The challenge of zero-waste leggings

Zero waste leggings

Is it possible to design leggings that waste no fabric?  I have been turning this idea over in my head for some time; I do love a patternmaking challenge.  Read more about zero waste fashion here.

Basic leggings typically only have one pattern piece, which makes zero waste impossible since the piece isn’t square.  The offcuts need to be incorporated into the leggings in a useful way.

So, here’s my plan:

Zero waste leggings sketch

I drew this straight onto the fabric with chalk, according to the measurements I calculated (which aren’t shown here).  I’m using some brown cotton lycra from Needleworks in Adelaide.  The fabric is very thick, 7% spandex and 93% cotton, however it isn’t very stretchy considering the amount of spandex.  It has about 30% stretch (ie 10″ stretches to 13″).

This was the only suitable fabric I had, and knit fabric is impossible to buy here, so I have nothing to recut it in if it doesn’t work.  Nevertheless, I plunged in the scissors.


Zero waste leggings cut out


I stitched them up and they’re not too bad!  The thighs need taking in a bit.  The back is too low but I knew it would be -I’ll make the waistband wider at the centre back to compensate.  The fabric is very comfortable.


Zero waste leggings first attempt


Now I need to add the waistband and cuffs.  I hope it works!  Come back next week and see how they turned out.





  1. rae on March 6, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Like to try these

    • lizhaywood on March 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      I’ll show you how next week, Rae.

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