New-ish Pattern: Optimatium Dress

The zero waste Optimatium dress is a pattern which appeared in Tauko magazine #9 in October last year. The copyright has since reverted to me, and it’s been re-graded to a bigger size range and formatted as pdf pattern.

It’s now in my shop – please enjoy 25% off for the next month.

Optimatium means conservative or the best in Latin, and the dress is both conservative in style and has a conservative use of fabric because it’s zero waste.

The dress now comes in nineteen sizes, to fit a 86cm/34″ bust to a 178cm/70″. Re-grading this pattern took a long time – not because I’m inexperienced at grading, but because the patternmaking software practically had a hernia grading a zero waste pattern. After grading, every size had to have the curves checked and adjusted so that the shape still tessellated.

Optimatium can be worn as a buttoned up dress or open as a flowing duster coat. It can also be worn as a long-line shirt over trousers depending on the fabric choice. As it’s essentially A-line in shape, it’s very comfortable around the waist.

It has in-seam pockets, a scooped hemline, gently pleated cuffs, a high neckline and optional bust darts. The length of the body and sleeves can be changed without affecting zero waste.

Suitable fabrics include linen, cotton, chambray, quilting cotton, Liberty Tana lawn, viscose, lightweight wool and suitings. Although it isn’t suitable for napped fabrics and one-way prints, it does work well for stripes and checks.

In case you’re interested, here’s a tiny drawing scanned from my sketchbook, showing the very beginning of the design process. It had a bit of a “prairie” vibe initially.

Layout-wise, there’s an evolution from the basic tessellated dress/coat in the Zero Waste Sewing book.

Here’s a gallery of makes…

The details:

UPDATE: here are 5 ways to wear it.


  1. Juliana Bendndi on June 26, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    Hello Liz! Thank you for this beautiful dress – I was do excited about it when I saw it in Tauko and was raring to go…and then life. I can‘t wait to finally make it up! Best, Giuls

    • lizhaywood on June 27, 2024 at 10:11 am

      Thank you Giuls, I hope you enjoy sewing it 🙂

  2. Fred Langridge on July 3, 2024 at 10:43 pm

    I’m looking forward to making this to wear exclusively as a coat.

    • lizhaywood on July 4, 2024 at 3:37 pm

      Following with great interest!!

  3. Catherine Parkyn on July 4, 2024 at 12:10 pm

    Such a clever pattern which must have taken such a long time to design.

    So sad to hear of your battle with long COVID. Wonder if they will ever find out why it affects some so badly.

    My extremely elderly parents had no lasting issues. Doesn’t seem logical.

    I have your wonderful book which I treasure.

    • lizhaywood on July 4, 2024 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you Catherine. The quick bit is the design and the long part is making the pattern and instructions 🙂
      Yes, there’s not any rhyme or reason that I can see why some people get long covid and others don’t – there’s plenty of people in the long covid community who were very fit and healthy before.
      Thanks for getting my book.
      Cheers! Liz

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