Made while backpacking!

I hate the sun on my head so I need to wear a covering of some sort. Hats are good because they have a brim but I have come to prefer huge head scarves when backpacking I realized this quite by accident.

We were invited into a yurt for some fermented camels milk by some friendly Khazaks who, as we were leaving, gave me a head scarf. I couldn’t say say no and was touched by their generosity but, and I know sound ungrateful, it was extremely ugly. At the time I couldn’t imagine ever wearing it so shoved it into the recesses of my pack.

Then I lost my hat. In a place where there were few hats to be had. And so I took to wearing the huge head scarf. And quickly learnt to appreciate the value of this multitasking product. It can be worn in a variety of ways from frumpy but super shady, useful when the sun is ferocious, to perky Rosie the Riveter style for sea bathing.

My default daily setting is an in-between babooksha style which protects head and neck. AND it can be used for all manner of other things such as

  • an extra towel for wet hair, – self explanatory
  • a bandanna style sunbathing top – tie tightly round the top of
  • the bust. Sunbathing only. Don’t be too active!
  • a laundry bag. Put the laundry in the middled and knot the opposite corners to make a bundle

So hooray for scarves then! But not the Khazak scarf. I wanted a better scarf. And it had to meet the following criteria: It had to be bigger then your average, ten-a-ringitt, bikers bandanna because a) it had to be long enough to shade my neck and b) not make me look like mutton dressed as gang member.

It had to be made from natural fibres with no fringes. I find the fringes are always synthetic.

The fabric had to be thick enough to protect from the sun but not so thick it looked like a wimple.

And the design had to be acceptable. No youthful paisley or american flags, no middle aged flowers or indeterminate swirls. Finally it had to be cheap. I can tell you the above design brief seemingly rules out every ready-made scarf in SE Asia.

So I bought some fine cotton lawn in a Bangkok fabric market and made myself one. I used the ugly scarf as a pattern- 91cm square.

I cut it out with my straight metal nail scissors. Well cut and ripped. I sewed it using thread from the market – no idea wether it was natural or synthetic but it came unpackaged and on a cardboard tube. Needles I had with me – I find they come in very handy when backpacking. I turned over the edges, twice, then sewed it by hand.

Actually I have a confession. This is the second scarf I’ve sewed by hand. I made a rather stylish black and white number and lost it a day later! Another confession – that was the 2nd hat I’d lost. Careless!

All count as part of my Fair Share Fabric Project.

 In 2015 I pledged to use no more than my fair global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share?11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. You can see how I am doing here.    

You can read more about plastic free  backpacking here

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