Indian artistes who can transform your heirloom saris into quilts, jackets and dresses

Upcycle your grandmother’s wardrobe. Artists across the country are revamping precious family weaves into quilts, bomber jackets and dresses

February 03, 2023 02:55 pm | Updated 06:07 pm IST

A creation by Kopai Paar

A creation by Kopai Paar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Rewrap Company

What started out as a thrift store for saris in 2021, has grown to include upcycling weaves into home accessories and table linen such as table cloths, placemats, table runners, coasters, cushion covers, and more. “We have also designed wine bags, Christmas ornaments and buntings,” says co-founder Deepa Balaji of the initiative run by a women-led team. Their most recent project, she says involved crafting Christmas ornaments out of Indian fabrics such as brocade and Banaras silk, and was well-received. “We try to keep an ethnic touch alive in all our products, and we are currently making fabric belts to go with saris, dresses or even denims,” she adds. 

Upcycled coasters by The Rewrap Company

Upcycled coasters by The Rewrap Company | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

DIY repair tip: Co-founder Mansi Karra says you should invest in getting small holes mended through the rafu method by your local tailor. “You can refresh an old sari by adding new lace to hide small stains and holes. To slow down damage caused by time you can take a few precautions like folding your saris neatly and placing them in a sari bag made with pure fabric,” she says, adding that for silks and weaves with zari, you must open and refold them annually to change the folds if they are being unused for long periods of time.

Between ₹100 and ₹5,000.

R2 quilts

Bengaluru-based Bishakha Raviraj, who has been upcycling saris for close to a decade, took to the art form thanks to her then six-month-old daughter. “She was my inspiration, as I wanted to make something myself for her given the expensive baby quilts in the market,” says the artiste who runs Rags to Quilts from her home. Portrait and patchwork quilts aside, Bishakha has created wall art (using the Kawandi quilt making technique), bedspreads and diwan covers from heirloom saris given by clients, and has currently wrapped up an art quilt themed on depression and mental health. 

An upcycled quilt by R2 Quilts

An upcycled quilt by R2 Quilts | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

DIY repair tip: Bishakha suggests strengthening zari borders with a fall as they start giving way soon. “Add another layer of cotton fabric across the whole border from the reverse of the sari to make it strong. You just need basic sewing skills and a humble needle and thread,” she says

Upwards of ₹1,800. @r2quilts on Instagram

Kopai Paar 

Recently, a client entrusted Neha Rungta — of Kolkata-based craft store, Kopái Paar — with her wedding saris, a gorgeous handwoven blue silk weave. “The fabric will be rare to find today,” says Neha, who transformed it into a large bedspread that the client gifted to her daughter as a keepsake on the latter’s wedding day. “Being a part of something like this is so rewarding for us. The joy of these projects comes from the memories and emotions attached to heirloom saris. There are so many stories around them, and somewhere we help our customers in keeping those memories alive,” says Neha, who launched the upcycled sari initiative four years ago. 

A creation by Kopai Paar

A creation by Kopai Paar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Now, saris are turned into vibrant kantha blankets, cushions, bedspreads and bed runners. “We wanted to encourage our customers to be a part of the upcycle movement, rather than just buy something off the shelf. Somewhere along the way, when fast consumerism gripped us, we forgot these age-old traditions, but now is the time to bring it back,” she says.  

DIY repair tip: If you have basic stitching experience, Neha says creating a patchwork throw using old fabric is a good idea. “This can be done without a sewing machine and it is fun to match different patches of fabric and stitch it all up into a small throw.” 

Bedspreads upwards of ₹1,750 and cushions starting at ₹850 are available on 

A creation by Mae Studio

A creation by Mae Studio | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mae Studio

Jayeta Rohilla of New Delhi-based clothing label Mae says she has a soft spot for Benaras saris. As someone who has also been restoring and upcycling weaves for about five years, she says, “it was difficult to cut some of them; they are so beautiful. Now, we cannot wear them more than once in a decade and this concept of keeping our saris wrapped in closets doesn’t sound so wonderful for them. By upcycling them, the saris get to come out of the closet more!” Jayeta, who designs puffer jackets, bombers, hoodies, crop jackets, dresses, co-ord sets and crop tops with saris, also undertakes custom orders. “Recently, a friend had her mother-in-law’s saris made into a dress for herself and a bomber jacket for her husband. It’s beautiful how you can wear the same fabric in a silhouette that you associate with more,” says the designer who is now experimenting with lingerie. “We are working on a collection called Subhaga Raat wear 2.0, in black.” 

DIY repair tip: If the silver has lost its charm, Jayeta suggests rubbing some lemon over it. “It works wonders. And always take stains out right when you get them on the saris.” 

Upwards of ₹9,000 on

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