#zero waste fashion
Do you have any advice for making the head/shoulder/neck hole to a (slightly) off the shoulder top smaller?
There's a few options for that! Let's take a look at some ideas you could try.
How to make necklines smaller
If your top happens to have a boatneck neckline, you're in luck. Boatneck tops usually don't have a defined neckline: they're two straight edges sewn together to form a neck hole.
Either use a ladder stitch to close up the neckline, or add in wedges cut from a fabric of a similar weight and fibre if you want to customise the fit beyond just making the neck hole smaller.
(Image source) [ID: a Sinclair sewing pattern for a knit boatneck top called "Adele". On the left is a top-down photo of a woman modelling a boatneck top with white and navy stripes and fabric wedges at the shoulders. On the right is a diagram of the corresponding sewing pattern.]
Darts can also help to make a neckline fit better. They're little wedge-shaped pleats that are used to adjust the fit of a garment.
Turn your top inside-out and put it on, then pin small pleats at your neckline until it fits (or ask someone to do this for you). Take your top off again, being careful not to hurt yourself on the pins, then sew down the pleats.
You can either do this in the front or the back of your neckline, depending on your tastes and the construction of the garment you're trying to alter.
(Image source) [ID: diagram of the placement of four darts at the rounded neckline of a top. Text: Sewing For A Living. Make darts or small pleats with different depth, shape and length in order to get the best result.]
Taking in the shoulders:
Taking in the shoulders of your top is also an option if darts aren't your thing. Put on your shirt inside out, pin new shoulder seams, take it off again, then sew your new seam.
(Image source) [ID: a v-neck wrap top with a green and white geometrical print turned inside out. Dotted lines and arrows show where to sew new hems to take in the shoulders and sleeves of the top.]
If you've got more advanced sewing skills, you could try to remove the current neckline and resew it.
If it's a double fold hem, undo the hem stitching and check if the extra fabric in the hem is enough to make your top smaller without having to add more fabric. If so, use that extra fabric to make a new hem that fits you better.
If you've got a bound neckline (like on t-shirts), you could try to remove the current binding and add a wider one, made from a similar fabric.
(Image source) [ID: close-up of a round bound neckline of a t-shirt with thin black and white stripes.]
If your neckline isn't bound but has a simple finish, an easy way to make it smaller is to gather the fabric for a pleated look. You could do this by machine or by hand.
If you want to take it a step further, you can also use a decorative technique to gather fabric by hand.
(Image source) [ID: five photo's demonstrating five different techniques to gather fabric by hand in a decorative way, shown with black thread on a white piece of fabric.]
A more decorative option is to add lacing at the neckline, if the neck's shaping allows for it: add grommets, eyelets, or loops at the neckline and thread a cord through them to adjust the fit. You could also tighten up the neck hole by modifying your neckline into a drawstring neckline.
Both options will allow you to adjust the fit of the neckline on the fly.
Another option that gives you some more flexibility is to add elastic to your neckline. This will result in a gathered look that stretches along with your body.
(Image source) [ID: a piece of white elastic sewn onto a scrap of pink fabric with a zig-zag stitch using blue thread. The elastic has caused the fabric to gather.]
If you're handy with knitting needles or a crochet hook, you could also knit/crochet a new neckline.
This makes for an easy alteration if your top's made of a knit material. Just pick up stitches around your neckline and knit/crochet a new one like you would for any other project.
If your top's made of a different type of fabric, you'll have to do an extra step before you can start picking up stitches. There are different methods to do this, but the easiest one is to sew a blanket stitch around your fabric edge and then use this blanket stitch edge to pick up stitches. You'll need an appropriate needle for this: one that has an eye large enough to fit your yarn and a point sharp enough to pierce your fabric.
(Image source) [ID: close-up on the neckline of a gray top with a round neck. A crocheted edge in orange yarn has been added to the top by first sewing a blanket stitch along the neckline, then picking up stitches from the blanket stitching.]
If you like the off-shoulder look, you could add straps to give your top a layered look while also keeping it from slipping off your shoulders. Your top'll look like you're wearing a bra or a tank top underneath.
Check out the brand Liz Lisa if you're looking for inspiration. They use this type of strapped off-shoulder design a lot.
(Image source) [ID: a pink knit off-shoulder sweater with puffed sleeves, cables, two pink bows, and lace. Two knitted straps sit at the shoulders to keep the sweater from slipping.]
There's a lot of options to make a neck hole smaller! Which one to choose comes down to your personal preference and the amount of effort you want to put into your alteration.
This post is not exhaustive, but gives a fair idea of where to start.
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Lists like these I find are great if you have a way to filter microplastics out of your laundry with something like guppy bag. I also use it when I’m looking for a new clothing item. Being able to pick natural fibers over synthetics is preferable when there's the option. Even when clothes aren’t in the wash they release micro plastics as you wear them. When looking for new items I try to look for more natural fibers. This also holds over for other items where textiles are part of their construction. If you aren’t overly familiar with different types of fabrics hopefully this will be useful in making decisions on how to be more responsible for your textile waste!
photo credit to reducewastenow on instagram
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The mending drawer, basket or box is the Never Ending Story in the sewing room. And the worst thing is that we know, but choose to let the days, weeks and months go by and not do anything to fix it.
With the start of the new year, I was convinced I could change this and, a couple of months ago I mended two dresses I hadn’t been able to wear before and, since then, I have used lots.
The next ones in my list were two shirts that were too loose. I bought them on offer and they deserved a bit of TLC.
The first one is a beautiful brown polka dotted in a cream colour; and what I love about it is the it has the same pattern but in a smaller size dots on the collar and cuffs. The thing is that I always pull my sleeves up so I was missing the little polka dots. That’s why I decided to cut the sleeves down in size through the armholes. A small change but just what I wanted!
The second one has a more natural feel and a pocket on the left, which was the first thing I got rid of. And because I already have a few of theses, I decided to chop the sleeves off and have it ready for summer.
They’re only small changes but they mean a nice change in my wardrobe and in the sewing room!
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Tutorial Click !
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Can I move into the woods? Part 2
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woke up thinking about "i'd make my own clothes but it's so expensive". the amount of times i've heard this without the person saying it putting 2 & 2 together is wild. so you know the cost of making a garment, how do you think fast fashion companies are selling them for so cheap? that's right, they don't pay their workers fairly. even the best company discounts on fabric & other supplies can't bring the cost of a garment down that astronomically if they're paying their workers a living wage. let's also not forget the low quality, unsustainable materials they're most likely using to reduce cost further to lure in consumers. fast fashion is cruel & a scam and i'm so tired of it.
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I FINISHED IT!!!
Both the vest and shorts are now complete 🥳
It was really complicated (I started sewing around a month and a half/two months ago) but it's one step closer to making jackets and long pants!!
Not sure what my next project will be but I'm excited for what's to come 🤩
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I haven’t posted on here in forever but I miss when I used to! Since my last official post, I gained a shopping addiction lol and spent an unholy amount of money on clothes and toys (I missed the days when my obsession was limited by the money I had haha). These are the few things I wore the first two weeks (three counting the first week I was here before classes) of college! When I used to post, it was the start of the pandemic and I was in my junior year heading to my senior year! Crazy to think ik. The last fit is basically what I wore today but I did my hair differently which I think threw off the whole fit but I think it was neat and I wanted to practice using different colors and patterns. Didn’t think it was too much of a success but it was still something new.
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Easy Downsize Jeans Waist Elastic Hack by LYDIA NAOMI
LYDIA NAOMI (youtube, more projects)
(written instructions in UpstyleDaily)
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There's a lot of jargon involved in crafts and mending, which can make following tutorials confusing when you're new to this world.
This list of 33 essential sewing terms and phrases by TakeLessons will teach you some new vocabulary that will help you on your journey.
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Decoding labels is difficult with so many buzzwords and false labels as eco friendly practices become more popular. Many companies slap fake labels onto products. This chart will let you understand some of the labels. If you can recognize these symbols you’ll be able to know if these brands have more legitimacy. Third party certifications do better at holding companies accountable as someone else is actually verifying the standards of practice.
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Being sustainable is much more than just avoiding plastic bags and throwing rubbish in the right bin. It is also about buying less stuff and make it last for longer.
Our wardrobe can also be sustainable by purchasing good quality products and recycling an reusing what we own. That’s when sewing becomes useful, allowing us to be creative by transforming things.
I’ve had thin handbag forever and I love it because it is really useful, very light and the colour matches with everything. That’s why when it started to break I got sad. I thought I could repair it but then I realised how bad it was. Then I had an idea, I might be able to take it apart, and turn it inside out so the fabric looked like new again.
And I did! It was easy, the only problem I had was the zipper. I didn’t realise it was sewn in the seam, so when I wore it, it feel out, but I could fix it that same night.
The result is a new handbag that will last a few years more!
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Picked out the style and fabric for my custom made shirt from Zero Waste Daniel in Brooklyn, NY today. They made everything from leftover fabric scraps. Creating eco fashion and saving all this fabric from the landfills. I am so excited to see the finished product!!
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guys i was doom scrolling on Instagram and came across a post about shein and the comments were mostly "so what if they use child labor? all companies do that" and it's like... no... they don't. people were recommending more expensive fast fashion (think urban outfitters and H&M), and so many of them were greenwashed by the recyclable packaging that the unsustainable clothes come in.
this is why we NEED to keep spreading awareness.
a lot people genuinely think that sustainable clothing/fashion is unattainable. we all know that the answer is to consume less (no you don't need $200 worth of $5/piece clothes from shein, if that's the shopping habit you're used to i'm not surprised that you think sustainable fashion is only for the rich), but until we can change this mass over-consumption, "need to be new" mentality, things will stay the same.
we need to make it easier for people to find the sustainable brands, because a lot of people won't take the time to search "sustainable clothing brands" and read through an article. we need them to not see a $40 shirt and immediately close the page, wondering why it's so expensive. instead they should wonder why fast fashion is so cheap. we need to inform people of greenwashing, and that a company with recyclable packaging doesn't necessarily always have eco friendly products or use anything close to ethical practices. that more expensive doesn't always equal better practices or quality.
we need to keep fighting for our future, guys. there are still so many people who don't even know what they don't know - please keep raising awareness.
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Here are some of my sustainability goals RE: slow fashion!
I just felt inspired to make a little note about them after listening to Rob Greenfield on the Green Dreamer podcast. I recommend checking both him & the podcast out :-)
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my very first sewing project!!! matching pencil skirt and crop top set made from scraps of old fabric 🌟 it took me three full days to make this but considering it's the first thing I've ever sewn I'm so happy with it!!!
(I need to do some stitching on the top but it's past 11 and I'm tired I'll do it tomorrow morning lol)
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I have a crop top that I bought and is too tight in the armpit area (I got a female shirt that actually fits instead of a size or two up as I usually do) And I have no idea how to upsize that part. It's specifically the armpit area that is bothering me. Any tips for that maybe without butchering the sides?
If it's a top with sleeves: I've answered a similar ask on how to resize armholes a while back which has a few ideas on how to deal with this issue. If you'd rather replace the sleeves to make more room, I've also got a post on replacing sleeves you could check out.
If it's a sleeveless top, there's two techniques you could try.
The first technique involves lowering the armholes of your top. Put on your top, and use a piece of chalk or soap to outline where you'd like your new armhole to sit. Carefully cut out your new armscye, then finish off the raw edges, for example with bias tape.
If this alteration makes your armhole gape, then try adding in a side dart.
The second technique involves opening up your side seam and adding in a gusset. This means you'll be adding in extra fabric to make the armhole larger while keeping the fit of the rest of the garment. Measure out how much extra space you'd like. If you want to be sure your alteration will fit, try it out with a piece of paper first until you find the exact shape you need. Choose a fabric similar to your shirt, and cut out a triangle (or your paper template), then unpick part of your side seam with a seam ripper and insert the gusset. Finish up your edge, and you're done.
(Image source) [ID: a before and after picture of an armhole alteration on a black top with tiny white polkadots sitting on a mannequin. Text at the top of the picture: "How to lower armholes: bias tape version".]
Armpits can be tricky to get to fit right, but an alteration like this is definitely doable. I hope this post helps!
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I often think that sustainable fashion is usually thought of in either two regards: thrifting or sustainable brands. There is still more ways to go about it though that aren’t quite as widely discussed. Some of these practices are used by sustainable brands or are offshoots of thrifting, but perhaps in ways you might not have thought about.
If you’re someone who sews and makes their own clothes, being mindful how you pattern could reduce textile waste. As someone who does sew I know that being mindful of the warp and weft does impact how you lay your pattern pieces, so moving them around might not be as viable. Careful planning of your cuts though will make it easier to place the pieces closer together to reduce the amount of extra fabric between pieces. Picking fabric too with patterns that remain consistent and aligned irregardless of how they’re arranged such as solids, dense patterns instead of things like plaids that have lines to indicate their direction.
Thrifting or shopping “pre-loved” fashion as they put it is one of the easier options. Especially now as the scope of where to thrift has widened onto online platforms. I still prefer the typical thrift stores like the goodwill as even though I personally don’t have the widest options I do get my items for the most affordable prices. Personally this keeps me from overconsumption. Some other options are more curated consignment stores and antique shops as well as online retailers like thredup. Additionally for buying and selling there are sites like depop and poshmark.
Clothing swaps are some of the most fun ways to trade clothes with other. These are also nice because they can be either large or small scale events. I usually hold small gathering at my place with family and friends where we can exchange items we don't want. Sometimes they’re more in the form of closet clearcuts where other people don’t bring items to exchange, but can take from the pile of items that were offered. On a couple of occasions I’ve gone to large scale clothing swap events. The ones I’ve been to you bring your items and put them in the pile. For every item you bring you can pick out the same amount of items. These are nice because there’s a lot more selection and you might find items that you’d never get for yourself but want to experiment with their style. I will say though that these events usually are attended by predominantly standard size individuals.
Using fabric scraps to make items is probably one of my favorites to do. There is tons of videos on youtube and other tutorials on how to utilize scrap fabric for small projects. I actually love quilted and mismatched materials so I can make bigger items and projects. This is also applicable to yarn and other textile projects. Pinterest is a good resource as well to find more scrap projects.
Rewearing what you’ve already got is honestly the easiest way to divert textile waste. With overconsumption often clothes only get worn once or twice before they’re donated or thrown out. By getting the most wears out of what you have you’re doing your best to keep your textile waste as a minimum.
Hopefully these give you some more ideas of how to approach zero waste fashion! Have you done any of these and which ones are your favorite to partake in?
infographic from consciousstyle on instagram
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