Denim Re Cut





Just around 15% of all textiles processed in the production of clothing end up on the cutting room floor due to the waste generated by pattern cutting. The vast majority of this fabric scrap goes un-repurposed and ends up in landfills or incinerators alongside the thousands of pounds of post consumer fashion waste.




Pattern cutting is an essential element of garment production and contemporary fashion as we know it.  Any item of clothing made of a non- stretch material that contours to the body does so via cut pieces of fabric that when sewn together achieve shape.  Conventional pattern cutting fits these pieces as closely as possible along a square of fabric and loses just around 15% of the material in the process. 

Jeans are one such garment which are defined by their fit and cut. As an iconoclastic workers garment and a staple of contemporary fashion, to forgo the fit of jeans would be to negate their conventional identity.

What to Do with Pattern Cutting Waste?

Denim is now at the forefront of a number of new recycling initiatives by brands including Madewell, Nudie, and Levi's where industrial shredding allows post consumer denim or pattern cutting waste to be re-purposed into insulation.  While an important step in the right direction, converting textiles into insulation downgrades the material from one of high industry value to a composite material.  All of the dye used in the production of denim is lost in a new product that does not utilize its color. More recent initiatives are working to combine recycled fibers into new jeans and The New Denim Project has developed a system to convert scrap denim into new thread.  Denim Re-Cut aims to explore a bespoke approach to second life textiles.


The Work

Denim is a two part experiment exploring methods to eliminate pattern cutting waste via textile innovation and no waste pattern cutting.  By re-purposing denim waste into a bespoke fashion textile, denim can be upcycled into a new product of value which plays from and enhances the inherent qualities of its host material. 


To produce the sample textile old jeans were shredded by hand and machine felted with wool roving onto a wool base layer.

In the Spirit of Cradle to Cradle Design.

The repurposed denim textile was created as such so that it could also be part of a biodegradeable textile model.  By combining cotton with wool the materials remain natural, and, if used in conjuction with organic cotton and natural dyes pose the potential for a biodegradable end. Freitag has one such jean.

Zero Waste Pattern Cutting

In order to approach the issue of pattern cutting waste from another angle Denim experimented with the use of geometry as a design enhancing restriction that lends itself to no-waste pattern cutting. By organizing, splicing, and altering pattern pieces a garment can be constructed out of elements which fit together seamlessly on the original bolt of fabric.  Denim begins to explore the possibilities of playing off of the characteristics of geometric shapes to reach innovative silhouettes. 

Using Format