How to Sew Sustainably – Signed Copies Available Now!

How to sew sustainably by Wendy Ward

Signed copies of my new book How to Sew Sustainably are now available in my shop:

This last paragraph from the acknowledgements sums up my feelings about this book:

“Given how the last eighteen months have been, I honestly feel like this book is even more timely than when I first started to talk about it with Cico Books in 2019. The pandemic seems to have forced lots of us to reconnect with ourselves and our environments and the simple joys to be had in life, like picking up a piece of fabric and making something out of nothing.”

Techniques Section

How to Sew Sustainably is structured like all my other books, with a comprehensive techniques section separate from the projects which can also be used as a standalone manual. Techniques include solid foundation basic sewing techniques as well as my specific methods for using scraps and leftovers with these techniques organised by the size of the fabric used. There are also chapters on why we need to sew sustainably, ideas for sourcing materials in a more sustainable way, basic refashioning ideas and a couple of easy mending techniques.

As well as the format feeling familiar to anyone who has any of my other books, the layout should look familiar too:

Clear step-by-step instructions alongside my hand-drawn illustrations and gorgeous photos so you know exactly what you’re aiming for.

Projects Section

There are nine overall projects in How to Sew Sustainably, each with multiple versions to build your skills and suit different tastes.

The projects include three focussed on clothes making, each with three versions which use minimal waste cutting techniques:

  • Building Blocks top and dresses
  • A Different Perspective pants, top and dress
  • Yes You Can jacket, robe and top.

In an attempt to make the clothing projects in How to Sew Sustainably truly inclusive, there are no patterns in the book and each project is drafted to your own measurements, meaning you can make them to fit any body regardless of age, gender or size. They can even be adapted for children.

To compliment the clothes making projects are two accessory making projects, also each with multiple versions to develop your skills and suit individual tastes:

  • Push The Envelope tote bag, belt bag and pouch
  • Strength in Numbers scarf and snood.

In a new direction from my previous books, How to Sew Sustainably includes three projects to sew for your home and one project dedicated to making art:

  • Blue Skies curtains
  • No Place Like Home cushions
  • Better Together organiser
  • Wishful Thinking wall art and cards.

We don’t all have the luxury of living in our own homes. If you live in rented or temporary accommodation and aren’t allowed to decorate the interior, you can still control what you put in it and textile items made with care and filled with stories and memories have the power to make any space feel like home.  The power to create something that makes your home more comfortable is empowering, it gives you back some control over your environment and that was a big motivation for me to include these projects in the book.

I first became interested in sustainability in the fashion and textile industries when I wrote my dissertation for my undergraduate degree in the late 90s. Since then I’ve worked for a small brand producing clothing from organic fair-trade cotton, explored ways to recycle textiles through my masters degree and taught alterations and creative recycled textiles classes in community venues and outreach centres. For much of that journey I’ve felt like a bit of an oddity, out on a limb doing my own thing, shouting into the void, but in the last few years I’ve realised that there are ordinary people, beyond the scientists, policy-makers and academics out there, who are just as interested in this stuff and keen to make a difference. I hope How to Sew Sustainably will inspire you to join us and enjoy a renewed love of fabrics: the new, the old, the shabby, the torn and the scraps.

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