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SOMa Mothers Upcycle Shirts Into One-of-a-Kind Skirts

Leah Gomberg and Susan Motamed started a South Orange - Maplewood business

It all started with a skirt. One day, recalls Leah Gomberg of South Orange, Maplewood friend Susan Motamed admired Gomberg's skirt. "She said it wouldn't be hard to make one like it."  Gomberg was skeptical. "I learned to sew in high school," she says, but hadn't pursued the skill since. However, Motamed helped her remember the basics, and Short Cuts was launched. 

Short Cuts are skirts made from "upcycled" shirts. Gomberg explains that "upcycling" is making a discarded item into something new and, in this case, unique. The skirts follow a basic pattern, says, Gomberg, but no two are identical, ever.

Indeed, Gomberg and Motamed make a weekly pilgrimage to a local Salvation Army to purchase shirts. They buy what strikes them with the enthusiastic help of the salespeople. "They love to see us come in," says Gomberg. "We buy all kinds of things there."

Once they wash the shirts, Gomberg and Motamed cut them into strips and start combining colors and patterns. Old t-shirts soon become vibrant, new clothes for girls, teens, and women of all ages and tastes. The pair sell the skirts at local events such as Maplewoodstock and Green Day.

While both women have careers that keep them busy, Short Cuts  is a creative way to earn money and spend time together, explains Gomberg.  It's also very satisfying, she says.

Last year, by the end of Maplewoodstock's third day, Short Cuts  was sold out and Gomberg saw dozens of girls and women wearing their creations. "It was a great sight," she said, "all those unique skirts."

To learn more, email: Shortcuts boutique at shortcutsboutique@gmail.com.

Skirts cost $50 for women and $30 for girls.

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