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Annie’s Top five zero waste sewing patterns

As sustainability becomes a growing concern for many of us, we are looking for ways to reduce our waste and environmental impact. That’s why zero waste sewing patterns are such a fantastic way to help you create a more sustainable wardrobe.

Unlike traditional sewing patterns, zero waste patterns are designed to minimize or eliminate the amount of leftover fabric per sewing project.  This means that every piece of fabric you use will have a purpose, and you won't be left with scraps that are too small to use. Imagine a puzzle across your width of fabric where you strategically place your pattern pieces so there is hardly any waste at all. If you are not familiar with zero waste sewing patterns, they normally require no paper pattern. Some will have a small printable template to help you draft more tricky parts like the collar, or pocket. 

By using every inch of fabric, you can not only save money in the long run but by reducing fabric waste, you are helping to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. This is a great way to contribute to a more sustainable future. 

Zero waste patterns can be adapted to fit any size or style, making them a great option for any sewing project. These patterns require a bit more creativity and problem-solving than traditional patterns, which can be a fun and rewarding challenge for any sewer! 

So, let’s get into it, my top five zero waste sewing patterns!!  

The Bell Jacket sold by Cloth Kits

Close up of woman wearing a pink jacket

As you can see - I’m totally obsessed with this pattern by Birgitta Helmerson! I decided to crop it further (approx. by 15cm) as I love that rounded shape on a more cropped jacket.  The way the collar sits so perfectly, and the bell shape of the sleeves drops – this pattern is simply stunning! I decided to use the quilted hack rather than fully line the jacket, and love how it makes it hold the shape.  

With an inverted box pleat at the centre back, and these stunning oversized bell sleeves created with darts, this oversized shape is perfect for transitional seasons fitting over both jumpers and dresses. This jacket also features a rounded collar, front button closure and three front patch pockets (which I did not add as the print was quite busy). The reason this comes in as my number one zero waste sewing pattern, is because of the glorious, curved shapes, which are quite unusual as these jackets are normally quite boxy. 

Requires 11 printable A4 Pages.
Level: Intermediate

Get the pattern here

The summer dress and top – Maya by DIY Daisy

Compilation of woman in flower dress
Image supplied courtesy of DIY Daisy

This beauty from DIY Daisy is a firm fave of mine as it can be used as a top OR a dress – double the use!! This trans-seasonal piece has stunning frill detail and is perfect sewn in a fun print for summer or a dark plain for winter.

As it’s lovely and loose, it’s size inclusive and fun to wear. Made entirely from rectangles, you don’t even need a paper pattern and it produces very little waste. This dress features a scooped bound neckline, dropped ruffle sleeves and skirt panels gathered onto the bodice under the bust. 

Requires no printing.
Level: Beginner

Download the pattern

Gathered Dress sold by The Fold Line

Woman in red dress in studio atmosphere
Image supplied courtesy of The Fold Line
This Instagram-worthy Gathered Dress, which is another zero waste sewing pattern from Birgitta Helmerson, had to make it into the top five as it lends itself to wonderful prints or plains in cottons and linens.  

An oversized shape with a dropped shoulder and gathered skirt makes this perfect for wearing during the muggy summer months. But stick a pair of tights under it, and wear a pair of ankle boots, and you’ve got yourself a wonderful winter wear too (you could even add a vest underneath for extra warmth). This pattern features side pockets and full-length button placket with buttons and buttonholes (but if you are more of a beginner there is an option to sew without buttonholes).  

Requires 4-6 printable A4 pages.
Level: Advanced beginner (buttonholes)

Get the pattern

Block Pants sold by Cloth Kits

Woman wearing wide leg trousers and trousers on hanger
Image supplied courtesy of Cloth Kits

Simple and effective, these wide leg trousers are bang on trend AND the most practical trouser I have made yet. These trousers feature an elasticated waistband and front pleats to give a more tailored feel. This pattern features in-seam pockets at the front and patch pockets at the back, and comes with a hack to turn this also into a skirt (perfection!).  

Required no printing (drawn directly onto fabric).
Level: Advanced Beginner

Download the pattern

Soft Blouse sold by Cloth Kits

Two women in dropped shoulder top
Image supplied courtesy of Cloth Kits

The reason why I have selected this oversized top is because of the versatility of this pattern! The wonderful thing about zero waste sewing patterns is that they essentially teach you the basics of pattern cutting. For this  sewing pattern you draw the pattern directly onto the fabric. This leaves room for all the alterations you could want, including the length of the bodice and the length of the sleeves. You can even be bold and add all the detailing you want (a perfect canvas for trims)! The included pattern hack options also make this sewing pattern worth the money. There are instructions and options to turn it into a sleeveless top, a dress with V-neck front and side pockets and a gathered skirt. 

Requires no printing (draw direct onto fabric) 
Level: beginner

Get the pattern

Choosing a zero waste sewing pattern is a great way to reduce waste, save money, and contribute to a more sustainable future. I hope this has inspired you, and next time you're planning a sewing project, consider giving a zero waste pattern a try. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy the challenge and the results!


If you try any of these patterns, or sew your own zero waste projects, why not let me know by tagging me on Instagram? Make sure to tag Brother on Instagram and Facebook too, so they can share and inspire others.

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