Works of Art from Sewing Rubbish

It has been a while since I started exploring and learning the process of Zero Waste pattern making. It all started with “Zero Waste Fashion” book by Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan a few years ago. This book really opened the whole new world of creativity for me! Since first reading it I have learned a lot mainly through self-directed studies online. If you also are interested to dig dipper into this area check out Zero Waste Design Online and Liz Haywood work on Instagram and start exploring from there! Not long ago I have collaborated with ZWDO and contributed with a blog post on their website, you can read full article here.

I am now on a journey to create 10 zero waste designer dresses and share the patterns with everyone. Five of the dresses are ready – check out my online shop SEWING PATTERNS section to download the patterns and try them out! I have just now finished Zero Waste Dress number 6. And with this one I am taking the concept of “zero waste” onto a whole new level by trying to use not only 100% of the fabric but also all the sewing rubbish left after any dressmaking process – tiny threads and scraps leftovers.

The inspiration for this project came from Japanese culture and their ability to create intricate and unrealistically beautiful pieces of art from just about everything around. I Invite you to explore the craft of creating Temari balls with me and I promise you – once you have tried this - you will get addicted! 🙂

After I finished Felicity Zero Waste Dress (zero waste dress number 6) I was left with two little piles of tiny fabric scraps and threads leftovers.

First I just wanted to leave the dress description as “low waste” instead of “zero waste”, but this didn’t sit well with me. The dress required some accessories and I thought why not to use sewing rubbish to create them? And two beautiful Temari balls were created.

Have you ever heard of Temari Balls?  Once a children’s plaything toy, Japanese Temari balls have become a carefully crafted item of beauty, charming many with their elaborate woven designs.  With a history of well over a thousand years, the colorful balls of geometric thread designs have remained an icon of childhood, femininity and luck, and are still enjoyed by collectors and craftspeople alike. The name is believed to have come from kemari, a kick ball, brought over from China in the Yamato period, over 1300 years ago. Unlike the leather kemari, the softer, more feminine temari was originally made from silk scraps and was played with inside like a hacky-sack using one’s hands and elbows. The development of cotton thread production in Japan at this time resulted in the spread of popularity of Temari. Also named ito-mari (糸鞠, thread balls), these soft balls wrapped in intricate geometric designs of cotton and silk threads lifted the position of Temari from a mere toy to a work of art. Traditionally Temari balls were gifted to children on New Year’s day to wish for children's happiness. In modern Japan, Temari are a symbol of both New Year and young femininity.

I used basic kiku pattern as my Temari were rather small. You can find full tutorial on my You Tube channel. The balls can be used as belt accessory or as earrings! Alternatively, you can make one Temari instead of two and use it as Christmas tree decoration or give to your kids to play, which was actually the original purpose of creating these beautiful works of art in Japan.

You can download the pattern for this dress here for a donation of your choice.

Have you ever made a Temari ball? Would you try to create one now? Let me know in comments! 🙂

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