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This week I am back with a short thematic episode to tie in with Zero Waste Week 2017. As this year’s campaign touches upon making, I thought I would share some of the ways that waste features in and even fuels my making.

The podcasts will shortly also be available iTunesPlayerFM and other podcast catchers.

As always, I can be found on Instagram and Ravelry. There is also a Ravelry Group for the Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet podcast.

Before launching into the cunning art of waste minimisation, there are a couple of practical update.

With regards to my no-nylon sock experiment, Alice Elsworth of Whistlebare Farm contacted me to warn against using the Yeavering Bell blend for socks but as she is interested in my experiment, she sent me a skein of their Cuthbert Sock yarn to include in my study.

I also want to thank everybody for their feedback on last episode, with its focus on affordability, and remind you of the giveaway that is running in the Ravelry group for a skein of Daughter of a Shepherd Hebridean 4-ply and tote bag.

I have been an ambassador for the Zero Waste Week, a campaign that harnesses the power of online community both to encourage waste avoidance and remind those who are discretely doing their bit to minimise waste day in day out that we are not walking this path alone. As this year’s campaign touches upon making, I thought I would explore some of the ways that waste consciousness affects my making, particularly as this ties in well with the issue of affordability which I raised last week. If you want to know more about the campaign, click on the logo below or check out @myzerowaste, #zerowasteweek and #zerowasteweek2017 on Instagram and Twitter.

Click here for Zero Waste week


As I register waste as inefficient resource usage, I mention some of the simple things I do in my dressmaking to avoid waste, from the toile making through fabric sourcing to finishing. I also explain how the following Japanese saying inspires which scraps of fabric I keep.


I also share some of the ways that waste has helped unlock my dormant creative side by providing access to free materials with which to experiment.

Even onion skins are treated as a precious resource rather than waste

Dabbling with patchwork quilting thanks to waste


Music: Springish by Gillicuddy on FreeMusicArchive and shared under Creative Commons Attribution license.










  • ericka eckles September 7, 2017, 3:57 pm

    even if I have a piece of fabric too small to wrap 3 beans in, it still gets saved, I keep a little bowl on my sewing table and loose thread snippests get put in there, and when it gets full they are emptied into a bag, along with those tiny pieces of fabric and then just snipped up even smaller to make the best ever stuffing….I use this for cushions (they plump up a treat), toy stuffing, and also to stuff pin cushions (nothing annoys me more than putting a pin into something and having it shoot right through and jabbing me because it’s only been lightly stuffed with synthetic cloudy stuffing…..pieces of blanket left over form my hot water bottles and christmas stockings are blanket stitiched for needle case inserts and postcard sized pieces of calico or quilting muslin are tea dyed and used as little linings for needle cases….Nanny used to save all her old pairs of tights and when they could no longer be darned she would chop them up for cushions but also to make draught excluders.

    • Meg and Gosia September 18, 2017, 12:16 pm

      Mum was the same with her old stockings. My old teddy bear was restuffed with mum’s laddered hosiery 😉

  • Mairead September 8, 2017, 10:27 am

    This is such a huge issue, isn’t it? I recycle my husband’s non-work clothing by donating to a local charity for the homeless. But I hadn’t thought of using his worn out work shirts as fabric for toiles. To be honest, I’m a little more gung ho in my dressmaking. I measure the pattern pieces before I cut them to ensure I’m cutting something that will fit, and then dive in.

    I do, however re-use my traced pattern pieces, which is where Swedish tracing paper comes into its own. Yes, it’s expensive to buy, but pencil marks on the pieces rub out really easily, and the paper can be used time and time again.

    • Meg and Gosia September 18, 2017, 12:15 pm

      Reusing Swedish tracing paper is a fabulous idea!

  • Isa September 11, 2017, 8:41 am

    Hi Mrs M
    I was listening to your episode and one of your comments about choosing fabrics from stores that sell industry offcuts really sparked my interest. Could you please share your recommendations for stores that sell these kind of fabrics?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Meg and Gosia September 18, 2017, 12:25 pm

      Isa, I’m glad the episode sparked interest. Tracking down companies that stock end of bolts from industry can be tricky. Some companies use it for their whole offering, others for only some of their offering so you really need to read/check the details for each item. I know that Ditto Fabrics, Clothspot, Fabworks, Croft Mill and even Fabric Godmother (all online) to a lesser extent buy up clothes merchants end of line fabric as part of their overall stocking strategy. The kind of fabrics that typically come from this source are wool blends, trouser fabric and shirting fabric. I tend to look to these stockist for fabric for classic/plain staples that will work year in year out, rather than cute seasonal prints. What I would do is contact companies you already use for fabric and ask them how/where they source their fabric. Cultivating a relationship, even with an online seller, is useful because a/ you can sow the seed about sourcing in their mind if they don’t already use this technique and b/ if they do use this technique, you can ask them to look out for certain types/shades of fabric. I hope that helps.

    • Maireaad September 19, 2017, 1:05 pm

      The Fabric Godmother has a separate tab in her fabrics section for ex-designer fabrics. Hope this helps.

      • Meg and Gosia September 26, 2017, 11:42 am

        Thanks for flagging this up, Mairead.


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