Upcycling – These Indian Moms are Turning Old into Something New

The current pandemic has surely pushed us to think out of the box in many ways. And one such area is creating, re-using and upcycling stuff that we already have in our homes or can easily get access to. What seems to be a concept so easy and simple, is increasingly becoming quite the craze among moms today.

Norms for recycling paper, glass, and plastic have been standardized for years now but waste clothing still ends up in landfill. Clothes take years to decompose. Throwing clothes straight in the dustbin effectively sends them directly to landfills, but a little creative thinking can make them more useful. Next time when you sort through your wardrobe and pull out clothes that you would like to discard – try our ideas for upcycling or just donate!

Listed here are some creative Indian moms and their ideas for upcycling old clothes/scrap fabric into something new, beautiful, and useful.

Aurea Cardoz: A creative mom who loves baking and upcycling.

Creativity works like a stress buster for me. It has taught me to be patient and optimistic. Working on PPTs, paper art, clay art, cloth art, painting, wealth out of waste; basically, whatever you can think of under the creativity umbrella, I like to try my hands at it. One of them is DIY (do it yourself)

I LOVE DIYs so much that I often spend all my time viewing DIY videos. One such video I watched was about upcycling t-shirts and shirts. One fine day my hubby handed over some of his old clothes to me that he wanted to do away with. I thought what’s better than the quarantine time to put the upcycling idea to use.

upcycling dad's tshirts into daughter dress
Upcycling dad’s tshirts
Upcycling is fun

So, I unboxed my shelved portable motor sewing machine and started my work. I know the basics of sewing thanks to YouTube and a relative who helped me with some of my doubts. I just used one of my daughters’ best-fitting frocks for the measurements.

A bit of cutting, tacking, and sewing and I had a couple of dresses ready for her to wear and be clicked. She loves new things like any other child and her excitement fills my heart with so much joy like all the moms here would have experienced when they bring something new for their children. Only, this joy is doubled because it is stitched by me, and the thought that I could make her happy with little things like these, especially where shopping for clothes during these times is the last thing we would want to do.

Judy Dsouza – A tailor by profession – homemaker mom who loves to upcycle.

Making Masks
Shorts and tee for baby

During the lockdown, I couldn’t go out to buy clothes for my growing baby. With fewer clothes and rainy conditions, I was getting anxious daily. I am a tailor by profession. Upcycling and tailoring go hand in hand! So, I decided to upcycle my old nightgowns. I just took the measurements of my daughter’s old clothes and made these beautiful shorts and tee. Used clothes are soft and perfect to be recycled for baby clothing.

Also, I designed a few face masks for my friends and family. Face masks are now a mandatory accessory amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With N75 masks being so scarcely available, cotton masks have been increasingly been turning into fashion statements. Many of my friends have been matching masks with dresses and sarees. Upcycling scrape fabric pieces and old clothes for masks has become a trend!

Khushbu Chintan Pandya – Creative jewelry maker and a mom of a handsome son.

fabric jewelry
Upcycling to make fabric jewelry

I have been handcrafting jewelry for many years now. I am very used to upcycling threads, jewelry beads, and supplies. Recently, I started handcrafting fabric jewelry. The amount of feedback I have been getting on social media is tremendously positive. I generally use scrap fabric from beautiful dress materials and sarees. Fabric jewelry is lightweight, washable, allergy-free, and highly sustainable. There are endless materials around you that can be easily upcycled into jewels like buttons, beads, leather, wires, wood pieces, crystals, feathers, etc. All you need is a little inspiration and a creative mind!

Maryann Kevin Pereira – Indian Mom blogger and Co-founder of Pregnancy to Parenthood

In Goa, especially among the Goan Catholics, as the due date draws nearer, we have a tradition of making white clothing and bedding for the baby. I used to be very fascinated with the trousseau preparations for a newborn. So, at the back of my mind, I always had this idea of learning to sew and doing it myself for my baby when I would be pregnant. But by the time it actually happened, I could only manage to learn a tiny bit of hand stitching and never really used a sewing machine, let alone make full sets of baby clothes. So, I ended up ordering the trousseau from a tailor who specializes in children’s wear.

However, I somehow still felt very strongly that I have to create something of my own and give a personal touch to my baby’s clothing. I conveyed this desire to my ‘Baby ke Papa’ and the next thing I know, we’re on our way to look for a new sewing machine.

upcycling bedsheets to nappies

So, with my very very basic knowledge of sewing and just to fulfill the dream that I had, I successfully made a few cloth nappies while I was in my 7th month of pregnancy, out of a couple of old bed-sheets that my mother-in-law had and was fortunately white in colour.
Of course, they weren’t anywhere close to the ones I ordered, but I was happy to have created something with my own hands that my baby could wear.

Meenakshi Thakur – Homemaker and a mother of 2.

Baby Swaddle Wrap
Upcycling – Beddings for baby

I had all the help from my MIL and mother with my first child(son), but I was 100% prepared with each and every clothing, swaddlers, and beddings before my daughter arrived. I made the beddings from old Kurtis, and old baby print bedsheets. I even got my supersoft cotton dupattas sewn into swaddle blankets and wraps. For generations, mothers have upcycled and reused clothes for newborns. This is not rocket science!

Moms, what do you think about these ideas? Please do share your upcycling experiences.

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