House of Wandering Silk’s no-sew skirt

 As every savvy global wanderer knows, one should always take a shawl on flights. They’re comforting to use as a wrap when the plane’s cooling system goes into overdrive, and they cover up a wrinkled outfit and help make you look vaguely decent once you disembark. And if they help lift women out of poverty, well, there’s a bonus feel-good factor. This one made out of recycled saris from the House of Wandering Silk does all those things – oh, and it turns into at least two different skirts, too. 

 Voila! Skirt number one.

 But how does the humble shawl manage so much, I hear you ask? Here’s a closer look.

 Alright, I admit it had a bit of help – safety pins, namely. That’s right – there is NO SEWING involved in making this skirt! Here’s how it looks when it’s laid flat out.

 Have you ever seen a Scottish kilt opened out? Or maybe a netball skirt? They’re basically lengths of material that have been pleated, and then wrapped and fastened at the front, yes? So why not do the same with a shawl? 
I didn’t take pics of me wrapping and pinning the shawl on myself as I simply don’t have enough hands, so hopefully you can understand what I did – really I just left about 20cm at the ends of the shawl free, but made large folds (ie pleats) randomly along the length and fastened them with safety pins (you can see the kantha stitching running across the shawl too in this close-up pic!).

Then all you have to do is wrap it around your waist and fasten at the front with another safety pin. To make it a bit more secure I rolled the waist over, you know, like you probably did at high school to make your skirt shorter (although that is, admittedly, quite a distant memory for me…!).

 This is skirt number two.

 I probably don’t need to tell you how I made this second skirt – the shawl is reversible, so all I did was turn the “skirt” over to the other side!

I can’t believe I have only just come up with this ridiculously easy idea. It will be a super space saver next time I’m on holiday – two skirts AND a shawl in the one item! I feel like some kind of genius 🙂
Of course you don’t have to go on holiday to try this – why not give it a go on home soil first!

And now – once you’ve got over my brilliance, that is – I’d like you to go and read all about the House of Wandering Silk. I met the founder, Katherine, a few years ago, and was awed at all the places she’d been and inspiring things she had done as an aid worker. She shares my love of ethnic textiles, so her decision to establish a business in India that helps disadvantaged women through their native cloth is hardly surprising. I love the quote she’s used on her website by Mahatma Gandhi – “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it creates hunger and unhappiness” – as a fair trade advocate, I couldn’t agree more. Let’s hope the House of Wandering Silk will create happiness and full bellies as well as beautiful earth-friendly items for many years to come!

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