A new zero waste book and a giveaway

A quick update: The winner of the book is Kim Hood from Kimthemateriallady. Congratulations Kim!

Several months ago I was contacted by Liz Haywood to let me know that she was releasing a new book,  Zero Waste Sewing, in March and would I like to try a pattern or two and participate in a blog tour? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question!

The book duly arrived and I spent a happy hour or two reading it from cover to cover and then choosing what I might make for this blog post. I settled on the bathrobe for a number of reasons, one of which was that both Mark and I needed new bathrobes. [please note: Mark’s is going to be a winter one and I haven’t made it yet!]

My first one was destined for our holiday place and is made from some purple silky fabric sent to me by Pips Desplat https://www.instagram.com/magdalenesmuse/. It was the perfect fabric to try my hand at this pattern as she sent me a big piece and the pattern requires more fabric than I usually buy. I love the purple with orange warp!


This is just the perfect bathrobe to wear as I wander around in the bush. The fabric is light, I have plenty of wrap around and there is even a hood!

My next version was for home. I found this double gauze in my stash in this rather unlikely colour. No idea why I had bought it, but it’s lovely for hanging out at home. There are a few marks made, a couple of cuts, and hey presto! there is a bathrobe. With a hood!


Due to the bubbly nature of the fabric, I found pressing it a bit of a trial. IMG_2963

As you can see, the bathrobe is wrapped and belted (my favourite kind), it has big pockets, and a hood. What more could I desire?IMG_2984

Length is actually determined by the width of the fabric. My purple fabric was 150cm wide and you can see that it’s a longer bathrobe than this one, which was 144cms wide. IMG_3020

The hood is rather enormous on my pin head though!IMG_3028

My next version was from some rather lovely silk I bought on a trip to India in 2015, and which had lingered in my stash because it gave me pattern matching nightmares! I decided that this bathrobe would be the perfect pairing of pattern and fabric!


There is a bit of topstitching on this and I chose to do mine in white and used a laundry marker to colour in the stitches on the black sections. I needed to go over it twice and the top stitching is now basically invisible.


This bathrobe is my travelling version. It is light and folds to almost nothing. I duly took it to Broome, but only got a couple of very bad photos of it, I think because it didn’t sit right somehow.


When I got it home I had a good look at it and realised that when I was sewing on the belt loops I had caught a tiny bit of the sleeve into the stitching. I am so lucky I didn’t tear it! It took a minute to release the stitching and all is now well.

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I have a fourth bathrobe which I made as I tried to push the boundaries of the fabric requirements and get it out of a thrifted tablecloth that was considerably smaller than what was stated; it measured 136cm square, as against the 150×198 stated in the book.  As I mentioned earlier, narrower fabric results in a shorter bathrobe, so I figured that 136 would be above the knee and I was ok with that.

I cut it out and realised that I needed to cut a line down the lower back and use part of the belt to expand the section so it fitted the top cut. I used another small amount of the belt to make a pocket (essential) and then made a short band which I sewed to the back. Can I just say that pattern matching became absolutely impossible at this point, I suspect because the tablecloth may have warped through use, and I decided that I had to live with it!IMG_4318

The sleeves are very odd, but I quite like them. The only other thing I did was to thread some cotton rope through the band so that I could tie the robe at the front. It looks a bit bulky so I may take one of the strands out.


It is perfect to wear whilst sewing as it makes trying on new makes extremely easy. Due to the smaller fabric dimensions, the wrap around isn’t as big as the other bathrobes. IMG_5890

The armholes are quite open at the bottom and the sleeves themselves are short and pointy. I am finding it fascinating to see how different this smaller piece of fabric has turned out. IMG_9029

I think the hood is also a little smaller.  I sewed the band at the back a bit low down so the ties are more at hip level, making me look even more rectangular. Still very comfortable though.IMG_1677

A few words on the book: it is a very timely publication as the interest in zero waste is growing as we all try to be more sustainable in our sewing. It is well written with a variety of patterns, which can be made to accommodate most sizes. There are no “patterns” to trace; it’s all about measuring, drawing lines on the fabric and making sure you cut where you’re supposed to (ask me why I mention this!!). It takes a little bit of concentration but no real problem solving (unless your fabric is completely the wrong size). There is a nice introduction talking about the concept of zero waste and it’s written from a professional’s point of view, which is always interesting. There are five tops, three dresses, five coats, the hooded robe, a playsuit, a skirt, a pair of interesting trousers and a moebius scarf.

I made the wrap skirt from newspaper for my Sew Unconventional challenge and can see that this would make a lovely addition to my wardrobe when I find just the right fabric for it. I rather like the playsuit too, and this might go on to my list for next summer. There are a couple of interesting tops and some fascinating trousers which I would like to make just to see how they are all constructed. I do note that, as is usual with zero waste, the fabric requirements are very specific. If you have even a few centimetres extra it will be wasted, although you always need an offcut to check stitches and buttonholes, so perhaps that’s ok.

You might like to read this review of the book from Wild Magazine in the UK.

There are several other people blogging about their makes from this book, and we’ve all done something different so please make sure you go and check them out:

Jane Milburn of Textile Beat, Jane writes really interesting blog posts and has done one on supporting local farmers, which is a topic close to my heart.

Taylor McVay I’ve made a few of Taylor’s patterns and you may know her as Blueprints for Sewing.

Tracy Henwood from Knit Spin Weave, I enjoy her instagram posts greatly.

Fiona and Jane from The Drapery  in Adelaide, which is much beloved by Australian sewists.

Liz is doing a couple of blog posts too, so make sure you check out her blog as she’s done posts on several of the items in the book.

The book goes live on 14 March, so stay tuned for that!

I also need to mention that many of the models are more mature than the norm, and therefore this book fits into the #so50visible movement going on over on Instagram under the auspices of @sewover50. This is all about promoting older makers and trying to get pattern makers to realise that over 50s have a higher disposable income and perhaps more time so are more likely to buy their patterns and should therefore be represented in the advertising. It is wonderful to look at the photos in this book and see a diversity of models.

The Giveaway:


Thank you for reading this far. Liz has kindly offered a book to each blogger as a giveaway, so if you would like to be in the running, simply leave a comment on this post and I shall be selecting a winner using a random generator. This is open to international visitors too, so don’t be shy. Giveaway ends at midnight WST on 18 March, 2020.

I’d like to thank Liz for giving me the opportunity to test patterns from her book, and I can’t wait to show you a few more of them.


81 thoughts on “A new zero waste book and a giveaway

  1. Your black and white bathrobe is stunning Sue! Of course, I would need the book to understand the zero-waste sewing methods. From here, it sounds rather complex but I believe you when you say it is achievable. And no paper pattern required? A definite plus!

    1. Thank you Hélène, it doesn’t require much more than a bit of concentration! Take a flat piece of fabric, make a few cuts, origami it all together, and voila! Fingers crossed for the book!

  2. i love the zero waste concept, i try to achieve that by keeping my stash low (that can be a challenge). Lately I look at any discarded garments with a view of what can I salvage/repurpose from them. that can be fun.
    The book looks great.

  3. You are so creative, adventurous and inspiring.! Thank you for sharing your sewing adventures and travels. I would love to try the patterns in this zero waste book. Your versions and unique fabric choices are fascinating.

  4. Love what you made Sue, and many thanks for your enthusiasm and creativity 🙂

    PS take me out of the running for the giveaway, I’ve got one at home.

  5. Wonderful review, has made me even more excited about this book! I love all your versions of the robe. I follow Liz’s blog too and have been waiting to see what people make out of the book. Congratulations Liz it’s a winner!

  6. Each robe you have made with these instructions looks great. I would like to try this style of pattern making myself. Thanks for the review.

  7. You can never have too many robes, especially in gorgeous colours! My daughter and I would love to try out these patterns. She is quite partial to wrap skirts and jumpsuits and I would love to make the dress and coat combo for a special occasion.

  8. Me me me 😂 I’d love a copy of this book. I’m especially intrigued by the trousers. I think that last bath robe is very wrap dressish and looks awesome on you.

  9. I’m just waiting for this to be released as I’ve found your zero waste makes fascinating. This book sounds like an accessible way into the idea.
    Love all of your bathrobes but the black and white silk version is downright Hollywood!

  10. I have enjoyed reading about your zero waste sewing. The designer is very clever and as always you are fantastic at interpreting the designs and making wearable garments. I love the black and white robe. It looks great as a swim coverup. Keep on inspiring.

  11. So we have ‘matching’ green tablecloth clothing! It’s an interesting point about the specific fabric dimensions and what a difference it can make to both the finished garment and the generation of waste (or not). It must help to know how much waste fabric will be left before embarking – and then plan for the scrap use or select a more appropriate piece of fabric.

    1. Had I realised I would have used the tablecloth for an Esme too! We could have twinned! It is such an interesting process. Any extra fabric can be turned into embellishments, pockets, etc. Or you can just eat it!!!

  12. What brilliant ideas and I adore your bathrobes, especially the white and black one. I would love to win a copy of Liz’s book and get hooked too.

  13. I’ve been following your mentions about this book in your Instagram posts over thre last few months so it’s good to see it’s beating publication date. You’ve given a great summary if your chosen pattern and I’m now away to look at some of the other links to get an idea of the patterns.

  14. I really love the last bathrobe made with the tablecloth and fudged amount of fabric. I think it looks interesting and perfect to wear in the hot humid climate I live in.
    The book sounds fascinating. I have made bias tube dresses and am very interested in the zero waste concept.

  15. Very cool! I made a zero-waste skirt and it was a revelation to use up every inch of fabric with creative touches. Those pants you made a while back were especially cool.

  16. Oh this is really fun! I like the black and white one very much but most of all the one cut from a tablecloth as it makes a bit of a capelet! Love it so much! Yes, put me in the running for the book! (* it’s me from IG lol @mystashislegal )

  17. I can’t quite grasp the concept of how this is done, but you make it look so beautiful, Sue! It’s now going on my To Do list!!!

  18. This book looks quite interesting, and you’re right about it being timely! I can’t believe how many scraps my sewing generates, and Is live to at least partially incorporate a zero-waste approach into my practice.

  19. You won’t need to sew another bathrobe for years (!), love the second one and your bush block looks like my idea of heaven. A book I will certainly look at if I don’t win the giveaway, thanks for the opportunity Sue 😊

  20. Love the concept of zero waste and the creativity that goes into achieving it. Love that you ( so far ) have made four bathrobes, all so different!. I would be very interested in seeing the other patterns in the book as well as how this bathrobe pattern has such interesting sleeves and hood.

  21. So far, the garments I’ve seen on-line that were made from this book make me really wish I could lay my hands on a copy! These, and other garments from other postings, have me drooling. Will recommend to our public library and keep fingers crossed, as they’re pretty rubbish about “foreign” published books unless they make a NY Times list. Will hold that thought❣️ del

  22. (Another) Great Post, Sue. I’ve said it before: whatever you’re on, I want some 🤣.
    And I’d love to be in the running for the book. I can see applications for this in handmade felt where one definitely does not want to waste any of the cloth!

    1. So funny Martien. You’ve gone in the draw! I agree, handmade felt is far too precious to waste. You can also make it to the correct size.

  23. Beautiful robes! The book looks very interesting. Thank you for presenting it and your very nice makes!

  24. Would love to try out these patterns…….or are they patterns! You make everything sound so simple, with a real sense of adventure.
    Love your site too!
    That bathrobe would be ideal for very humid Queensland weather.

    1. Thank you Margaret. They are really measurements, so you make your own pattern, which is so interesting. It also means that things fit better.

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