Giving Old Fabrics A New Life – DIY Textile Up-cycling Workshop

Published on by Nika Zobec

On Sep 16, a young group of talented professionals spent their Monday evening testing and showing off their creative skills as they cut, sewed and stitched together their own personalized cutlery carrying cases. The session organized by Green Initiatives in collaboration with Clara Non-profit DIY was a perfect example of repurposing waste while imparting new skills,

China generates thousands of tons of textile waste every day, most of them in perfectly usable condition. A huge percent of this waste comes from factories who discard excess inventory, fabrics with minor defects or material that don’t meet their quality standards. This is a real waste of resources since the production of these fabrics requires a lot of freshwater, arable land, chemicals, dyes, energy and many other resources.

This cutlery case was not purchased online but was handcrafted by the cheerful participants themselves, who spent the evening playing with colorful fabrics. Transforming the original piece of discarded fabric to an environmentally friendly cutlery carrying case, represents not just the value of creating something with their own hands, but marks the beginning of a new habit and being more aware about the problem of textile waste. In our daily life, we can notice that many restaurants still provide disposable cutleries, not to mention the single-use items that are everywhere in takeaway food. It's hard to change our habits, but we can start by putting such light and convenient cutlery cases in our bags and say NO to single-use items.

Initially, the sewing process was difficult and challenging, but the participants were quick to master this new skill while laughing and having fun at the same time. Some participants even made two different cutlery sets, with their names engraved on it. The fact that these good quality fabrics were discarded material and would have otherwise ended up in a landfill brought a whole new sense of meaning to the workshop. Every small left-over piece of cloth was put to use in different forms, leaving the participants to realize that there are still a lot more that can be done to reduce waste.

“Here, nothing is wasted; everything is recycled”.

About Clara Non-profit DIY

Clara Non-profit DIY was founded by Clara Huang in Shanghai in Dec 2017. It gathers a group of
people cherishing resources, concerned about environmental protection, keen on product design
& DIY and willing to contribute for good cause. They use donated disused material from industry or commerce and “waste” from daily life to do DIY, maximize utilization of existing resources, minimize pollution to the environment, and turn “waste” into valuable DIY items. They raise fund through charity sale of these DIY work to support disadvantaged children.They currently organize offline events mainly in Shanghai, Beijing and Haikou.

If you are interested in conducting similar team building activities or DIY workshops for your team, please write to us at