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How to Make Saris Into Quilts

Turn old saris into a beautiful quilt.
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Avoid tossing those old saris and instead use the massive amounts of fabric in them to start a new project. Saris are made from 4 1/2 to 9 yards of fabric which is a lot to just throw away. The art of recycling saris into quilts and other household items, called Nakshi Khanta or just Khanta, originated in Bangladesh. The pieces are made into artistic wall quilts, smaller lap quilts, full size bed quilts and more. There is no limit to the types and sizes of quilts you can make with a used, or new sari.

Wash the sari and backing fabric per manufacturer instructions. Allow it to dry completely. Most saris must be air dried, line dried or dried flat. The backing fabric may be tossed in the dryer per manufacturer's instructions.

Plot the layout and size of your finished quilt. Take into account any stains, tear or excessive wear that is visible in the sari fabric. Making a smaller quilt provides the opportunity to cut away any unsightly areas and use them for filler instead of on the visual portions of the quilt.

Cut away any parts of the sari that you do not want showing on your finished quilt.

Measure the size of the sari fabric you are using after making all cuts if you are using one large piece. Sew all of the patchwork pieces together in the order you have laid out. Measure the size of the finished patchwork piece. For a patchwork style quilt, you can also base your measurements off the finished quilt size that you will need. For example, if you are covering a queen sized bed and using multiple saris for the patchwork design; your finished size will need to be 86 inches-by-86 inches.

Cut a piece of backing fabric to the same size as the cut sari fabric or finished quilt.

Layer the backing fabric, with the right side facing down on the work surface, then the quilt batting or filler, followed by the sari. Place the sari, or patchwork, fabric right side up. The right side is the side of the sari you want showing on the finished quilt.

Pin the three pieces together in multiple places across the project to hold it all together and prevent shifting while you are sewing.

Thread the sewing machine with the coordinating thread and attach the darning foot, sometimes called a free motion quilting foot of embroidery foot.

Place the quilt under the needle and lower the presser foot. Begin sewing in any pattern you choose to permanently sew the layers together. Remove the pins as you encounter them, before they are pulled under the needle. If the needle comes in contact with a pin it could cause personal injury or damage the project.

Stitch the quilt binding or bias tape around all four edges of the quilt to cover all the raw edges. Miter the corners as you come to them and tuck under the end of the tape when reaching the end. Back stitch at the beginning and the end of the stitch for stability.

Things You'll Need:

  • Coordinating backing fabric
  • Quilt batting or filler material
  • Quilting pins
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Darning or embroidery foot
  • Quilt binding or bias tape


A sewing machine will shorten the amount of sewing time needed to complete the project. However, if you prefer, hand sewing is also a valid way of completing the quilting process. For a decorative wall quilt, consider having only the pallu, or highly decorated scarf section, of the sari showing on the finished product. When making a queen-sized patchwork quilt, the border on the sari can be cut and used as one long piece for a border along the edge of the quilt. When sewing a patchwork quilt, allow for the additional seam allowance on each side of each piece of cut fabric. Otherwise your finished dimensions will be smaller than your original measurements. Typical seam allowance for most patchwork quilts is 1/4 inch on each side of the small pieces.

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