My almost zero waste Lillypilly dress

Before I launch into a post about the latest thing I made, I want to say:

Black Lives Matter

I’m a white woman of privilege. Black makers like Renee, Elaine and Carolyn have said it so much better than me and written eloquently about murder, injustice, civil unrest, pain and anguish in a way I never could.

I don’t want to be trite. There are many things much more important than my sewing or this blog.

So. This is what I made recently while doing a lot of thinking and reading about race, prejudice and privilege, and realising I have a lot to learn.

It’s the Lillypilly zero waste dress from Liz Haywood, my local indie pattern maker. Her versions are all really cute:

Lillypilly dress all views
Image source:

I had a lot of fun drawing the pattern directly onto my fabric with chalk. And that was also where my mistake was made.

The armscyes ended up a lot bigger than they should have – a combination of blunt chalk, cutting out on the outer edge of the blunt chalk line and then not reading the instructions and turning the bias tape to the inside rather than binding the edge. Probably a bit of stretching out of the fabric too.

So I sewed the shoulder seam again, 4 cm lower at the shoulder point angling back to nothing at the top of the funnel neck edge. Now not zero waste and not the most beautifully shaped armscyes but much more wearable. Also, how good is my KATM mini ruler?

The fabric has been in my stash for 11 years. Well done past me for recording the date of purchase, fabric composition, length and width and provenance on a price of paper pinned to the fabric.

It’s a sophisticated silvery olive and black mid weight woven polyester that has never seemed quite right or been quite long enough for any project until now – 2 meters of 115cm wide fabric limited what it could be used for. So it languished in the stash.

Being a jacquard, the reverse side is nice too – which matters because you can see the wrong side of the fabric at the neck, The selvedge is particularly lovely so I left it to show at the hem.

Liz’s very clever zero waste design re-purposes the pieces you cut out for the armscyes as pockets. But they are not very big, even with my mistake.

I had extra fabric (see – another reason this project is not really zero waste) so I cut out regular sized in-seam pockets from the leftovers using the pocket pattern from Tessuti’s Bella dress. I have used the Bella dress pockets on so many garments as well as the Bella dress now.

I particularly like the organic shaped funnel neck on this dress. I didn’t do anything to style it for these photos – it just seems to fall into a nice shape.

This photo also shows the not straight hem. I could have curved it up into a more conventional hem line at the side seams but that would have been the third not zero waste thing I did, and would also have meant the selvedge hem had to go.

I think I might be sold on zero waste sewing ….. and I have 16 projects in Liz’s zero waste sewing book to work my way through.

17 thoughts on “My almost zero waste Lillypilly dress

  1. A lovely incarnation of this style -and I really like it with tights and a sweater underneath which makes it extremely versatile 😊

    • Thanks Kim. I’m convinced it will be very versatile. I’m tempted to make several more, but sewing time is limited and other patterns are calling to me..

  2. Lovely marriage of fabric and pattern. The drape is fab and the metallic shine makes it look almost futuristic. And it is obviously utterly comfy, well done! I’m curious about zero waste but my body shape typically is not suitable for the more boxy or unusual silhouettes in zero waste garments. But this one has some grace and the drapey fabric helps some more. Food for thought… nice how I always find some inspiration in your blog… 🙂

  3. Eloquent words that suppor,t while accepting one’s lack of expertise on the matter… That fabric drapes beautifully. I was gifted Liz’s newest book by my sister, some terrific patterns to go on my ‘to sew’ list…

    • Thank you Would love to know what’s on your list. The first one on mine is the hooded robe (new dressing gown!) but I love the geometric top too

  4. It’s a really great make and the fabric is really interesting! Thanks for your opening words.

  5. Your dress is lovely- and hey, it might not have turned out perfectly zero waste but less waste is better than standard patterning!
    I was so excited to learn there’s a zero waste pattern book out there but sadly the silhouettes don’t match my personal aesthetic 😔 ill be following her tho- maybe there will be a good pattern for EGL down the road! 😁

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