Textile waste is one of the world's largest pollutants, and since there is currently no way to recycle garments/textiles on the same scale as the way we recycle paper or aluminum, this means that the majority of our clothes end up in not just our own waste streams but in others around the world. While we prioritize working with natural textiles that will biodegrade back into the earth safer and quicker than synthetic materials, we are always looking for inventive solutions to give our textile scraps a new life and to keep them out of waste streams.
Because waste is not waste until you waste it!
This past season we asked our partners in Guatemala to save all of the fabric scraps from our quilted jackets and pants to give new life to a special project! Our incredible production manager Rosa worked with a local seamstress named Sandra to create patchwork panels which were then quilted and re-sewn, resulting in our first Zero-Waste Patchwork Quilted Jacket! While we are calling this our "Zero-Waste" jacket, we want to be clear that this is still a work in progress. Not all of our scraps have found a home, but we will continue to incorporate zero-waste practices into our design and production processes. These are just the first steps on our journey to circular design!
To start, the scraps were organized by color and then divided by larger or smaller pieces. Sandra, seamstress we collaborated with, has years of experience making quilts and quilted coasters. We used those patterns as a starting point for our artwork layout and after a few iterations we landed on the layout you see below!
Once Sandra finished the quilted squares, they were passed off to La Workshop who patch-worked them together with some of our solid fabric pieces. Once the panels were finished the team carefully positioned the paper patterns over the patchwork panels, making sure all of the artwork was aligned accurately. Each panels is unique, which makes the cutting and sewing process very time consuming.
Once all of the pieces were cut we were ready to sew our first sample! The last step was confirming our stitch placement for the quilting. Our standard quilted jackets feature a vertical quilting stitch, but for the patchwork jacket we decided to quilt along the existing seaming in a zig zag line, so the focus would be on the patchwork design, not the stitching. :)
Our final samples turned out even better than we imagined, and we're so dang proud! We are endlessly grateful to the La Workshop team (hey Rosa!) for taking on such a labor intensive project and creating such a special piece. We hope you enjoyed this peak behind the scenes and love this little zero-waste jacket as much as we do!
Available in Clay and Indigo, each jacket takes approximately 30+ hours to complete! And because they're made from our upcycled scraps we are only able to offer a very limited quantity of just six jackets per colorway!
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En Tsao ~ Maker/Founder, Brooklyn, NY.
For our Muse series we'll be taking time to catch up with people who inspire us daily through their artwork, music, entrepreneurship, activism, design, etc. They are the movers and shakers of our time and are setting the bar high with their unique voice and vision.
Produced in small batches here in Brooklyn, NY, Even Keel infuses Eastern Roots with Western Herbs to handcraft a vegan bath & body line with a principal focus on our earth’s natural clays, oils and botanicals.
Algodones Mayas was founded 26 years ago by Luisa's parents with a goal of preserving the Guatemalan culture, the land, it's natural colors and motifs. To do this they grow and cultivate native pre-hispanic colored cotton. The thread derived from their cotton does not go through any dyeing process. They preserve 100% of the plant's natural colors: brown Ixcaco, raw white and jade green.