Zero waste side drape dress

I’ve been enjoying my adventures with zero/minimal waste sewing and turned to Liz Haywood’s book Zero Waste Sewing, when I decided I wanted to make a new cover up to wear to the pool every morning. The dress has to look ok with my long sleeved bathers under it, and also look respectable when I walk home through our local town centre.

I used some knit from my stash, but did regret it as it had roly edges and was a pain to sew and cut out and therefore took a lot longer to sew than it should have!

You can see that it’s basically a couple of rectangles with a neck and two armholes, but these are to one side and there is a large swathe of fabric draped down the other side.

I didn’t know how I would feel about this, but when I looked at the photos I could see that nice effects can be had!

But mostly the side drape just hangs quietly by my side.

The side is sort of open and hangs like this.

I haven’t hemmed any of the edges. I decided that it was already short enough and I didn’t want to lose more length, but I can live with it. It might need to be dealt with when I wash it.

As mentioned earlier, it needed to look vaguely ok over my bathers, and whilst it’s not the most sartorially elegant, I can live with it.

By the way, these are new bathers. I sewed them from this beautiful cerise lycra from Textile Traders (before they closed down) and they are lined with a piece of burgundy lycra from Tessuti. They go quite dark when they are wet because of this, which is a bit of a shame, but the fit is excellent and they are lovely to swim in, and of course they keep the sun off most of me. They are made from my body block and a pattern designed for me by Sarah of Pattern Union.

I wore the dress back and forth to the pool for a week and decided that those long pieces were getting in the way a little. I considered cutting down the side drape, which would have been a shame, so in the end I simply knotted the two ends. I’m rather liking this for a different look!

I’m not sure why it took me so long to make this dress, but I’m really enjoying it now. The fabric is light and cool and the style is really comfortable – although I might make the armholes slightly bigger next time. This was the smallest size and it has plenty of room.

February is Zero Waste/Minimal Waste theme month over at The Sewcialists. Check out the various posts on their blog and their Instagram account. There are many patterns to be had, both free and for small sums of money, so it’s a good opportunity to see what other people are making and get some ideas.


4 thoughts on “Zero waste side drape dress

  1. Thanks for giving this one a whirl! It looks wonderful in stripes. I think I might try tying up the drape as well.
    I wore the red sample from the book on Christmas day (with skinny jeans and sandals) and felt pretty terrif.

  2. You made a chic cover up, Sue, and I especially love the drape in the first pictures. Knotting the ends gives a totally different look and I can understand that those ends hanging down can be in the way a bit. What a luxury having bathers fitting so well!
    I have to admit that I am struggling with the no waste idea a bit. I can’t see why I should wear a surplus of fabric instead of cutting it down and use less fabric from the beginning. All of your no waste garments, however, are suiting you very well and are looking chic and I love reading your posts about your sewing adventures about these ideas. It’s for sure a reminder to me using every fabric with sustainability in mind.

    1. I can’t find my original reply to this one SaSa, so I’ll do it again. I agree with you, that zero waste can seem a bit strange and the garments not fitting, but if you can find a well fitting pattern you can save a lot of fabric. Often as sewists we Tetris a pattern onto fabric which is sort of the same idea. My next post in this series is about using the scraps, which might be more useful.

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