Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a selection of frequently asked questions that we have compiled! If you cant find the answer you are looking for please get in touch via and we will do our best to help you! 


We use zero waste pattern cutting to make all of our garments and sewing patterns. Here is a little more info on how this works.
What is a zero waste sewing pattern?
A zero waste sewing pattern is a sewing pattern laid out in a manner which allows you to use every piece of your fabric leaving no waste. With traditional pattern cutting methods textile waste fluctuates somewhere between 10-20%. Zero waste pattern cutting eliminates this meaning all your fabric ends up in your garment rather then in your scrap box, or worse yet the bin. If you are a home sewer using our patterns and have not tried zero waste pattern cutting before it may seem a little daunting at first, but we promise it gets easier and is such a great way to work! Once you are comfortable with the cutting process you will find it is very fast and efficient way to cut, as cutting one line will separate 2 pieces at once, and over time you will begin to feel more comfortable with making your own changes and adjustments to the patterns, which opens up your creativity in a whole new way! 
Does zero waste pattern cutting use less fabric than conventional patterns?
Zero waste patterns are comparable in fabric usage to conventional sewing patterns, and in many cases zero waste patterns use a lot less fabric per garment due the layout being extremely efficient. When comparing fabric usages you should always compare to a similar type of garment, wether it has gathers and multiple tiers, is oversized, is a long dress, has long sleeves etc. It is important to remember that a very important aspect of zero waste pattern is to avoid textile waste altogether, and so using LESS fabric is not the only goal. It might not seem like a lot of waste when you are cutting one garment at home, but when you add up all the garments being made in the world, including large scale production in factories, this textile waste adds up to be a very large amount. Textile waste of un-used and discarded garments should also be taken into account. We always encourage you to choose garments that you are going to love and wear for a long time.



We are committed to making conscious and ethical choices and adhere to strict guidelines in how we manufacture and source our fabrics. Find out more here.

Zero Waste
We use zero waste pattern cutting for all of our garments and make small runs in order to avoid excess stock. Sometimes we have small fabric ends left over from rolls and also selvage edges which occasionally need to be cut away. All of these pieces are saved to either use for patch-worked garments, or cut into strips and made into yarn balls to be used in rag rugs.
In-house production
All of our garments are made in-house in our studio/store in Malmö with a small team. We do all of our cutting in-house and sew our garments on industrial sewing machines. We oversee the entire production process allowing us to ensure that our garments are made to the highest quality. In-house production also means that we are able to produce small runs at a time in order to avoid excess stock.
Recycled materials
Sweden has a long history of textile craft and still has an abundance of vintage textiles that can be found in charity shops and though auction houses. Many of these fabrics may not be used in other ways and so we source as much as we can in order to give these beautiful textiles a new life. We source both vintage and second-hand fabrics, predominantly within Sweden, from a variety of places including charity shops, auction houses and through friends and family. We choose textiles that are in a good condition, and in cases where there are small flaws or stains we save the fabrics by mending with hand stitching or patching. All vintage and second hand fabrics are freshly laundered before being turned into garments.
New Fabrics
When sourcing new fabrics (virgin fibres) we always choose natural fibres. We tend to use similar suppliers each time as we know the quality and the fabric widths and weights work well for our designs. We use 2 main fabric types, organic cotton GOTS certified from Cotonea, and linens sourced within Europe predominantly sourced from 2 suppliers, Siulas in Lithuania and Merchant and Mills in the UK.
We don’t use any metal components in our garments and instead use natural corozo nut buttons to do all of our fastenings. All of our buttons come from Corozo Buttons in Panama.
Long-lasting and wearable
We don’t work to specific seasons but instead put out small collections 3-4 times times per year making garments that we deem to be timeless and extremely wearable and made using long lasting high quality materials with a high attention to details and finishes.
Made to order and adjustments
We can offer made to order on some of our designs, depending on fabric availability. Making a garment to order also means that you can customise the fit by making small changes to the design such as altering lengths and body widths. If you are interested in made to order you can get in touch via for more info. Make sure you include the style and the fabric type/colour you are interested in and we can advise from there. Made to order typically takes 3-4 weeks to make plus shipping time.



Any info we can think of which might help you with the use of our zero waste sewing patterns, such as sewing, sizing and other general questions.

Sewing difficulty levels

Beginner: You have completed a few simple sewing projects and are starting to feel pretty confident. You can thread your machine, change the needle and wind the bobbin easily. The straight and curved lines you're sewing are looking clean and neat and you can easily print and compile a PDF pattern. You know to start and end your seams with a back stitch and you understand seam allowances plus how to appropriately finish them off. You are proficient with cutting, pressings and pinning.

Confident Beginner: You have sewn yourself many garments and are able to sew a collar, pleats and use interfacing. You also feel confident with fastenings such as zips and button holes. Your straight and curved sewn lines look professional as does your seam finishes, hems and top stitching on a variety of different fabrics

Intermediate: You are adept at sewing now and not much intimidates you. You feel confident making simple pattern adjustments to personalise your garment or to make the perfect fit. All your finishes and stitch lines look professional. You are looking forward to lining your first jacket if you haven't already. Occasionally you draft your own patterns from garments you own.

What size range do you cater for?

We offer extended sizing in most of our patterns. Patterns such as the ZW Gather Dress are an oversized one size fits all style with two different size ranges on offer. Other patterns such as the ZW Block Pant have a size range from XS-6XL which accommodates a hip size of up to 150cm / 59". There can be some limitations with the way patterns are designed when working with zero waste pattern cutting so the sizing rules can be a little different for each pattern. For more detailed information on sizing check the individual patterns product pages.

Are your measurements metric or imperial?
Our patterns come with both metric and imperial measurements.
Helpful Resources
If you are stuck on any particular sewing steps we have a large range of online tutorials for many of our patterns with you can find HERE.
Pattern updates

In the case of pattern updates if you have previously purchased you should receive the update automatically to your email. You can check what updates have been done for each pattern HERE. If you have previously purchased a pattern and did not receive the link to your email get in touch via and we will send you a new link.

What should I do if I find an error in one of your patterns?

We do everything we can to eliminate any errors before our patterns are released to the public, but alas we are only human. If you find a mistake we would love you to contact us via and we will correct the error as soon as possible. 

Can I sell the garments I’ve made using your patterns?
Our patterns are not licensed for commercial use in any way which means that you cannot make direct copies of the designs using the patterns and sell them for profit, in a small or large business. You can however make garments for yourself or as gifts for friends.
Can I give a copy of your pattern to a friend?
Our patterns are licensed for individual use only which means each person using the pattern will need to purchase their own copy.



Zero Waste Patterns by Birgitta Helmersson is published by Quadrille/Hardie Grant and is available worldwide through most major bookstores. Here is a little more info on buying and using the book.

What patterns come with the book.
Zero Waste Patterns includes a selection of patterns, not available to buy individually. It comes with 5 main patterns, a tee, skirt, singlet, trouser and shirt as well as a further 15 projects showing you how to use these patterns to make new designs with simple adjustments and design modifications. You can find out more about the patterns in the book HERE.
Can I buy one of the patterns included in your book separately?
No none of the patterns are sold separately, these patterns can only be found in the book.
How do I use the patterns in the BOOK?
This book works in a similar way to our individual PDF patterns in that they are drawn directly onto the fabric with the help of instructions and measurements and are cut with the aide of small templates. All the templates required to make everything in the book can be found on the inside front and back covers which you can trace and cut out in your chosen size using plan paper or tracing paper.
What sizes are the patterns in the BOOK?
The patterns in the book include instructions and templates for making sizes UK 6-30/US 2-26 which accommodates a hip size of up to 150cm / 59".
What languages is the book available in?

Zero Waste Patterns’ is currently available in English and Swedish (due to be released in the Spring of 2024 through TUKAN FÖRLAG).



Can I sell the garments I’ve made using your patterns?

You can use these patterns to make garments for yourself or as gifts for friends. Our patterns are not licensed for commercial use in any way which means that you cannot make direct copies of the designs using the patterns and then sell the garments.

Can I give a copy of your pattern to a friend?

Our patterns are licensed for individual use only which means each person using the pattern will need to purchase their own copy.

Can I wholesale your PDF patterns?

Absolutely. Please contact us via for more information on how to become a re-seller.

Can I wholesale your BOOK ‘Zero Waste Patterns’ ?

To wholesale the book you will need to get in touch with the publisher, Quadrille/Hardie Grant. Please contact us first via and we will send you the contact info to set this up.

Can I teach sewing classes using your patterns?

Yes, however as our patterns are licensed for individual use only you will need to purchase a pattern for each student. We generally offer these at a discount rate and ask that you contact us vie so we can help you further.



What is a digital/PDF pattern?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Nowadays when you receive bills or other documents electronically you almost always receive them as a PDF. Digital sewing patterns are no different and are simply an electronic copy of a sewing pattern emailed to you which you can either print out onto A4 or US letter paper.
What is a paperless pattern?

We often described our patterns as “paperless patterns”. When we use this term we are referring to the fact that our sewing patterns do not have large pattern pieces that must be printed, cut, placed onto your fabric and then traced. Rather you draw directly onto your fabric using your tape-measure and ruler with the occasional aid of a template. We find this method to be a much more streamlined, flexible and easier way to work, particularly when using different fabric widths and allowing for different garment sizes.

Which documents do I need to print?
Before printing anything make sure that you open the Instruction Booklet as a PDF and read which elements need to be printed for the pattern you are using. This information can be found on the first few pages. You should only need to print the templates pages or the ‘Cutting Plan’ document. The sewing instructions can be viewed as a PDF document. When printing the ‘Cutting Plan’ document make sure that you only print the size that you will be using. The ‘Cutting Plan’ document includes the pattern layout, measurements, cutting instructions and any templates you need to assist with the cutting. Once you have printed this document you should tape together the templates pages, if required, and then cut out the templates.
How do I receive my pattern?
Once you have purchased your pattern a link is sent to your chosen email. Simply click the link and download the pattern files to save on your desktop. Easy as that.
I cant find my download link
Have you checked your junk folder? Alternatively if you paid using PayPal your purchase could have be sent to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If it is in neither of these two places please contact us via with your order number and the email address your pattern was supposed to be sent to and we will happily sort this out for you.
Will my download link expire and how many times can I download my pattern?
You can download your pattern up to 20 times before your link expires however you should only have to download it once and save it onto your desktop for future use. Your link is valid indefinitely or until you reach the download limit of 20 downloads. If you are having issues with your download please get in touch via and we will help you sort it out!
Do you sell traditional paper patterns?
The majority of our patterns are only sold as PDF, but we do sometimes print limited edition hack books and zines. These are always printed locally on sustainably sourced paper and are manually put together and finished in our studio. Apart from this exception we do not sell traditional paper patterns. This is because our patterns are designed for you to draw directly onto your fabric using templates and measurements provided in an instruction booklet. We find this to be a more economical and intuitive way of working and hope you will too.
Where can I print my pattern?
Please keep in mind that you only need to print certain elements of your download. Some patterns come with several size options so you should only print out the size that you want to use. We recommend taking a read through the instruction booklet before doing any printing so you know exactly what you should print and how the pattern works. You can print any required pages at home on a domestic printer using either A4 or US letter paper. If you do not own a domestic printer we recommend going to your local library or postoffice and using the printing services provided there.



For more on our shipping and return policies you can head to the dedicated pages for each which you will find below.