New book: A Year of Zero Waste Sewing

Hi All,

This year I started writing a new book, which (at the moment) is titled A Year of Zero Waste Sewing – A year of exploration, making and musings on zero waste patterns and clothes.

I’m hoping the title will bring me higher up in alphabetical book listings!

Here’s the plan:

I’m going to try a different type of publishing model – I’m planning to publish the book in instalments as digital files, and when all the instalments are published I’ll format them into a book.  Kinda like Charles Dickens! 

Each instalment will come as a sort of zine/booklet that you can print out at home, with an accompanying file for on-screen reading. At the end, the booklets could be hand bound into a proper book. The first one is free, and thereafter each will be AU$5.

The booklet prints out on 3 double-sided pieces of paper, which are folded in half to make 12 pages.

You can download the first one here for free.

I know – it says January on the cover and we’re already in March. I’m an astounding 9 months ahead!

Here’s what’s inside:

I’m open to all and any suggestions for topics or Ask Lizzy questions, and I hope you’ll join me in a year of zero waste sewing.


Update: read more about compostable clothes here.


  1. Michelle Shaffer on March 22, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Love this new publishing model, and look forward to each new installment. I feel like I have already learned a lot from your newsletters and have tried a shirt pattern. I can keep the digital booklet on my tablet and refer to it as I try new things. Thanks!

    • lizhaywood on March 23, 2022 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks Michelle, I’m interested to try this publishing model – I think it could be a more manageable way to write, and maybe more useful to a reader?

  2. Anne Davies on March 22, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    Absolutely marvellous, Liz! Your writing very much reminds me of the ‘Make Do and Mend’ pamphlets from WW2. It’s wonderful to see some of the old methods being revived; a win for creativity, our hip pockets and the good of our precious, beautiful planet. Looking forward to next month’s installment.

    • lizhaywood on March 23, 2022 at 12:00 pm

      Cheers, Anne!
      Btw, did you listen to the podcast series of Make Do and Mend by Check Your Thread lately? It’s episodes 28, 29 and 30.

  3. Wendy on March 23, 2022 at 8:15 am

    What a fab idea!
    I enjoy your writing voice and diagrams anyway so this very much appeals.
    Love the 9 months ahead spin on things, the Star Wars trivia (my youngest was completely obsessed for years and I never knew about the costumes) and the dire trouble awaiting those who stray off grain!

    • lizhaywood on March 23, 2022 at 11:54 am

      Thanks Wendy 🙂 I had wanted to hand draw the whole thing like my hero Len Deighton, but I must be sensible.

  4. Sara on March 23, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    Hi Liz,
    I love the new look zine/booklet. So interesting …. shall look forward to the rest of the year.

    • lizhaywood on March 23, 2022 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks Sara, I had such an interesting time writing it 🙂

  5. Sue on March 23, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    I love the idea of the instalments, and the first one is so interesting! I’ve been thinking about plastic zips and assume that one day we’ll have the plastic eating microbe and we will be able to recycle them properly. I keep the metal ones and put the teeth into my iron water jar for dyeing. The teeth do tend to disintegrate into a clump, so I don’t feel bad about that. I am very keen to not use fasteners though, although I have a big stash, so use them, but I’m not buying any more zips or buttons and I gave up on rivets some time ago on recycling grounds. I do think, though, that a ban on polyester fabric would go a long way towards being more green! Thank you for the instalment, this is the second time I’ve typed this message as the first one vanished, and this one is quite different.

    • lizhaywood on March 23, 2022 at 9:47 pm

      Hi Sue, I had a very interesting time with compostable closures, and came across some other stuff too. YKK has developed a zip called Natulon made from recycled materials. I also found you can get screw-in jeans buttons that can be removed for reusing or recycling, but I haven’t seen them in Australia.
      Mainly though, it made me think about the plastics used in clothes. If polyester ever gets banned, virgin polyester may get the chop before recycled poly does.
      Sorry about the blip with comments – you, I, and another person have all had trouble with it today!

      • Lodi on May 25, 2022 at 11:07 pm

        Thank you for the first installment – it’s fascinating! I’m intrigued by the closures, and will have fun exploring some of these options.

      • lizhaywood on May 26, 2022 at 10:32 am

        Thanks for reading Lodi 🙂 It was fascinating to write too.

  6. Anne on March 23, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    An interesting way to publish. Good luck – I hope it works.

    I hadn’t given any thought to compostable closures (to be honest, I avoid closures and have been delighted to find I can make the Sandie shirt with no buttons and pull it over my head). I’m now intrigued by thread buttons and going to give them a try.

    • lizhaywood on March 23, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Anne, thank you, gotta try these things.
      I hadn’t given any thought to compostable closures or clothes either, but I had a fascinating time with it. There’s lots of info on thread buttons etc on historic costuming sites.

  7. Miri on March 25, 2022 at 10:09 am

    Love the first installment! Is it possible to subscribe for the whole year of installments and / or the future book in advance?

    • lizhaywood on March 25, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Miri 🙂 I did think about a subscription model, which I could see would be very handy, but I didn’t want to put pressure on myself with deadlines on what is so far an enjoyable project. So I thought the best plan was to use my monthly newsletter to announce each installment when they’re ready.

  8. Margaret on March 27, 2022 at 5:52 am

    This is really wonderful. What a great idea to publish your book this way. And so interesting about the zippers. Years ago I was so surprised my dad’s car’s dashboard had been made of soybeans. I really wonder whether that would be a great idea for compostable plastic in zippers. Just a thought.
    Looking forward to the next one! Great and informative read. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth.

  9. Nicola on March 31, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Liz, this is a really interesting idea for a book. I hadn’t really thought about composting my notions, mostly because I like to re-use them, and it is difficult to find compostable alternatives. I have zips that are now on their third garment! I’ve just been looking this afternoon at my current project which is a Tai Chi uniform. I think I will try to make the frog fasteners, although they do look tricky – not necessarily to make one, but to try to get them all to look similar!

    • lizhaywood on April 1, 2022 at 9:55 am

      Thanks for reading, Nicola. I’m following your Tai Chi uniform project with interest 🙂

  10. Rosalind Atkins on April 2, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Liz
    Loved your first instalment.
    I’m a Dorset button maker and often use those purely thread wrapped buttons on children’s clothes (especially knitwear) as they are soft and match perfectly. They are called Birds eye buttons because that’s what they look like with the little hole at the centre. They can be a fiddle to make and it’s worth experimenting with different thicknesses of spindle (aka knitting needles) to get the right one for your project.
    Best wishes

    • lizhaywood on April 2, 2022 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Rosalind, I have admired your work from afar!
      I love the idea of using thread buttons on children’s clothes and knitwear, thanks for commenting.
      Many thanks for keeping traditional skills alive.

  11. Raj on January 5, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Wonderful idea. I like.

    • lizhaywood on January 5, 2023 at 6:43 pm

      Cheers, Raj. I’m enjoying this way of publishing.

  12. Betsy on December 7, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    I like this way of publishing.
    re fastenings – I re use zips i cut out from worn out garments (and buttons etc) as my mother did.
    Rarely do I buy a zip although sometimes the old ones are a challenge (safety pins can help). I really only use new ones if it is something I am making for someone else.

    • lizhaywood on December 8, 2023 at 10:05 am

      I’m totally in love with this way of publishing! So manageable and low-stress.
      Many thanks for the zip tips. Do you find that pre-used zips don’t stay up as well as new ones, or is there no difference?

Leave a Comment