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  • Kirn Pitamber

I did a "Use What You Have Challenge"

They say, "creativity comes from constraint." This is definitely true for me. You are looking at scraps & fabric that were laying around my garage. This is not just a gharara, this was a challenge I gave to myself. I loooove Desi clothes, like really love them. I would wear this to the grocery store if I could. Most of all, I love designing them. Learning to sew gave me such a freedom to dream. I remember visiting family in Pakistan & I wanted a square neck for my kameez(blouse). The tailor adamantly refused that it was possible with my chosen fabric. After I explained in detail how to do it, my square neck was created.

Anyone who loves dressing up gets excited for weddings. I was so happy for my cousin, and equally as happy to get all dolled up. If you've ever attended a Desi wedding you know everything is extravagant. Lots of colors, lots of food and lots of beautiful people dressed in the most amazing outfits.

OK back to this gharara. I challenged myself to make my outfits for my cousin's wedding with fabric I already had. If you sew, you know you have that pile of fabric sitting around for that perfect project...that has yet to happen. I decided to go through my pile and begin visualizing. Where can I use this scrap? Where can I put these jewels? Will this fringe work?

I let the materials inspire me instead of the other way around. I grouped some items together and began visualizing. This is where the fun begins! No rules! Things didn't have to match. I didn't have to do traditional designs. I can add whatever I wanted! So I made a lehenga with pockets because....they are the best invention ever!!!! I used a dupatta (shawl) I already had and used some of the fabric to embellish the pants. I also opted for a short blouse instead of the traditional long blouse. I angled the flared part of the pants and added sheer fabric on top. I could go on but I'll let the pictures do the talking.

I did this challenge to design an outfit, but this mindset was helpful for daily living. Meal prep is perfect with this challenge! I've made some amazing meals by using up what I had in my pantry. Organization is key. If you know what you already have then you may not need to go out and buy new. On many occasions I knew I had a item, but couldn't find it. So I had to buy a new one. This was so frustrating and wasteful. 4 benefits I've learned from challenge is

1. you save $$$$

2. you get organized

3. It's a great feeling to use up stuff that's been sitting in your house collecting dust

4. you become more mindful of your purchases. If nothing in your house can substitute it then you realize you truly do need to buy it.

I bought this fabric on a trip to Pakistan not knowing what I would make with it. I knew I wanted it to be something special because I loved the fabric. We surround ourselves with items for a reason. This challenge was truly about mindful consumption. I got all pros and no cons with this exercise. I challenge you to try this! Please share your experience with me!

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