Bharatnatyam Dancer by Brendan Lally

Bharatnatyam Dancer in a Sari-photo by Brendan Lally

IMAGE SOURCE: Brendan Lally on Flickr

Saris are lengths of cloth from 4 to nine meters long…what better source for fabric for small or large projects! Even better, the pallus and the borders add so much interest to any project that they are added to…

I had posted earlier about Aavarana’s Stitch Kraft workshop where you could recycle your old saris  into functional and decorative items. I started writing down ideas of what I thought saris could be made into…My list started on a paper napkin and progressed into a MS-Word document as I kept finding more and more things to make from saris.

Dancer in a Sari

Dancer in a Sari

IMAGE SOURCE: Wikipedia

So, here is the jumbo list of what you could make.

Home Décor + Home utilities

  1. Cushion covers or bolster covers using the sari borders as a frame or as piping
  2. Pillow cases-you could block print/stencil designs onto a plain sari and sew up some pillowcases
  3. Curtains- thin saris can be used as summer window/door curtains…for winter, use polycotton or luscious silk saris
  4. Table cloths- use the sari borders as for bordering the table cloth, extra lengths of the sari could be used for lining
  5. Table runners you can make long table runners from saris and use the tassels as edging for it!
  6. Placemats/table mats quilt up your old thick cotton/silk saris for dressing up your table for daily use or for a special occasion like Diwali/Christmas
  7. Throws- make throws to warm up your favorite reading chair or diwan-colorful and functional
  8. Wooden Screen/partition covers- screen off your bedroom with saris mounted in wooden frames-privacy with beauty!
  9. Potholders- I always need potholders in my kitchen…but remember to make these only from cottons for safety!
  10. Water filters -Studies have shown that using saris(folded many times) to filter water helps prevent cholera!
  11. Bed canopy -use your light Bengal Cotton Saris or Chikan Work sarees as an old-fashioned bed-canopy -such an easy vintage feminine decor look!
  12. Wall hanging-same principal as framed wall art…handing up a dressy, embellished sari piece can spice up a dull or plain room
  13. Box covers-use the sari to cover big cardboard or wooden boxes..funky storage solutions
  14. Christmas stockings-my nephew has a stocking made from blue silk that looks suspiciously like sari material…spruce up your red and green silk saris and make stockings with embroidered monograms and gift one to each person in the family
  15. Laundry or shoe bags-simple bags can be used to store your laundry or shoes when you travel..using your sari makes it easy to spot!
  16. Floor mats- plait your old cotton saris into soft floormats for your bedroom..Use this tutorial by Vintage Chica.
  17. Coasters-quilt up silk coasters for occasions or cotton ones to use below your iced tea glasses!
  18. Quilts-blend multiple silk/poly cotton or cotton saris into one colorful quilt to hang up or to use on your bed
  19. Bedsheets-cut up and hem soft saris to use as bedsheets for babies/kids beds
  20. Fabric wall art-put a length of geometrically patterned sari fabric in a picture frame-it’s instant wall art!
  21. Silk thread to wrap bangles-pull out silk thread from your saris and use to wrap cheap plastic/wooden bangles..stick on some kundan stones for a richer look.
  22. Drawer liners with scented lavender-stuff dried lavender herbs into a big drawer size pocket made from your old cotton saris. Sew up the opening and place in each drawer…keeps your office/kitchen drawers smelling sweet!
  23. Banners-We used old saris as banners for sports day when we were in college! Just paint on the letters and tie it around some sticks-banner ready!
  24. Chair seat covers-Kancheepuram silk sari to dining room chair seat cover…so stylish!
  25. Letter holders- some basic sewing and your silk sari can become a decorative letter holder with pockets that you can hang up in your office
  26. Dust cloths or cloth wipes-the ultimate home use for saris that cannot be salvaged!
  27. Homemade Light box for photography-white cotton saris are very useful for this…just find a big cardboard box and you’re ready to go!
  28. Sieve to hang curd etc-this is an oldie..but goodie…use it to strain curd to make traditional Indian sweets

Accessories

  1. Scarf-one sari can give you so many scarves-you can make matching one for all your friends! Use silk or synthetic sarees…the more embellished ones give a more dressy look…use the simple geometric or floral prints to team with western formals
  2. Handkerchiefs-make soft cotton hankies for your kids.
  3. Bandannas-stylish yet comfortable bandannas made from saris give you an ethnic yet edgy look.
  4. Bags-this one’s my favorite…there’s no end to the bags you can make from a sari-try the loose jolna pai/drawstring bags/ totes/evening bags or clutches
  5. Coin purses-I saw many tiny zippered/button coin purses in Bangkok made from silk -why can’t we make the same from our Kancheepuram saris?
  6. Soft baby shoes-make lovely booties for your little one from any fabric shoe pattern
  7. Spectacles cases/ pouches-make a stylish spectacle purse or pouch from your mom’s favorite old silk sari for your mom!
  8. Mobile phone cozies-make a mobile phone cover/case/pouch to go with your special Indian outfits
  9. Ipad or Laptop sleeve- make a silk laptop cozy for your best friend’s new laptop or Ipad…team it up with some decorative buttons and use the sari border as ties or closures.
  10. Headbands-cover cheap plastic hairbands with your old saris- instant funky kitschy look!
  11. Pins/brooches-make silk flower brooches or sari pins from matching saris
  12. Stuffed toys/softies- I spotted elephant stuffed toys in Bangkok made from silk, again!! Such a good idea to make grand toys for your showcase or a special little one!
  13. Fabric gift wrap-follow tutorials of Japanese fabric wraps- use to give gifts or as a cover for your lunch boxes!
  14. Journal/book covers-cover your diaries with removable fabric covers-you can change them with each season!
  15. Aprons-convert those thick cotton sarees into functional aprons! Great for gift giving!

Clothes

  1. Salwar + kameeze-make a whole salwar set from a saree! My friend does this all the time. She makes salwar bottom and dupatta sets from her mom’s synthetic saris
  2. Skirt-wraparound, a-line or ruffled skirts…there’s a skirt for every season and reason hidden in each sari!
  3. Kurti-make short kurtis to team up with jeans from your saris
  4. Shirts/camisoles-make structured western shirts or camisoles with pin-tuck detailing from your silk saris
  5. Blouse-make a sari blouse out of your silk or poly cotton saris-remember to get lining for the blouse done by your tailor!
  6. Dupattas-recycle your favorite sari into a dupatta that you can use anytime
  7. Dresses-silk strappy dresses, wrap around dresses, strapless or full dresses use the potential of the sari to the fullest…
  8. Trim Zari as trim for sleeve edges, kurti hems, salwar bottoms and skirt ruffles-
  9. Diapers-use the softest cotton saris as reusable cloth diapers for your little one
  10. In- skirts for saris-silk in-skirts for use with silk saris-grandeur at its peak
  11. Baby clothes-use soft cotton saris to make smocks for babies and infants-perk them up with embroidery of animals and birds.
  12. Pants-silk pants would look great with a basic black sleeveless top…try different styles and colors to find your favorite
  13. Jackets-you could make something like Amitabh Bachan’s patchwork jacket from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom or formal silk jacket for office parties
  14. Appliqué patches-use the pallu designs as appliques on sari blouses or jackets
  15. Dyed saris- did you know you can dye silk saris? Dye your white silk sari into a darker color…good to recycle white bridal saris!!

Check out these links for more ideas on recycling saris:

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/14626?tid=14

http://www.indianwomenclothing.com/articles/howtouse-oldsaree-recycledclothing.html

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/boston/throw-blankets-made-from-vintage-saris-by-jeanette-farrier-099705

http://sewingneedlework.suite101.com/article.cfm/a_sari_or_saree_as_a_fabric_source

Have you recycled your saris at home? What have you made??

Do share your ideas in the comments!

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