The ready-made clothing industry produces a jaw dropping amount of waste fabric--one article I read claimed 53% of new fabric ends up in the bin! The twin evils of inefficient production and the ever-changing cycle of fashion that requires constant new clothes make clothing one of the most wasteful products today. The human cost is also enormous, but that's another topic. I just stumbled on the company Zero Waste Daniel, whose mission is to take this waste and turn it into unique, sustainable, fashionable garments, while supporting ethical working conditions for sewists. Read more about them here. http://zerowastedaniel.com/our-mission
Fashion isn't really my thing--and certainly not high fashion--but the Zero Waste Daniel process for recycling cloth seems like a fantastic idea to quickly and easily turn leftovers and reclaimed fabric into yardage that you could use in lots of ways. Basically, they sort out compatible colorways and fabric types/weights, and sew bits together to make flat yard goods, sort of like crazy quilt piecing. I'm sure you could be as elaborate with this as you wanted, but it could also be pretty fast and simple. Once the scraps are united into pieces of flat cloth, you can cut out patterns as usual. It's much easier to cut out pattern pieces from flat yardage than compose them from scraps each piece at a time. If you cut carefully, waste would be minimal, and could go back into the mix for another round. You could always overdye to unify the overall piece of made-up cloth, and to tame even the most hideous colors into something a normal person might wear. One drawback might be the seams joining your fabric, but maybe mitigable by using larger scraps, so less seams, and by positioning them in less stressed areas of your product, or using multiple layers. Or just mending any that come apart.
Anyway, I thought this was a pretty nifty concept--a little different way than we usually think of recycling cloth scraps and the useable fabric left in garments too worn in critical ways to mend. Lots of possibilities! And good on the company for trying to make use of a huge resource that otherwise goes into the landfill.