Flat to Form

The transformation from "Flat" to "Form" is integral to understanding the Make/Use system

The Make/Use system is unlike any traditional garment construction process, and as such, requires a different cognitive understanding of the relationship between flat fabric/pattern and garment form. This seemingly complex shift in thinking is in fact very simple. One of two key concepts that the whole system hinges on is the creation of volume through the joining of two edges of a piece of fabric to form a tube - a space for the body to pass through. All of the Make/Use patterns can be understood as tubes - either one tube in the case of the Wrap skirt and the Tube dress, or two conjoined tubes, in the case of the tshirts, coat, wrap dress and trouser. The configuration of the tubes with each other generates all the possible garment variations.

It can be really useful to explore these concepts through playing with paper scale models of the patterns. This unintimidating method, which has similarities with the Japanese art of origami, is not only a fun and easy way of providing a first engagement with the system, but also reflects one of the techniques that designer Holly McQuillan uses to quickly test and iterate zero waste design ideas.




The Cropped Tshirt and Long Tshirt are made from two tubes: a vertical one for the torso, and a horizontal one for the sleeves and shoulders, with a neck hole that allows the garment to pass over the head. 

Cropped Tshirt A4
Long Tshirt A4

Long Coat


Long Coat is made from two tubes: a vertical one for the torso, and a horizontal one for the sleeves and shoulders, with an opening at the front that transforms into a collar neckline.

Long Coat A4

Wrap Dress


The Wrap dress comprises two tubes similar to the tshirts and coat, horizontal for arms and vertical for skirt with the skirt tube left open at the back so it can overlap for a customised fit

Wrap Dress A4

Tube Dress


The Tube dress is a single tube that the body travels through with arm and neck holes - their placement determines the behaviour of the fabric on the body.

Tube Dress A4

Wrap Skirt


The Wrap skirt is a vertical tube placed around the hips with edges that overlap to customise fit. Darting it used to shape the waist area. This is a very simple garment.

Wrap Skirt A4

Spiral Trouser


The Spiral trouser comprises two triangles that form two tapered tubes that join at the crotch seam. The seam spirals around each leg from the back of the garment.

Spiral Trouser A4

Terms used on this page