Humanity is facing an existential crisis—how do we right the imbalance in the ecosystem caused long ago when our brains got too big and our thumbs got funky and opposable?
We’re on that journey with everyone else. When we started Spartan Made, we were living off-grid in a 1947 travel trailer. The experience left us with renewed appreciation for the non-human world but also a profound awareness of the resources we use and the waste we create.
Green is a commitment to hard work, and we’re conscious here of sounding too much like we’re virtue signaling instead of publicly recommitting ourselves to our values.
We manufacture stuff at Spartan Made, and that means waste. The best way we can think to reduce waste that is to not produce it in the first place. That means a lot of things. Like saving all the thread ends we snip off products in boxes. Maybe we’ll use them for pillow-stuffing.
We have sorted boxes of other scraps—canvas, leather, tech fabrics like X-PAC. We use them when and where we can. Eventually we’ll figure out how to get them to the right people.
We spend a lot of energy on zero-waste pattern-making.
Our heavy white canvas totes are a good example. They use the full width of the canvas, leaving nothing behind on the table and reducing the amount of binding we need to use by taking advantage of the fabric’s own selvedges.
It means that many of our patterns are just rectangles!
We recently wanted to make a cross-body bag with a cool 3D design. We tried out a few patterns and they all left something to be desired—that something being scrap fabric left on the cutting table.
So we started with our basic tote pattern, shrank it, and went all origami on its corners. Six prototypes later and we came up with a cool 3D shape that starts as a rectangle of fabric. It’s a small victory, but we’re stoked.
Just today I took apart one of those prototypes and it’s now a pocket on one of our new zero-waste aprons. Here’s the final prototype (which I’m using daily now), and the apron:
And for the record, zero-waste is a statement of intention and aspiration. Sewing textiles always produces some waste (like those pesky thread ends). But if we reduce the waste, repurpose it, and choose our materials wisely to begin with, we hope to pass a whole lot less of it down to our descendants.