Melissa Lockwood  

One step closer to zero waste

Project:  Designing with the waste area of mass produced garment pattern blocks.

My project is focused on a garment pattern design technique that uses the spaces between the standard garment shapes.  Specifically the unused portions of fabric that are thrown away and deposited into landfills.  

I realized that in order for designers to see the usability of these waste area pieces it requires viewing the pattern areas in a new way.  Usually designers create garments with pattern pieces spread across fabric on the horizontal plane.  My technique observes the waste pattern areas from the horizontal and includes the stacks of same shape pieces created in the vertical. 

When thinking of a pattern that includes the waste pieces it is helpful to think of how the waste pieces are created in quantity.   When you view the layered fabric in factory situation with the pattern block in place, you can view the pattern in 3D on the vertical axis, utilizing the stacks of same shape pieces that are created during multiple same shape garment production.  

With the cylinder form in mind, I recognized the potential of use of many common waste shapes.  A basic dress can be compared to a cylindar.  I chose long narrow shapes that widen at one end.  The selection of shapes is interesting, I noticed a lot of repeat waste area shapes, in different factories.  With the creation of shirts, blouses and jackets the the sleeve pattern create a shape found repatedly.  This shape is a long narrow piece fluted at one end.

With the wastes pattern shapes created in same shape multiple pieces it is possible to make multifaceted garments with them.  Applieing radial geomertry to the multiple same shape pieces with the cylinder in mind I was able to create multifaceted garments without altering the found shapes.

This technique gives designers another tool to utilize production waste fabrics in the fashion industry and lower landfill waste.  Less waste can be achieved by changing the waste fabric pattern area into a design space.  Different from traditional zero waste pattern making, It uses the pattern layout area on the vertical and horizontal.  It can make non zero waste patterns zero waste.

The use of radial geometry creates ways the stacks of same shape pieces can be preplanned during garment design and incorporated into the patterning block.  This technique transforms waste fabrics into additional garments.  Using  radial geometry I realized that many of the pieces thrown away are usable to make garments. 


  Combining the helix into the radial cylindar


If you have any question or want to have a consultion regarding how to incorporate this technique into your design process let me know.  Thank you, Melissa

© Melissa Lockwood 2021