It’s my pleasure to review Stephanie Kroth’s new book Zero Waste Nähen. Nähen translates as sew or stitch, and this book is a collection of 25 zero waste sewing patterns.
[In the interests of full disclosure, I offered to review this book when I heard it was coming out, as I thought you would like to read about it. I was sent a pdf, for free, for review purposes.]
As you may guess from the title, this book is all in German. The author, Stefanie Kroth, is a patternmaker in Germany. I actually met Stefanie at one of Zero Waste Design Online‘s community calls, such is the small world of zw patterncutting.
There are some really interesting styles in this book – it’s sort of like Burda magazine meets zero waste. There are also some fabulously innovative cutting layouts, showing that zero waste straddles sustainable fashion and creative patterncutting.
Some of the patterns are designed for men or could be gender neutral. The book contains only adult clothes patterns, no accessories or homewares.
All the styles in the book can be viewed on Stefanie’s website. There are patterns to suit beginners to advanced.
It wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t make something, so I gave the leggings pattern a whirl.
These took 103cm x 85.5cm of fabric.
They went together fairly quickly, without incident. I stitched the pockets on with a twin needle, and did the hems to match. The one in the book looks like they used a cover stitch machine.
My 11 year old tried them on first. She still has a child’s figure but is fairly tall for her age, and has hips 34″ (the pattern is designed for hips 38″). The waist is too high for her but easy to fix (I said she could have them). She liked the pockets.
Then I tried them on. I have hips 40″, so they’re really a size too small for me but the fabric is stretchy enough. The waist is high but OK. The length is slightly cropped which I can see is the same on the model.
Edit: if I made these again, I might try using the pocket pieces to make a secret pocket in the waist.
Verdict: good. I’m impressed with this pattern.
How easy was this book to use, given that it’s in German? Apart from the language barrier, it was fine. As I had a pdf, it was fairly easy to copy-and-paste text into Google Translate to read bits. However, the book is currently only available as a paperback, not an ebook. The sewing instructions are mainly text, except for a few diagrams in some patterns to show unusual construction. It’s possible to translate from a printed book via Google docs, or type text into Google Translate using alt codes for the special German letters. While I couldn’t have used the book without translating, there were helpful schematics. Each pattern shows front, side and back sketches. The cutting layouts are shown for each size, along with an overview of how the pieces are arranged to make the garment. There are close-up photos of garment details which were really helpful.
The size range is not extensive. All the patterns come in two sizes: Size 1 fits Bust 88cm/34.5″, Waist 75cm/29.5″, Hip 97cm/38″. Size 2 fits Bust 106cm/41.5″, Waist 95cm/37.5″, Hip 114cm/45″. Just going by the leggings I made, I’d confirm the sizing runs true to the chart. It’s easy to see that some of the garments could be variable in size – all the waists have elastic in them, and items such as the coat, parka and cape could fit several sizes.
The book’s patterns can be accessed in two ways:
Where to buy. Zero Waste Nähen is available direct from the publisher, Stiebner, if you live in Germany or the EU. It can also be bought from The Book Depository. It looks like German Amazon has it too.
So…maybe one for the Christmas gift list?