Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sorting The Zero Waste Piles

There's a box on the floor of my studio to the right of my sewing machine where I throw all the scraps from my projects into until it gets so full that it needs sorting. I keep every big scrap and little snippet until it's time to sort the zero waste piles. By then, some time has passed and there is less emotion and less potential attached to each scrap allowing me to focus in on the pieces that would truly be useful.

On Saturday, when I sorted, I threw out the blue sweater knit from the cardigan of doom and the black ribbed t-shirt knit that stretched a perfectly good t-shirt into a sweat top. If those fabrics weren't worth it in the initial project, they aren't worth it for a follow up one. One would hate to stitch a masterpiece from inferior supplies and you never know when you're going to stitch a masterpiece, so... just in case... out they went.

These bundles include remnants of a woven green plaid, the green and black striped knit from the cardigan below, the solid black that co-ordinated, the grey knit from my Vogue 1312 banner dress, and the denim blue stretch lace that I'm crazy in love with and can't bare to part with a scrap of. The plaid was used for a muslin and will most likely be used for another. It's a crazy fabric to match but useful for experimenting.

Years... and years and years... ago when I was learning how to free motion machine quilt, I started by using a well matched green thread over a green tone-on-tone print. You could barely see the thread which allowed me to focus more on how to move the fabric and form the stitches than on how beautiful those stitches were and the more I practiced, the more beautiful they became. That's a lesson that stayed with me. It's adaptable.

The pile above left is of the knit that puckered and gathered with such terrible static cling that the t-shirt wasn't flattering in any which way. The pile on the right is of scraps too small to do much with and the ribbed knit that stretched from here to eternity. The pile in the middle is of a fabric I just love. It's a dream to sew with, presses beautifully, and has wonderful drape but somehow manages to show every lump and bump in a typical t-shirt formation. My plan is to use the pile on the left to try piecing fabric into fabric in that practice makes perfect kind of way that I experienced with quilting and then...

... hopefully... to use those piece sections for the frill, sides, and back of Vogue 8856 which I think lends itself to an interesting interpretation. I don't want gathers along that lower section. I'd prefer a flounced look and will need to draft that out to piece and make it work.

The black and lime cardigan almost made it to finished. Here's the back. The haze over the photo is caused by the light from the window. Weird. I'm really struggling to find a photo spot in this house. Perhaps a room painted white with daylight bulbs ? ? ? ? ANYWAY...

... the front. The fabric is a nightmare. It snags and pulls easily and there are little pills just from its time in the stash plus it has a strange feel to it. That was enough to turn me off and then this look did the rest. NOT. ME. It looks like a cross between a jailbird and a sick bumblebee. Even though I knew I wouldn't wear it, I was going to finish it until I went to sew the zip in and realized it wasn't separating. End of story. This is going to the garbage although I did keep the selvage strips. I think they would still work in a different t-shirt since it wouldn't be the entire garment, just an edge. So. Next.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - In a solid purple, this cardigan is one of my favourite pieces and yet it doesn't work for me at all in this print. I'm please to recognize what is Me and what is Not Me and not even attempt to force the issue.  That was one of the things that was so fun about the party on Saturday, getting so many sewing suggestions that were me. Apparently, my friends recognize me too!


  1. Too bad that finished product didn't work out....looks kinda cute.

    I often wonder how one can get a better feel for what the fabric is going to to do, *before* putting all that effort into sewing something from it. It seems like such a waste of fabric to just toss it later.

    1. I loved it until the bottom ruffle and then not so much. I could turn the ruffle over and use the black side only and that would probably be a better look only I don't think the fabric is worth the work.

      YES - I wish I could figure the "before" out too... and I am... slowly... through experience. Next time, I'll pay attention to this plasticy feel and also to lumps caused by a texture and double weave. Sew and learn.


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