What If You Can Make an Exclusive Designer Dress by Re-Using Your Old Saree(2020)? Create Magic by Transforming Sarees into Lehenga Using Our Craft Ideas and Be Proud of Yourself!

What If You Can Make an Exclusive Designer Dress by Re-Using Your Old Saree(2020)? Create Magic by Transforming Sarees into Lehenga Using Our Craft Ideas and Be Proud of Yourself!

Just imagine how adorable you are going to look with that same old saree fabric by transforming it into a whole new lehenga for a wedding or any function you're about to attend. Here's the 'how to make different dresses from old saree' question all deciphered for you.

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Eyeing any of your mom’s saree, but not sure how to make it fit in the current trend? So beautiful with little frayed ends, that you can’t imagine throwing out? What if we say you can churn a beautiful lehenga out of it?

Sarees are quite versatile. They can fit in any occasion. You can even drape it in multiple ways thanks to saree draping artists like Tia Bhuva and Dolly Jain. A saree holds quite a lot of memories associated with it. Why throw out such a saree? Convert it to a lehenga or a kurti or even a dress. Your choices are endless.

Salwar Suit/ Kurtas

A salwar suit or a kurta is probably the go-to option. You can maintain the ethnicity of the saree on a salwar. Sarees make beautiful salwars/kurtas. If the ends of the saree are frayed, you can cut them off and use contrast borders or even skip it altogether. Want to jazz it up? Add mirror work or patchwork borders on the sleeves, neck and hemline. The heavy sarees with tons of work make for an awesome anarkali.


The wedding season is close and your outfit is not ready? Why not convert your mom’s old saree to a lehenga? It’d be better if the ends are intact. Turn the saree to a lehenga and the pallu to a dupatta. It also retains the charm of the saree since not much material is cut out. Now all you need is a choli and your outfit is ready. Much less time consuming and inexpensive way to score a new outfit and to please your mom as well.

Maxi Dress

While you are reworking your mom’s saree, why not go fusion and get a dress stitched? Kanjeevaram silk sarees make for awesome dresses. Maxi dresses are the epitome of convenience. Imagine getting to wear a silk saree with the comfort of a dress? The best part is that you get to customise the dress to your liking. You can either go plain without any adornments or use the border to the hemline for a touch of richness. Maybe you can even incorporate the pallu somewhere.


Not ready to lose the saree and its grandeur. Why not go for a skirt? Converting a saree to a skirt causes minimum damage and helps retain its charm. Ethnic sarees can be converted to skirts for half sarees. This is how it usually rolls, but you can also try shorter skirts. Make longer flowy skirts with georgette or crepe sarees. Style it any way you want; Pair it with a simple white shirt or even a camisole.


Have some leftover material from when you reused your mom’s saree? Or maybe the pallu is left? Convert it into capes or jackets. Pair them with your jeans and a camisole for a fusion outfit. The pallu can be used as a dupatta or a shawl, maybe. This doesn't have to be with your silk saree, you can also rework a cotton or crepe saree the same way. Printed sarees make for pretty scarves.

Cut and Sew a New Lehenga

Umbrella Lehenga Skirt

Have a flowy saree or silk may be that oh so pretty to throw out? Why not make a lehenga skirt? Of course, you need to buy new fabric for choli and dupatta. But the skirt is all sorted out. Check out this DIY Lehenga.

  • Silk Saree - 5 meters
  • Zipper
  • Lining - 5 meters

How to
  • Fold Your Saree twice lengthwise.
  • Measure your waist and calculate your waistband for the fabric. Waistband = (Waist+2inches)/6.28.
  • Start cutting on the side from where there is a single fold. Place your measuring tape and mark a curve with the resulting measurement from above.
  • Keep the tape on the just made curve and draw another curve marking the length of the lehenga.
  • Cut the two curves. Open the fabric for a semi-circle. You should have two such semi-circles. Mark a line 1 inch away from the edge. Close that side completely.
  • On the other side mark the zipper and then stitch it leaving space for the zipper.
  • Repeat the same with the lining fabric.
  • Place the lining inside and align it together. Stitch the waist from one end of the zipper to the other end.
  • Stitch the zipper in and cut the excess.
  • Cut the fabric out of the remaining saree fabric to make the waistband. The fabric should be 3 inches in length and the width should be (waist measurement/2)+seam allowance.
  • Repeat the above for the front waistband but add 2 more inches to make the front flap.
  • Place the interface and iron it in. Stitch the waistband to the skirt.
  • Add hooks, hem the border and you are done.

Box Lehenga Skirt

Have a saree with stunning pallu and beautiful zari work lying unused? Try this box lehenga skirt by Simple Cutting.

  • Saree (preferably with zari work)

How to
  • Cut out the pallu and put it away.
  • In the remaining saree mark the width of the lehenga to be 38 inches and mark it throughout the saree. Cut it along the line.
  • Mark the entire width of the saree at 2” and 6” alternating until you reach the end. Draw at another line at about 10 inches from the top.
  • Make a pleat with the 6” lines as guidance and sew it until the line you have drawn below.
  • Leave 2 inches and again pleat with the 6” lines as guidance. Keep going along the width of the lehenga until the end.
  • Stitch the ends together, allowing an inch for the seam.
  • Measure the waist of the lehenga and cut the remaining fabric with a width of about 3” for the waistband, allowing space for seam allowance.
  • Finally, fold the fabric into two and stitch it to the waist as a belt.

A-Line Lehenga Skirt

A-line skirts are always in fashion. Not just a lehenga, you can also use it as a casual wear skirt and add a shirt or a camisole on top. Get Style by Ateeka has this simple lehenga tutorial for the first-timers on her Youtube channel.

  • Saree Fabric - 3 ½ m

How to
  • Cut 3 ½ metres from the saree. Fold the cut fabric two times width wise.
  • Divide your waist measurement by 8 and add a 3” seam allowance; mark at the waist side of the skirt.
  • Draw a slanting line to the bottom of the skirt and cut along the line.
  • Stitch the ends together.
  • Cut a 4” inch fabric with the waist measurement to be the width and stitch it to the waist of the skirt. Use the loop to add latkan or elastic or dori.

Box Pleated Lehenga Skirt

Forget about the umbrella cut lehenga, have you tried the box pleated lehenga? One of the most beautiful yet easy lehengas to make if you have any zari worked stiff fabric in hand. Get yourself a beautiful Box Pleated Lehenga Skirt following the tutorial.

  • Saree (stiff material)
  • Matching Petticoat
  • Matching Zipper

How to
  • Mark the saree at 4-inch gaps, leaving 1inch at the start for seam allowance. Make 15 such marks.
  • Pleat the saree so that the second mark aligns with the first point. Bring the third marked point and bring it to the fourth point for a boxed pleat.
  • Keep going on until you have sufficient pleats. Measure the pleat width. It should be the same as your waist.
  • Leave 1 inch for seam and draw a straight line.
  • Stitch the pleats in place.
  • Cut a 7“ wide piece with the length as your waist size plus added 2” seam allowance.
  • Cut off the waistband of your petticoat and rip it open along the seam. If the waist size of the petticoat is longer than the skirt, make pleats as you stitch it in.
  • Place the waistband of the petticoat to that of the skirt and stitch it to the skirt.
  • Stitch the ends of the skirt together, adding the zipper as you stitch it. Fold the waistband right in half and stitch the ends so that the zipper remains concealed.

Pleated Lehenga Skirt

Another simple pleated lehenga skirt; Doesn’t need any skills or much of your time. It works best with flowy fabrics like the net. Make sure your lining is shiny on its own to elevate the net fabric. Why not try it at home with the help of the Youtube video from GetStyleByAteeka.

  • Net Saree - 3 metres
  • Lining - 3 metres

How to
  • Align your skirt with the lining so that they match along the ends. Place a stitch on the top so that they stay in place.
  • Make pleats 1 inch in width along the waist. Stitch the pleats together.
  • Cut another piece of fabric 3” length either from the lining or of a contrast colour. Attach it to the waist with silver lace on top.
  • Flip over and stitch the ends together.
  • If your net fabric is plain with no adornment, stitch mirror work to it.

How to Wear Saree Like Lehenga

Not everyone is ready to cut and sew a particularly beautiful saree into a lehenga. In that case, you can drape your saree to resemble a lehenga skirt either with a separate dupatta or the pallu as a dupatta. With easy adjustments to your draping style, your saree is ready to rock as a lehenga.

Lehenga Skirt

With this draping style, you can convert an entire saree into a lehenga. Sarees with heavily worked border work the best for this style. Make sure you wear a long matching skirt and heels before you drape. If your skirt doesn't match the saree, wear a matching petticoat.

Start with tucking and pinning your saree to the skirt on the right-hand side. Once it is secure, make 2-3 pleats and tuck them in. Repeat the process on the entire length of the saree. Make sure the saree covers the skirt properly. Distribute the pleats evenly throughout. In the border part, fold it in so that the border is not visible through the saree. Attach the end to the rest with safety pins. You can also choose to pin the pleats as you feel.

Lehenga Style Saree Draping with Seetha Pallu

The whole idea of draping the saree just like a lehenga makes it even more versatile. With this style of draping, your dupatta is also covered. Make sure you wear a full skirt, probably of thick and shimmery material. It gives volume and gives the appearance of a lehenga.

As the first step tuck the lehenga to the back right at the centre. Bring it to the right side, tucking it along. Start making pleats, measuring 4”-5” inches and tuck it in such that there are no gaps between the pleats. Continue until you reach the starting point. At this point, make long pleats at the width of the fabric and bring it forward. Drop it as you would do with a seetha pallu. You can also pin one end or just tuck it in.

Lehenga Saree Drape

An easy lehenga drape with the saree and you don't even need another saree for the dupatta. It works the best with a cancan skirt as it gives you the flare of a lehenga. If your saree comes with a blouse piece, do not detach it from the saree as it would give it the much-needed length with this kind of drape.

Pleat the pallu and secure it with the safety pin. Bring the other end to the left side through your back and tuck it in until you reach the right side. Take broad pleats from the left side and insert it in your skirt. Make sure the pleats are broad and don't leave any gap. There is no need for pleats in the backside but for a neat look, you can add a pleat or two. Your pallu should be loose and not pulled tight like in a saree. Secure everything with a waist belt.

Combine Your Lehenga and Saree

Do not have a skirt that gives the shape of the lehenga to the saree? No worries, try a double petticoat. It gives you a resemblance of a poof, a lehenga needs. Make sure that the openings of the petticoats are at the opposite ends.

Wrap the saree around you, once, starting at the right-hand side at the front. After you are done wrapping, make overlapping pleats, tucking it in as you go. As you reach the end of the saree, fold it once or twice to conceal the border. Pin it with the rest of the lehenga. You could also pin the pleats if you so desire.

For the dupatta, take another saree and pleat the inside end of the saree. Tuck the pleat facing left and pull one end to the mid-back and mark the point with a safety pin. Make 5-6 pleats and tuck it in at the mid-back. Pull the saree through the other side and bring it to front. Pleat the pallu and pin it over your shoulder.

Front Pleat Cancan Drape

Even the simplest of sarees look like million dollars with a simplest twist in the drape. The unusual drape by Tia Bhuva gives the appearance of a lehenga using a front pleat drape on a cancan skirt.

To start with, pleat the pallu as you would do with a regular saree. Pin the pleats on your left shoulder as usual. Bring the saree underneath your right arms to the front. At the opposite end, leave a measure of the saree and pleat the rest. Tuck them in at the navel. Pleat the saree left at the end, lengthwise and tuck underneath the saree at the right-hand side. Complete the look with a gold waist chain.

Sunandha Wilis
After spending 12 years in the hectic corporate world, Sunandha quit the industry to follow her passion for writing. She enjoys writing on a variety of subjects including travel, health, beauty, fashion and technology. Apart from writing she also dons the hat of an editor from time to time. Her time off is spent listening to music and wrestling with her boys.
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