This article originates from a PhD research project that investigates the elimination of fabric waste from the production of clothing. Most efforts to reduce the amount of fabric waste have centred on various types of marker-making software that place the garment pieces on a length of fabric as tightly as possible. Despite these efforts, in adult outerwear on average 15 percent of the total fabric used is wasted at the cutting out stage, according to Cooklin (1997: 9). Feyerabend’s estimate is 10 to 20 percent (2004: 4), while Abernathy, Dunlop et al. (1999: 136) put the figure at 10 percent for pants and jeans, but higher for blouses. The primary obstacle for fabric waste elimination is that the software, regardless of its level of sophistication, is always limited by what has already been designed and patternmade. This project proposes that to eliminate fabric waste, the garment must be designed, and a pattern made for it, with fabric waste elimination as a design consideration, alongside aesthetics, price, target market, etc. To avoid wasting any fabric, the pattern pieces of a garment must interlock on a given length of fabric prior to cutting; therefore fabric waste elimination is also a patternmaking consideration. One of the aims of the project is to provide practical, accessible information for fashion designers and patternmakers about how they may modify their practices so that fabric waste is eliminated or drastically reduced. The research is motivated primarily by environmental/ ecological sustainability.

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