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Obra Gris Zero Waste Cake Top Pattern: Step-by-Step Instructions by Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt

In this article Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt, Creative Director of Obra Gris, shares the pattern and step-by-step instructions behind the brand’s zero waste Cake Top which retails for $129.00. Read on to learn more about Oscar, the brand, and to access the pattern and instructions for free to try yourself at home!

About Obra Gris

Obra Gris creates high-quality fashion designed and made in Costa Rica, and aims to reduce their impact on society and the environment by making many of their made-to-order garments seasonless, zero waste, multi-purpose, and unisex.

The brand’s vision is built upon the evolving and unending relationship between body, garment and place. Zero Waste Design has been at the center of their practice since the beginning. During his master’s studies, Creative Director Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt was introduced to sustainability and zero waste philosophy, which have been embedded in the brand’s practice since the very start.

About Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt

Oscar Ruiz-Schmidt is a multifaceted artist, designer, researcher and professor. He received his Master in Fashion Design from Kunsthochschule Weißensee in Berlin and a BA from the School of Visual Arts at the University of Costa Rica in San José. His formative years in Europe have shaped a vision and aesthetics that are a mixture of Costa Rican landscape and color, intertwined with architectural constructions and a geometrical approach to cutting and draping. His sensibility is transformed into wearable solutions and a collaborative approach to social innovation through design.

We’ll let Oscar take it from here...

The Cake Top

Oscar: Hello everybody - ready to pull up your sleeves and get sewing?

This is the top that we’re sharing! The naming decisions for us at Obra Gris are a very fun part of the process. Sometimes the names we give to garments are based on an ideal setting to wear them, other times it's about geometry, other times they’re named after people. For this top, there was something about the sleeve transforming from short to long that made me think of this song, so we named it after the band Cake!

How to make our Cake Top

When I created this top my own imposed limitation was to make a top with exactly 1 meter.

Normally I drape on the bodice, mostly to get a sense of a body within. I cut the fabric in four rectangles and started pinning around the neck of the bodice and creating a very simple idea of a rectangular top with two tubular sleeves that have straps for length adjustment. We made a first prototype in white cotton and then another version in medium weight linen.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. After cutting using the pattern or marking the cutting lines on your fabric, start off by sewing both shoulder seams, leaving 3cm on each side for finishing.

step 1

Step 2. Iron out carefully. Each shoulder is at least 10cm. Measure accordingly to head proportions.

Step 3. Fold in and sew over.

step 2 step 3

Step 4. Close the sleeves, first sew 14cm from the top down. Then sew 12cm from the bottom down. The excess seam will serve as a tunnel for two straps that will serve to adjust the length of the sleeve.

step 4

Step 5. Close the tunnel on both sleeves.

Step 6. Finish the four straps and insert two at each sleeve.

step 5 step 6

Step 7. Close side seams at each side of top. Leave the sleeve open. Finish inside either with overlock or French seam.

Step 8. Attach sleeves.

Step 9. Finish seam and you’re ready to pull up the straps and style your cake top!

steps 7-8 step 9

Step 10 (Optional). Possible variations: you can play with sewing the sleeve in other positions, with the straps aligned to the shoulder seam, or at any position you like for different sleeve shapes.

step 10

Download the Cake Top Pattern and try it yourself!

You can also view more images of the final garment for inspiration.

Follow Obra Gris on Instagram to keep in touch and ask any questions about the making process, and tag the brand and us (@zwdo_collective) to share your Cake Top creations with the ZWDO community!


As a reminder, we run ZWDO on a very small budget and dedicate our own time and money to keep the platform as educational and engaging as possible for as many people as possible. We would be extremely grateful if you are able to make a donation to contribute to the ongoing development of Zero Waste Design Online. Donate here.

Thank you for reading and for your ongoing support!



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