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Zero-waste fashion designer uses scraps for colorful patchwork flowy pants

Updated: May 1, 2023

quilted knee patches on linen pants

I highly value resourcefulness in life-- to save time and money, and of course, to reduce the impact of consumerism on the environment! Artists, crafters, and designers can likely all agree that we save an overwhelming amount of seemingly insignificant trinkets, scraps, tools, and memos for an ungodly amount of time (I mean decades) with the promise that they will become useful... later.

In my case, as an independent fashion designer, I am saving up lots of fabric scraps that are cast aside from each garment I cut out and sew. There is something genetically ingrained in my brain that whispers "hey, save that tiny, wonky 4" scrap of fabric... you might need it someday farrrr in the future...come on, it only takes up a teeny tiny bit of space..." [1 year later and my scraps are taking up an entire 3'x3' bin in my little jam-packed home studio! Oy!]

Luckily, I sew with all-natural fibers (like linen and cotton) that are plant-dyed and could easily biodegrade even if I don't always find these scraps a worthy new home, BUT, I absolutely love the creative challenge of designing something beautiful using what you already have.

About 1 year after launching my business, I have built up my scrap fabric arsenal and took on my first zero-waste fabric scrap project:

Patchwork Pockets & Quilted Knee Patches

I've always loved a patch pocket (this is a style of pocket that is stitched visibly, right on top of the surface of the pants) and found it to be the perfect spot to incorporate some quilted patchwork.

From a sewing perspective, both the knee patches and the pockets are great because

  • they are already squared-off shapes (not a lot of curves or points)

  • they pretty much stay the same size even as the size of the pants increases (so I don't have to think about sizing when calculating my patchwork.

From a fashion perspective, quilted clothing is EVERYTHING right now!

From upcycled quilt coats to patchwork pants, we are all absolutely loving the geometric shapes, loads of stitching, and cozy-country-handmade-ness vibe that a touch of patchwork clothing brings to our wardrobe!

Naturally dyed patchwork

The natural earth tones in my fabric are a combination of pigments from red onions, black beans, black tea, leafy foliage, logwood, and acorns! All are plant-based dyes that I've used in my line of clothing over the past year. So, in many ways, my patchwork knee patches are a time capsule of my first 15 months in business :) Here's to many more!

quilted knee patches on linen pants

Get in on my patchwork pants while the scraps pile is still here!

You can find my patchwork pockets on the HARVESTER shorts and my quilted knee patches on the SWALLOWTAIL pants. Both are locally made in my home studio using natural fibers and pigments from plants.


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