Upcycling Indian Clothes

19 Jun

Upcycling clothes is recycling fabrics, materials and clothes to create a new piece of garment. This way you are being environmentally friendly and also giving money to a good cause (depending on where you buy these items from).

I have seen many people upcycling vintage clothes and clothes from charity shops, but never Indian clothing not until recently. I stumbled upon OshunCreations who upcycle Indian clothes. I found Helen’s designs, the owner of OshunCreations, very inspiring and inventive. Some people may not consider old Indian clothing because they may think it has got too much bead work or the clothes may now be out of fashion, so they won’t wear the clothes again. Helen uses these clothes to create something unique that people will want to wear time and time again. A garment which they will feel special in and won’t be able to find anywhere else.

I couldn’t resist interviewing Helen and the following is my dialogue:-

Q:Why do you like working with Indian clothes?
A: I love working with the luxurious fabrics that Indian clothing tends to be – pure silk and chiffon, and intricately worked details – it’s a real treat! Once I have the original garment on the mannequin, the ideas tend to come and I just get cutting and sewing!

Q:What do you first do with the Indian Clothes?
A:Well, the first thing I do is hand wash everything as the clothes are previously worn, and then look at the condition; which areas need cutting out or covering up, and choosing which embellishments I want to keep. The Indian style to often have large sequined or embroidered patterns all over the front of the kameez, which doesn’t really suit western fashions. So I cut it about a bit and spread the details around the garment – moving them to the hems of the skirt, for example. The beading is often so exquisitely beautiful, I don’t want to lose it!

Q:Where do you get your inspiration from?
A:I like full skirts in a ballerina style, or sometimes take influence from historical clothing with big bustles.

Q:What other materials do you use to make up the dresses?
A:I usually add a whole load of other fabrics; whatever I have left over from other cut up Indian clothing, net and vintage lace and material that I’ve collected. I often add smaller tatters of fabric to the bodice of the dress using freehand embroidery, and then big swathes of fabric to the skirt. I think the mix makes the dresses more interesting.

Q:How do you use the bottoms of the suit?
A:I do a much more simple style, cutting the salwar to make flowing skirts and making a matching top for a complete fairy costume.

Thank you Helen for sharing your ideas with all of us. It was great to hear about the work you do and I wish you a successful future.

See Helen’s work in process






Visit Helen’s Etsy shop:- www.etsy.com/shop/OshunCreations

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