Stitchin’ away at those zero waste jeans

Zero waste jeans front knee patches sewn

Work is part way through the zero waste jeans project (last week I cut them out and the week before I did research and procrastinated). I’m happy with how things are going so far and I’m enjoying putting them together.

I forgot to buy a zip so I’ve done everything possible before the fly front needs to be done. I did consider a button fly instead, but I’d really like a zip.

I’m topstitching with a deep red Gutermann upholstery thread (the colour is deeper than in this photo).

Zero waste jeans topstitching thread

The denim is like cardboard. Hoping it will soften up after a couple of washes and wears. I don’t want to risk giving my overlocker a hernia so I’m using zig zag to neaten the seams.

You may recall I decided to have knee patches on these jeans, partly to make them a bit different but mostly to dispose of the excess fabric.

I chalked out the knee patch shape on both front legs…

Zero waste jeans knee patch guidelines

…and filled it in with strips of denim. You might notice that they’re not exactly alike.

Zero waste jeans knee patches

Some bits I used had the fringed selvedge. Zero waste proponents are pretty hot on using the selvedges, preferably in an artistic way. I’m still not sure; my entire training and career has been decidedly anti-selvedge. In factories they are trimmed off and either thrown away or (more often) hung from a hook for anyone to use. The most common use for selvedges is to tie up bundles of cut work for machinists, but there’s a host of other useful factory applications: tying power cords out of the way, hanging up cardboard patterns with, winding around scissor handles to make them more comfortable (fleecy is best for this), holding open the broken roller door until the repair man comes, tying back hair when you forgot a pony tail elastic, etc etc. Anything but use them in clothes! So just for a change, I thought I’d give selvedges a chance on these jeans, in the interests of zero waste.

The back pockets have selvedge detail on them to match:

Zero waste jeans back pockets ready to sew

The coin pocket is a bit, erm, unorthodox.

Zero waste jeans front pocket revealed
Zero waste jeans front pocket

That’s about all for now,



  1. Helen on February 18, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Oh I love the lining of the pockets!

    • lizhaywood on February 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      It’s really pretty, isn’t it? I think it’s very old fabric, which I might have got from the op shop.

  2. Anthea on February 18, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Love your progress.
    The red upholstery thread and floral pocket lining looks great. Very clever and so stylish
    Can’t wait for the next instalment!

    • lizhaywood on February 18, 2019 at 7:26 pm

      Many thanks Anthea.

  3. Chris Schwab on February 21, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns suggests washing stiff fabrics in Coke, original only, low water, no soap, several times if you like. If you Google you can find more info. This is such an interesting project- thanks for sharing

    • lizhaywood on February 21, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the tip! Just Googled it and read other people’s experiences. I will definitely try it, although I think I’ll have to wait until I’ve finished sewing. I did pre-wash the fabric first, but it actually seemed to make it stiffer. Many thanks.

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