Circular Fashion#

Modular Clothing + Zero Waste#

“While the EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills. The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.” CTR

Council for Textile Recycling

Reflections + Objective:#

I am extremely passionate about sustainable econvironmentally sound fashion and I believe it is our duty, as the youth and future of the fashion world to do more with less in order to counter the fast fashion industry.

Modular clothing has the potential to aleviate the volume in which we consume fashion.

It gives us the luxury as consumers to create our own persona through choosing how to assemble a piece in our wardrobe into various forms or change the function of a garment entirely by the manner in which we choose to sport it. Having multidisciplinary garments keep the freedom of individualism and expression through wardrobe, as well as having various uses or functions which would result in minimal consumption which would then result in minimal waste materials per person per year. It is a simple paradigm shift that we could adopt, but this change of mindset has to come from the consumer (bottom up approach to design), who will ultimately determine their needs and thusly the custumization of their modular garment.

With this modular theme I would like to create a jacket which can be worn in several variations, weather or occasion dependant. Ideally it could be worn in full length, waist length, with sleeves or without as a vest. Additionally, in futher prototyping, it could include a maxi length add-on, as well as a kimono sleeve add-on. To achieve this form I will:

  • Draft jacket pattern using Seamly2D
  • Create a no-sew module as interlocking system for pattern pieces using Rhino3D
  • Add module to pattern pieces making sure the interlock system is stable enough for wear
  • Laser cut pattern pieces, assemble garment
  • Mix, match and WEAR


Blessus: Modular Clothing You Can Customize With Concealed Zippers
Livia Firth Challenges H&M’s Claims of “Sustainability”
Pre-consumer zero-waste design
Zero Waste Fashion Design

Techiques + Softwares#

Connecting the Modules: Tests#


  • Design your geometric module (I chose one inspired by fashion inspired by flora and advocating the environment)
  • Use a design that is symmetric or one a tesselation
    • Tesselation:an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together, especially of polygons in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping
  • Once you have your desired pattern, cut many of the shapes out in paper to make tests
  • Make “male” and “female” interlocking slits in each shape and play around with various ways to interlock them
  • Once you are satisfied with the module and it’s interlocking system you can draw it digitally (Illustrator, Rhino3D, SketchUp)

Pattern: Simple Oversized Coat
Cucito&Modelli: Seamly2D Tutorial + Patterning Blog



For the purposes of this tutorial, you will need to download the following software:
Rhino3D Note: Rhino is not a free software, however there is a free 90 day trial.

Modular Overcoat [Prototype]#

Seamly2D (Valentina):#

I did not find this software very intuitive or user friendly, but it is great for making measurement formulas and rending patterns for use and manipulation in Rhino.
Here are a few basic tips and an intro video below (there are many tutorials on how to use this software online):

  • Use the left hand sidebar for commands.
  • Start from point “A”.
  • Use the point drop-menu and click enter, then add the desired mesurement to create points.
  • Use the line drop-menu to create straight and perpendicular lines.
  • Use the curves to create clockwise curves on your pattern.

These are the measurements I followed to achieve my pattern:
Note: The front pattern has a longer sleeve length as I was playing with the idea of longer vs. shorter sleeve but you only need to use one side for making the sleeve (you mirror the sleeve and have a single seam along the inner arm).

  • Coat length: 115 cm (I only did not use the bottom piece so my overall length reaches 95cm)
  • Waist: 47 cm
  • Shoulder length: 10cm (+2cm ease for drop seam = 12cm)
  • Neck (1/2): 14.5 cm (use: 1/3 Neck half + 1.5cm ease = 6.5cm)
  • 48 cm chest
  • Half hip 51 cm
  • Sleeve length 62 cm
  • 9 cm wrist grip
  • Note: Use the widest circumference measure of your body as the width of the coat


1. Import Pattern from Seamly2D (DXF) files:

  • Open Rhino and choose your scale (i.e. mm, cm, inches)
  • Lay out pattern pieces
  • Mirror the back pattern pieces so you are left with no seams (in traditional pattern cutting you would cut this mirrored on the fold, but you need the full piece if you want to laser cut)

2. Sketch your Module:

  • Sketch module and add interlocking mechanism (diagonal slits at each male side and half circle at female centre OR diagonal slits at each male side and two female slits from the centre)

  • Once the modules fit into each other (interlock) you can start placing them around the “seams” of your pattern
  • Make sure to command: Trim all of the unnecessary lines and curves once the module is in place
  • Make sure to command: Extend all of the lines and curves to touch so that you can command: Join your pieces
  • Tip: Work only on one side of your pattern piece then command: Mirror from the centre line to make sure all pieces will fit together

Note: This will take time as you will have to clean up your model. To do this I used command: Make2D which re-draws a clean polyline sketch. From here make sure you do not have “Group” option selected. Command: Join all cutting lines and delete old copy of sketch - you do not need this copy anymore.

Note: You can also find where you have open curves to correct by using command: CloseCrv.

Laser Cutting with Trotec:#

1. Make Tests:

  • Try first cutting the module and seeing if your interlock system works on fabric (the fiber and thickness you choose will make the interlock system vary in success)
  • Work on adjustments and choose the best fabric from your tests

2. Cut your pattern:

  • Work in the Top viewport
  • Select all and join curves
  • Group each piece separately so that the outline/ notches (blue) and the engraving (red) will under one grouped piece
  • Nest your pattern pieces so that the maximum amount of space is used
  • Rotate the piece to that the legth runs horizontally
  • Move each board to point zero
  • Select the window area (board) to be printed
  • Cut your fabric to the parameters of your laser cutter (in this case 1000mm x 600mm)
  • Select the material parameters:
  • Cut: Power / Speed
  • Engrave: Power / Speed
  • Make tests:

Note: No tests have proven fully satisfactory for this garment yet. I will keep exploring various fabrics.


Modular Jacket: Rhino File for Laser
Module Tests: Rhino File

Kombucha Bucket Bag [Final Modular Piece]#

Note: See Biofabrication section for kombucha scoby growth documentation.



Bucket Back: Rhino File: Modules + Handles + Base
All files are available for download through OsCircular Fahshion Here