjawab (Park & Ha, 2014). ...
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The making of patterns is the beginning of the cycle of designing garments. Pattern making is an accomplished technique requiring technical ability, flexibility for interpretation of design, and a realistic understanding of the construction of garments. It is a feature of the bridge function between design and development. This is an effective and conservative approach that can be manipulated by a technique known as flat pattern designing to construct the pattern for various types. The most frequent issues of pattern-making are following only Dart Manipulation or Added fullness or Contouring method rather than all at a time. If this practice of all methods can compare with the CAD system the output would be more accurate to resolve the issues of miss fit, imbalance, and so on. Another result of the research shows that the designs are substantially constructed without understanding that the design is based on certain concepts and structures. The principles of pattern-making consist of the three most prominent methods namely Dart Manipulation, Added fullness, and Contouring. This is essential to know for making flat patterns and alterations according to individual designs when we perceive the basic principles of pattern making and modification we produce any kind of design without affecting the original pattern size and shape thus we can meet the desired fit and balance. This study will demonstrate a way of applying three pattern-making methods to garments manually as well as in CAD. These patterns can be manipulated and changed into shapes through the slash-spread technique. The slash-spread technique is easy to understand as it clearly illustrates the changes taking place. The outcome of this study will impact the new upcoming fashion industry and also the garment industry
Whilst zero-waste fashion with creative pattern making is shaping sustainable fashion, excessive pattern pieces, complicated workmanship, and limited fashion styles are continuing to trouble designers. As a means of addressing the problem, the key attributes of clothing style, body dimensions, and textile performance are the basis for this research. This article proposes a zero-waste pattern making approach comprising three techniques: One-piece Manipulation (OM), Segmentation and Reconstruction (SR), and Fabric Elasticity Application (FEA). On the basis of body dimensions, different garments could be designed by manipulating the excess fabric on garments with the application of fitting devices, embellishments, and three-dimensional forms. With regard to this approach’s workflow, zero-waste garment practices were designed in the three techniques, illustrating that the approach built both an effective and efficient framework for subsequent zero-waste design. This systematic approach makes contributions to support zero-waste design in various garment constructions and simultaneously reflects the principle of zero-waste fashion.
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Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys brings together for the first time information about lifecycle sustainability impacts of fashion and textiles, practical alternatives, design concepts and social innovation. It challenges existing ideas about the scope and potential of sustainability issues in fashion and textiles, and sets out a more pluralistic, engaging and forward-looking picture, drawing on ideas of systems thinking, human needs, local products, slow fashion and participatory design, as well as knowledge of materials. The book not only defines the field, it also challenges it, and uses design ideas to help shape more sustainable products and promote social change. Arranged in two sections, the first four chapters represent key stages of the lifecycle: material cultivation/extraction, production, use and disposal. The remaining four chapters explore design approaches for altering the scale and nature of consumption, including service design, localism, speed and user involvement. While each of these chapters is complete in and of itself, their real value comes from what they represent together: innovative ways of thinking about textiles and garments based on sustainability values and an interconnected approach to design.
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Creative pattern cutting is a skill and process through which expert practitioners can translate the constantly evolving fabrics and silhouettes of fashion. While specific pattern cutting skills and methodologies can be learnt, it is acknowledged that the discipline of pattern cutting almost defies mastery, as it shifts and expands to inform and facilitate new garment shaping strategies. Zero-waste, recycling, up cycling and working with advanced materials present pattern cutters with new challenges through which to develop more creative practice; a critical component of contemporary fashion design. This article discusses the term ‘mastery’ in relation to zero-waste approaches to cutting, and analyses how such innovative concepts continue to inform the role of the pattern cutter. The article also illustrates how the ability to master a specific technique or textile can enable the practitioner to reach a level of skill, experiential knowledge and understanding that can be applied to new design areas.
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The juxtaposition of a throw-away society with the realization that natural resources are threatened is a vivid illustration of the perplexing problem of contemporary lifestyle. As we consider the case of textile and apparel recycling it becomes apparent that the process impacts many entities and contributes significantly, in a broader sense, to the social responsibility of contemporary culture. By recycling, companies can realize larger profits because they avoid charges associated with dumping in landfills while at the same time recycling of textiles also contributes to goodwill associated with environmentalism, employment for marginally employable laborers, contributions to charities and disaster relief, and the movement of used clothing to areas of the world where clothing is needed. Because textiles are nearly 100% recyclable, nothing in the textile and apparel industry should be wasted. Harley Davidson jackets go to Japan, neckties go to Vietnam, raincoats go to London, cotton shirts go to Uganda, sleepwear goes to Belize, shoes go to Haiti, Levi's are coveted all over the world, and worn out promotional t-shirts are made into shoddy or wiping rags. In 2003, it was projected there would be a 3-5% increase in world fiber consumption which equals 2 million tons per year (; Estur and Becerra, 2003). This presents a double-edged sword in that while at the same time it stimulates the economy (projected to add 10-20 new factories to meet the world market demand); it also gives rise to the increased problem of apparel and textile disposal. This paper provides a systems perspective that depicts the textiles recycling processes, particularly as it pertains to apparel. After that a micro-macro model using social systems theory will be presented. Finally, I will provide a synthesis of how systems theory provides a useful tool to project future trends for the textile and apparel recycling process. It is important to note that this work is based primarily on the processes as they are in the United States. My research is based on over five years of qualitative data collection on, primarily, apparel and other fashion products consumed throughout the United States and the world.
Zero Waste Fashion Design combines research and practice to introduce a crucial sustainable fashion design approach. Written by two industry leading pioneers, Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan, the book offers flexible strategies and easy-to-master zero waste techniques to help you develop your own cutting edge fashion designs. Sample flat patterns and more than 20 exercises will reinforce your understanding of the zero waste fashion design process. Beautifully illustrated interviews with high-profile, innovative designers, including Winifred Aldrich, Rickard Lindqvist and Yeohlee Teng, show the stunning garments produced by zero waste fashion design.
When producing garments utilising zero-waste pattern cutting methods, it can be seen that the design and make process has to be transformed in order to create garment designs, both desirable and achievable. Moving interchangeably between the stages of the process results in flexibility between pattern creation and design. Through a series of interviews with industry representatives, the relationship between the designer and pattern cutter was explored across three different market sectors. This, alongside the sequence of the fashion production process, was investigated, with creative leadership and decision-making being the focus. A set of practice-based experimentations demonstrated that this traditional process altered significantly when utilising zero-waste pattern cutting methods, meaning that it is pattern cutting that ultimately dictates the garment aesthetic. When applied in a wider context, this transformation will encourage closer collaboration and parity between the roles of the designer and the pattern cutter. Zero-waste pattern cutting, often closely associated with sustainability, has the potential to spark creative collaboration in the design team, resulting in an alternative production model for the fashion industry.
Zero-waste design is a sustainable way of manufacturing products. While sustainability can be an outcome of such designing, in fashion, zero-waste design can also be a tremendously creative patternmaking challenge by uniting the roles of designer and patternmaker in a holistic approach to creating garments, considering aesthetics and function simultaneously. The authors investigated zero-waste design for apparel through practice-based research. This discussion paper shares the results of the investigation, guided by Holly McQuillan's four ‘design practices’ for zero-waste apparel design outlined in Shaping Sustainable Fashion (McQuillan, 20116. McQuillan, H. (2011). Zero-waste design practice: Strategies and risk taking for garment design. In A. Gwilt & T. Rissanen (Eds.), Shaping sustainable fashion: Changing the way we make and use clothes (pp. 83–97). London: Earthscan.View all references): tessellation, jigsaw, embedded jigsaw, and multiple cloth approach. The authors discuss McQuillan's practices and provide examples of their own designs. The authors propose a fifth ‘design practice’, one of draping the whole cloth with minimal cutting, called ‘minimal cut’. Designs created with minimal cut are shown and their design development also discussed.
Whether the work requires producing a chemical, building a car, or planning a city, these principles provide a framework for assessing the environmental, economic, and social impacts. Paul Anastas of the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom) and Julie Zimmerman with the University of Michigan discuss each principle with examples.
This publication contains reprint articles for which IEEE does not hold copyright. Full text is not available on IEEE Xplore for these articles.