The book Zero Waste Fashion by Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan (Bloomsbury 2016) has arrived and I’m keen to share my thoughts on it with you. I ordered it last month when I wrote Considering zero waste fashion, which has become my second highest visited post.
There are many things I liked about this book, and I think I could learn a lot from it. I particularly enjoyed the generous and practical ideas for getting started with zero waste patternmaking. The book outlines techniques and considerations for patternmaking, ideas for grading zero waste patterns, adapting to different fabric widths, and using CAD and digital printing if you have it. The text is brought to life with photos and patterns on almost every page. There are links to online patterns which are free to download.
The book is enlivened with interviews and profiles of fashion designers, studio owners, authors and teachers. Not all of them champion zero waste, but certainly all of them have experimented with new and creative ways of pattern cutting. I did get a mild feeling of experimenting for the sake of experimenting in an academic, theoretical way. These are just clothes, you know. However, being encouraged to experiment and try stuff is the whole point with this book. Some is very inspiring; some designers have created whole collections that are zero waste.
Of interest to me was an interview with Winifred Aldrich. Her book was our patternmaking text book when I was a fashion student. I had no idea she was such a highly regarded researcher (in fact I didn’t know anything about her).
Zero Waste Fashion is let down by some of the photographic images. Black clothes are difficult to photograph. If the garment can’t be photographed more clearly or sewn in a lighter colour or even the photo replaced by a sketch, then it might have been better to leave it out.
If you love making patterns, Madeleine Vionnet’s pattern cutting, Pattern Magic books, and thinking creatively within parameters, then this book is bedtime reading for you.
Disclosure: I ordered Zero Waste Fashion from our library for this review. I’m happy to say I liked it so much I decided to order my own copy.
Update Oct 2019: take a look at Zero Waste Sewing, due to be published March 14th 2020.