Before you throw them away, spare some thought and you might as well extend the "lives" of these rags!
This will provide you a brilliant dressing up look that 34-year-old Xian Jia Hui is a crackerjack in, as she can turn any piece of unwanted rag or fabric into a brand new cloth with her skilful hands.
Xian is a kindergarten principal with a strong environmental awareness. She and her teachers began to modify clothes in 2005 and they have since gained the recognition of the students as well as their parents.
Furthermore, "the grandest exhibition of recycled clothes in Malaysia" organised by the kindergarten has been included in the "Malaysia Book of Records."
A self-taught tailor
To Xian, everything could potentially become the source of modified clothes such as dolls, curtain fabric, paper, leaves, plastic, etc. Therefore the modified clothes of Xian and her teachers are highly creative, diverse in styles and absolutely unique.
Beautiful stage dresses made of curtain fabric.
During her interview with Sin Chew Daily, Xian said it is not hard to modify clothes so long as we are willing to think, observe and ask, then we could make many beautiful clothes just like her, a self-taught tailor.
Saving environment and money
She said the main purpose of modifying clothes was to save the environment as it could prolong the material life and therefore reduce wastes and save money. Amost all of the garmets for stage shows are hand-made by her and her teachers.
"We try to extend the useful life of clothes. Just in case a piece of cloth can no longer be modified, then it could still be sewn into a piece of rug or table cloth. We have a few pieces of stage garments that have been modified several times and been using for six or seven years but so far no one could tell that they were all the same clothes."
Recyclable materials can be turned into funny-looking toys with a little bit of ideas.
She disclosed, besides stage garments, part of the modified clothes could be used as leisure wears or dinner dresses. The kindergarten recently sold many clothes and some of them were even snatched up instantly by the public.
Saving the money for her family
Modifying clothes has helped Xian and her family save plenty of money buying clothes!
Xian said it had become a habit for her to think of ways to modify rag clothes, and her products are much cherished by her own daughter. Consequently, she and her daughter rarely buy clothes nowadays while they have only one or two for dinners.
She and her teachers will constantly search for suitable clothes or fabrics from the recycle station and modify them into casual wears, garments for stage performances or other purposes.
Pasting some spangles on the stained cloth.
Her daughter, who has been infuenced by her, always talks about saving the environment does not mind wearing old clothes. The daughter also does not throw away things deliberately such as small pieces of paper. As a result, her daughter's room is always piled up with plenty of things.
Xian is implementing the concept of environment preservation in her day-to-day living. However, she feels that we should not make ourselves exhausted doing so. Instead, we should do it willingly and with a joyful heart. To prevent unnecessary wastage, we should think twice before purchasing anything.
Thanks to some creative ideas, disused rags have been given a new lease of life.
Xian's kindergarten is said to be "the most environment-friendly" kindergarten in town, because other than modified garments, many of the toys inside the kindergarten have been modified from recycled materials.
"My primary school arts teacher used to tell us the concept of environment protection, teaching us how to modify usable items. Moreover, the dumping ground in my neighbourhood has made me see the importance of environmental protection. I truly hope that I can instill this concept in my students too."
She added that all her students like to wear recycled clothes and learn how to make toys, and this has helped promote the concept of environmental protection and the children's creativity as well.