Upcycling with Chindis

At MarketPlace, we try to make the most of everything we have. This is extremely evident in our upcycling of the fabric scraps from our products.

The various scraps come in different shapes and sizes, depending on whether we’re cutting pant legs or arm lengths. These scraps are what we call Chindis.

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Looking through the catalog, you can see the wide range of colors in our collection. Some of the fabrics feature light backgrounds and bright prints, while others have dark characteristics. Combining these Chindis, with their different colors and sizes, is a challenge that takes immense creativity and a lot of organization.

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It’s through this creativity that brings an extra level of purpose to the Chindis process. Utilizing scraps does reduce waste, of course, buy the learning opportunities help new artisans practice their skills.

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Some artisans have never sat at a sewing machine, while other may have never used an industrial machine. This process allows the artisans to be comfortable starting and stopping the machine, sewing in a straight line, and just feeling comfortable in their skills.


Overdyeing the Chindis after they have been stitched together has made the production of clothing pieces and accessories less complicated.

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Artisans then thought of a unique idea of tying the Chindis at the connection points and dying the bunch. This prevents the dye from reaching the tie points and exposes the original color of the Chindis. The overdye is dark to highlight the original colors in a dramatic fashion. Adding this step not only generates excitement and style in the piece, but also creates additional employment opportunities for the artisans.


Every Chindis piece is the result of innovative problem solving, hard work, and a commitment to reduce waste. Take a look at the finished products here: http://www.marketplaceindia.com/category/Chindi

Published by MarketPlace: Handwork of India

MarketPlace: Handwork of India is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing economic opportunities for women artisans in India, and empowering them to bring about changes in their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.

4 thoughts on “Upcycling with Chindis

  1. Your story about creating the beautiful Chindis from scraps is inspiring! I love seeing how your techniques of over-dyeing and tie-dyeing, applied to fabrics of many patterns, colors and textures, result in works of art that people can wear. Giving practice opportunities on a sewing machine to new sewers, using straight seams to assemble square pieces, is a great idea. I am excited to see what you are doing because for many years I have used my leftover sewing scraps to create pictures that are like paintings, but made with cloth instead of paint. My grandfather, born in 1890, was a tailor trained in Lithuania before he came to the U.S. He once made a coat for my grandmother out of pieces of very good woolen fabric that were left over from a suit he had tailored. He put the pieces together so ingeniously that from the outside you would never guess that this elegant coat was in fact a patchwork. Your marketplace project also combines many elements — creativity, beauty, usefulness, training and increased income for families. I salute you!

  2. I have been buying clothes from the MARKETPLACE CATALOG for many years. I especially like the jackets in bright colors and have 7 of them! Recently I wore one to my son’s wedding and received many compliments. I always say “I got it from MARKETPLACE” and encourage them to go on line and see the clothes. I also like to hear the stories of the makers. When I was just married, in 1952, I went on a “hitch-hiking honeymoon” to India. We lived and worked at Nai Talimi Sangh, Sevagram, near Wardha, for 4 months, then traveled to Delhi, Kashmir, and (then) Bombay. We had wonderful experiences of Indian hospitality. At the age of 85, I enjoy looking back on these times!

    (Note I use my housemate’s e-mail address)

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