Zero Waste, and Gratitude as an Action
I finished a skirt (New Look 6854) today — I’m pretty stoked with it:
I’ve made this skirt before, but it fit too low on the hips so I didn’t realize how short it would be at the proper length. Then I decided anyone who has a problem with my knees can take a flying leap. I added belt loops, but not pockets since I had just barely enough of this fabric left to cut out the skirt.
This is what I had left over when I finished cutting out two skirts yesterday:
I’ve seen a number of Thanksgiving posts out in the blogosphere; a lot of people giving thanks for family and friends, home and food. I’m grateful for all these things and more; we have enough left over after providing for our needs to help others. However, sometimes I feel quite wasteful. Yesterday, I threw out two big bags of scraps — they all looked like the pile up there, they were tiny bits and pieces, yet I found myself thinking of people who make postage stamp quilts or items from strips of selvage. Then I had to forcibly remind myself that I hate quilting and if I pieced together selvage, I might actually LOSE my mind and my family deserves a woman with her mind more or less together.
But it did make me think of gratitude as an action, rather than an emotion. I’m grateful we have enough — so I donate to charity. The Hubs and I are grateful for his job — so we offer to pass around resumes for friends who are looking. I’m grateful for cotton farmers, weavers, exporters and sellers — so the least I can do is make sure I don’t waste the fruits of their labor. Cotton is called the “most toxic crop on the planet,” due to the pesticides and chemical processing necessary to grow the plants and turn them into fabric. While I’m not willing to do without my cotton fabric (thanks to allergies), and recycling secondhand clothes for fabric is prohibitively expensive in my area, I can and do try to use the fabric I have wisely.
Zero waste is a concept involving making clothing from a single piece of fabric. Clothing may be cut and sewn; it may have darts or tucks, but generally it will stay in one piece. It takes some pretty intense engineering to make clothing this way, and it isn’t feasible for more form-fitted garments, but it’s an interesting concept. Zero waste is an ideal. Minimal waste is a more attainable goal; to dispose only of those pieces that have no further use. I’m not going to suddenly take up postage-stamp quilting (that would require a personality transplant), but I’m trying to be increasingly mindful of how I use my resources — in sewing, as well as in other pursuits.