Chekkutty – doll made of stained handloom cloths to help weavers

Lakshmi Menon with Chekkutty, the doll

A group of designers are making soft dolls out of the stained and torn handloom cloths, the remains of the rain and floods that affected many lives in Kerala. The handloom cloths are collected from the flood affected Chendamangalam in Eranakulam, a region famous from its handloom products.

During the floods, handloom sarees worth lakhs were damaged. Normally the damaged cloths would be burned, as the stains would not be fixed by washing. At this point of time the volunteers come forward with the idea of making dolls out of the stained cloths and give the earning back to the weavers.

The doll is named as ‘Chekkutty’, could be the short form of ‘Chendamangalam Kutty. (kutty in Malayalam means child) or ‘Cherine athijeevicha kutty’ means the ‘child who survived the mud’.

“Chekkuty has stains and scars, but it symbolizes each one of us, who survived the floods,” says Lakshmi Menon, a designer, who initiated the programme. Lakhsmi has been promoting a green lifestyle along with ideas of making value added items from waste materials.

“Chekkuty is a mascot for rebuilding Kerala from despair,” she added.

The tagline for the promotion of Chekkutty is ‘Weaving together Kerala’ with the aim of providing as much help as  possible to the weavers of Chendamangalam to alleviate their losses.

The average cost of a sari is Rs 1,300. Lskshmi said they can make up to 350-360 dolls from a sari; by selling the dolls with the minimum price of Rs 25, they can make around  Rs 9,000.

“Before making the dolls, each piece of textile is chlorinated and boiled in water to disinfect it and is made safe to be used,” said Lakshmi.

The dolls are made with a string, enabling it to hang on shoulder bags, suitcases or inside cars.

The team is in the process of making a website,, to invite more people to participate in creating dolls or buying them.

Ajith Kumar, secretary of the Handloom Weavers’ Co-operative Society, Karimpadam, Chendamangalam, says stock worth ₹21 lakh remains damaged. Fortunately, there was stock worth ₹10 lakh, set aside for Kozhikode and Ernakulam markets, which remains to be sold, he adds. (Mr. Kumar may be contacted at 9446927345.)