Conventionally there are three basic necessities defined in life, Food, Clothing and Shelter. These also form the focal point of charitable work and ecofriendly initiatives. However not much environmental consideration is given to clothing even though this creates a lot of waste which has to be thrown away, as there is not much which can be done with textile scrap.
The creative minds at SAVE, SCRAP & SEW convert fabric scraps into articles of utility which are gifted to charity. The Team work is voluntary and also the personal equipment and threads are used to accomplish the vision.
In June 2015, it all started with an idea when Dr. Shambavi was standing at her usual tailor’s shop attending a phone call while waiting to collect her stitched clothes. She noticed the tailor stepping out of the shop with two garbage bags full of fabric. On further enquiry she found out he was throwing them into the nearest garbage dump.
It dawned on her that most dress makers and tailors throw fabric scrap into garbage, the scrap fabrics once they finish tailoring a dress. It is not out of choice but more because they can't do much with the variety in colours, shades, the size and trimmings of the left-over fabric scraps. It is also to be noted they have no place to store it, no time to rework it and no ownership.
Dr. Shambavi sews for a hobby. She finds sewing, a big stress buster, in her busy schedule. She also likes to stitch personal gifts for her near and dear ones. The hobby, the scrap, the environment, the pain in the community, all combined and started as a small effort to save these scraps, stitch something useful out of it and hand it out to anyone who will distribute the items to someone who can use it.
The SSS initiative started with a group of ladies with 5 kilograms of fabric scraps of various textures and sizes, from one tailor. Ironing, sorting, cutting were the prelude to the actual stitching. SSS started with sheets and slowly gradually moved onto bags and pillows.
Dr. Shambavi later received an invite by a group of ladies in Bur Dubai, to demonstrate the Save Scrap & Sew (SSS) initiative. It was an exciting forum which led to many new buddies joining the cause, from various groups, schools, universities, and other countries.
The teamwork provides satisfaction of achieving something tangible and instant gratification. The exercise of sorting, cutting, ironing and sewing something of utility from scrap, has no gender or age barrier. All it needs is Intent and two hours , once a week in time and efforts. The best part of the whole project is that it involves teamwork and cannot be accomplished by any one individual. Hence a team building exercise can start and end with SSS in two hours. It can also lead to deeper friendship and help familial bonds as has been demonstrated by the corporate and family events held under the auspices of SSS.
Sewing is my hobby, and often I would spend time, sewing quilts, cushions and other daily use articles for my near and dear ones. I get a lot of satisfaction in gifting something which I have made with my own hands, and most importantly it is made with love.
With Save Scrap and Sew, I could spread this feeling to other people and now the whole team shares the satisfaction of giving, while also contributing to the environment by reducing carbon footprints, reducing land and air pollution as the only other alternative would be to incinerate this fabric which is mixed with non recyclable items in the landfill causing pollution in the process.
Dr Shambavi Rajagopal MSc, MBA, PhD
Collaborating with Red Crescent