How To Sew Sustainably

Wendy Ward is a pattern designer, teacher and author whom I’m a bit of a fan of. Last month she released her 5th sewing book “How To Sew Sustainably” which I couldn’t wait to get my hands on and read.

As the title of book suggests the theme of this book is how to sew in a more sustainable and thoughtful way. Like in her previous books the first half contains a lot of information and techniques and the second half has a series different patterns using these techniques and ideas to try. Unlike in her previous books there are no actual pattern pieces for any of the patterns instead you draft your own pattern pieces based on your own measurements via the instructions given. I usually fit the largest size in her pattern books but in this book it doesn’t matter your size. The patterns included aren’t all garments either.

Although the book cover mentions recycling, reusing and remaking with fabrics that isn’t the only way you can sew sustainably as Wendy points out. Sewing sustainably also includes using fabrics and supplies you already own in your stash or thinking of ways to use up fabric scraps to avoid throwing them out. Before you purchase fabric stop and think can you make the item out of fabric you already own? Be mindful of the amount of fabric you are purchasing so you don’t end up with too much leftover fabric that you might find difficult to use in another project. Using up fabric scraps to make interesting projects. Even in terms of looking at what you are about to sew, do you need another dress or pillow or do you already have enough? The book also has a section on different fabrics and how each one is produced which I found informative.

I must admit in terms of patterns in the book there are some I’m unlikely to make as they just aren’t me or I can’t wear them however there are some patterns and ideas which I really like. It has given me a lot of ideas on how to use up small fabric scarps which I’m going to incorporate into future projects. Knowing my own though process I will have to watch myself so I don’t ebb to the side of hoarding every scrap of fabric. This past weekend I was inspired to dive in and make toiletry bags using offcuts from pants I’ve recently made and a leftover piece of nylon from my stash. The project isn’t in the book but the motivation came from it.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I’m trying to be more thoughtful in my sewing. Now days I’m trying to cut pattern pieces with minimal waste. In the last 18 months I’ve only purchased fabric intended for specific projects the rest of my fabrics used have come from my existing stash. This book has given me further ideas to try or ways to look at things. If you can get hold of a copy this book is worth the read



One thought on “How To Sew Sustainably

  1. Thanks for such lovely words about my book! I’m so pleased to hear how much it’s resonated with you and has already provided some sewing inspiration. Those bags look great.

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