ZW Cropped Shirt | Birgitta Helmersson | Zero Waste Sewing
As a recent sewing project I made the ZW Cropped Shirt by Birgitta Helmersson. It’s a “zero waste” pattern that rather than printing and pinning, you draw onto your fabric. It’s a series of rectangles that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, eliminating waste. The pattern is one size, and fits a range of body sizes. I wear a UK size 8 in blouses and dresses, and the finished garment measurements looked too big for me, so I cut it smaller. This resulted in a few unused rectangles of fabric, but I plan to put them to use in quilting and for making skinny hair scrunchies, so they won’t go to waste.
I cut the pattern slightly longer, as the fabric store I purchased my fabric from gave me 106cm rather than 100cm. The fabric was 155cm in width, but I only used 135cm of that width. The pattern is designed for fabric that’s 145cm in width. I made the sleeves longer, and the cuffs narrower, and used four wooden buttons rather than three.
The fabric is a 165gsm bio cotton from a UK fabric store called Fabric Inspirations, and the colour is called “old gold”. It’s somewhere between mustard and olive, and very soft. I used French seams all over, and chose not to use the little semi-circle and triangle cutouts as internal seam facings to eliminate visible stitching, and because the French seams made them unnecessary. I used these little cutouts to test my stitches and practice my buttonholes, as I was a bit rusty. I blind stitched the neckband in place by hand which took ages but made the finished garment look lovely on the inside and the outside. I also blind stitched the cuff bands in place on the inside. I’m really happy with the finished blouse, and I know I’ll wear it lots.
So, the finished product for me is not a pure zero waste product, but the true waste was minimal and the rectangles can be repurposed. I filmed myself making this pattern, so if you’re curious about trying it yourself, the video is below.