Re-thinking the design process

For me, it has always been very important to produce our collections sustainably.

We sourced all our materials locally and used a lot of remnants, end-of-line as well as vintage materials.

But you know what, i think we can do better than that !

I want to find a way to minimise or create no waste in our production if possible and looked into a few zero-waste options.

Knitting: With knitting, you only ever use as much material as you need for your garment so it a great method.

Smart Pattern Cutting: Patterns are designed to take up the entire width of the textile so there will be zero waste at all.

Draping: Textiles are draped directly on the body to create a garment. This method isn’t new but was already used by the ancient Greeks in Chitons and Indians for Saris.

I also found a technique called Subtraction Cutting, which is kind of like a combination of traditional pattern cutting and draping but instead of adding various parts to a garment, you create shape and structure by cutting away/subtracting from the textile, hence its name.

Subtraction Cutting is a method developed by Fashion Designer Julian Robert. He showed for 12 seasons at London Fashion show but now, spends most of his time travelling around the globe teaching this amazing technique to whoever would like to learn.

I joined one of his Master Classes in London and felt utterly inspired by it. We were taught a technique called the Tunnel Technique.

Basically, this is what you do:

Sew 2 fabric Pieces together to create  a tunnel
Sew 2 fabric Pieces together to create a tube by stitching along sides and one width.
Tracing neck, arm and neck hole to get started (we were making a dress) and start subtracting shapes form the fabric.
Trace neck, arm and neck hole to get started (we were making a dress).
Connect the front and back pieces by drawing a line from bottom of respective pattern.
Connect the front and back pieces by drawing a line from bottom of respective pattern.
Cut out shape
Cut out shape
Pin and stitch together shoulders straps and sides.
Pin and stitch together shoulders straps and sides.
Turn garment inside out and and start placing pair of circles on dress. Make sure the circle is wide enough for body to pass through.
Turn garment inside out and and start placing pairs of circles on dress. Make sure the circle is wide enough for body to pass through.
Begin tracing and subtracting circles from fabric in pairs.  (Make sure circles big enough to fit around hips as needs to be wide enough for body to pass through.
Begin  subtracting circles from fabric in pairs.
Pin and stitch together matching circles.
Pin and stitch together matching circles.
After 2 sets of circles being subtracted and stitched together my dress was ready for the stand.
After 2 sets of circles being subtracted and stitched together my dress was ready for the stand.
Twisted Dress detail
Twisted dress detail
All students were given the exact same instructions and fabrics. Look how different the dresses all turned out ! 
All students were given the exact same instructions and fabrics, apart from the yellow one which was Julian’s. Look how different the dresses all turned out !

This method isn’t totally zero waste as you do end up with some subtracted parts but I am sure there are ways around that. I can’t wait to experiment further in the studio.

To find out more about Julian Robert, visit his website.

He also has a free book with instructions on how to Sub Cut that you can download on the blog.

2 thoughts

    1. Thank you. glad you enjoyed this post. You should try it out one day. A really fun way to design I think. I bit more “organic” and you never really know what happens until you finished sewing, so quite exciting actually.

      Like

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