Sewing together a passion

Unique Hobbies

In a time where every other individual is turning his or her hobby into a career option and making a living out of it, it’s rare to find someone who is willing to pursue a
hobby for the sake of passion itself.

Creative: A collection of bags, quilts and cushion covers. dh photos by srikanta sharma R

But Sunanda P Jadhav, the founder of BNM Institute of Technology, believes in spreading joy to her friends and family by making some beautiful quilts and rugs out of scraps of cloth.

She was never been the type of person to sit ideal — give her even five minutes alone and she’ll settle down to work on something with her sewing machine. But not once has she thought of selling her creations for money.

 “A hobby for me is about pursuing my passion — not about the money. It gives me immense satisfaction when I make good use of my free time and also, when I see the smiles on people’s faces when I gift my creations to them,” says Sunanda.   

Making quilts and rugs is something she has been pursuing for the last 15 years. When she was visiting her son in the States, she came across a one-hour television show on quilt-making.

“I have a habit of recreating anything I see or taste. So, when I saw that show, I wanted to make a quilt on my own. I watched it very keenly and once I got a hang of it, there was no stopping me,” she expresses.

This passion continued when she returned to India. She immediately got in touch with a material shop in Jayanagar, which makes school uniforms, and the owner offered her all the scraps that usually go waste.

 “But the thing with me is that I rarely keep any of the things that I make. I give them away as gifts to my friends and family,” she adds.

 Picking up the technique was easy for Sunanda, since she knew the basics.

“The women in my family have always been interested in sewing, crochet work, knitting and needlework. So, I knew the basics. And being a quick learner, I picked up the technique fairly well. The key to making quilts is cutting and planning.

I generally first plan out the design and colour combination on paper and then I start cutting the pieces of cloth. Precision in cutting is very important as it really brings the entire thing together,” she adds.

Apart from quilts and rugs, Sunanda also started making sofa covers, television covers and even wall hangings, and coasters, using the same quilt-making technique.

At her speed, Sunanda generally takes close to an hour to make a table runner and around two weeks for a big bed cover.

“It depends on the design. A simple design will take much less time and effort than a more complicated one,” she states.

One would think that putting a few pieces of cloth together to make a quilt is an easy task. But a closer look at the craft and one can see that it is anything but easy. She not only measures each piece of cloth before cutting it precisely, but also irons the material after she stitches two pieces together.

“Yes, it is a lot of effort — but nothing comes without any hard work. One will need a lot of patience and time to really perfect this art,” says Sunanda, who generally keeps paper cuttings of different quilt designs.

Sunanda also admits that this craft has helped her deal with the many facets of old age. “Growing old, one tends to get very lonely and having a hobby really helps.

After I got involved in this, my mind is always racing with new ideas and fresh concepts and at times, I forget that my body will not let me spend hours together on the machine,” she says.

But now, Sunanda wants to popularise the craft and hopes that the knowledge will help other people as well.

“Maybe this craft will help other women become independent — it may even become a source of income for under-privileged women,” she sums up.

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