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5 Fashionable Ways To Reuse Old Sarees This Monsoon

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If you come from an Indian household, you will probably have one entire wardrobe dedicated to Indian ethnic wear. It’s not just the everyday ones, but also those heavily embroidered, gorgeously tapered ensembles that fall in the “family weddings” category.

And if you’re more than just one woman in the house, it’s most likely that you have a wardrobe AND a couple of dusty suitcases purely dedicated to sarees.

Sadly, a lot of these piece get worn twice, maybe 3 times tops, and are then shoved into oblivion — not before they’re worn and torn till the embroidered work drizzles off, or the fibres give way.

Sometimes, unfortunate accidents ruin your beautiful sarees in the first wear itself — mud stains from the monsoons, a red wine patch, an artistically crafted burn hole, which all render this garment useless.

Does that mean it goes into the trash? Nope! For the times you don’t have the heart to trash the stash, you need to recycle and reuse!

Here 5 fashion-forward pieces you can recreate with your old, tattered, torn sarees!

A quick note: this fashionable re-purposing will require a tailor to stitch it all up, but you will get a brand new wardrobe for half the price! Plus, you save up on space without having to get rid of your favourites. Win-win!


1. Turn ’em into a jacket

Use an old saree material to create a fusion jacket, vest, or kimono. If you have a silk or tussar saree on your hands, then go in for something ethnic, like a longline jacket you can pair with palazzos, or even a folk-ish looking vest you can pair with denims.

However, if you have a chiffon or georgette saree (or something of  a lightweight fabric), then convert it into a kimono, poncho, or even a beach cover-up. Such materials work great as a throw-on to pull together an ensemble, rather than an outfit in itself.

2. Turn ’em into a scarf

Take the borders of your old sarees and stitch them together to create gorgeous scarf. The mix ‘n’ match situation creates an ethnic yet funky vibe, which pulls together various styles into one.

If you don’t want to go for a fusion, quirky take, then rip up the pallu of the saree, keeping the border intact, and you have yourself a long-line shawl, which you can even wear as a dupatta on your ethnic wear.

3. Turn ’em into a skirt

Combine 2 sarees to recreate a globally desi maxi skirt! Use the fabric of a heavier starchy saree to create the base or the petticoat, and then layer it with chiffon or net — remember, if you’ve got embellishments on this, it would complement the skirt even more!

If you want a fuller skirt rather than an A-line one, layer it with stiff material that will make the fabric stand upright, rather than fall flat.

Tie in the entire look with a zari border as the belt, or at the waist of the skirt.

This would work as the ghagra skirt to your desi outfit, or you could even pair it with an off-shoulder crop top to give it that off-beat fusion vibe.


4. Turn ’em into desi pants

Similar to the skirt, take a brocade or paisley printed saree and turn it into a pair of trousers. Transparent fabric sarees won’t work as you’ll have to add a heavy lining, so stick to more opaque materials.

You can either use the saree to turn it into a pair of cigarette pants, or go full-out with elephant leg palazzos. Once again, these can swing both ways — as a plain pair of trousers or as the bottom half to your kurta-kurti outfit.


5. Turn ’em to accessories

The coolest of the lot, take the fun prints on sarees and glue them on to your favourite accessories. From earrings to buttons, and even a pair of shoes, this is one thing you can easily DIY.

Make a small jhola with a silk or Kanjivaram saree, using the border as handle and neck of the bag. If you want something even simpler, then twist on some pretty saree material on the handle of any bag and tie it on either ends! You won’t even have to get your hands sticky.

If you liked any of these ideas, don’t forget to let us know in the comments below!


Tiny but fierce, our Fashion & Beauty Writer grooves to her own soundtrack. An animal lover at heart, she plays proxy mommy to pretty much all the strays she meets.

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