Jul 9 2014

Planning a Barbecue? Don’t Forget the Sarong

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 4 years ago -

Planning a Barbecue? Don’t Forget the Sarong

Planning a Barbecue? Don’t Forget the Sarong

Many Uses for a Sarong

Jeff and Joslyn hosted their first barbecue on July 4th this year. Young and married for just one year, they nervously ventured into the untried territory of entertaining guests. Friends had told them, “You can’t go wrong with a barbecue.” Hmmm. Are you sure?

No Apron? No Problem

The first thing to go wrong came out of left field just as the hamburger patties began to sizzle. As Jeff reached over to flip the burgers, he heard his father’s critical voice. “You’re not wearing an apron! Do you want to spatter grease on that nice shirt Mom and I got you for your birthday?” Jeff had worn the shirt because he thought his parents would be pleased to see him using their gift, but there was no pleasing Dad.

Joslyn had his back. In a second, she had grabbed her favorite sarong and draped it over Jeff, covering the endangered shirt. “We don’t have any aprons,” she said sweetly to her father-in-law. “I’ll be sure to get one next time I’m at the store.”

Sarong to the Rescue Again

She had just finished silently congratulating herself for her quick thinking when Jeff asked if she knew where the oven mitt was. She knew exactly where it was. It was on the ground after being slightly chewed on by the dog. No point explaining this in front of their guests. She reached for another sarong that she had been planning to cover the table with, and handed it to Jeff. Wrapped around the chewed up oven mitt several times, it worked quite well as an oven mitt cover-up. And no one knew there was a slightly chewed up oven mitt underneath, protecting his hand!

Decorative and Useful

As soon as Joslyn could reclaim the oven mitt/sarong, she spread it on the table. It looked beautiful and festive. When the barbecue was turned off and there was no longer a need to protect his shirt, Jeff peeled off the first sarong and spread it on the grass. He and his Dad sat down to eat and talk about a safe subject, one of the few they actually agreed on: baseball. Joslyn took a deep breath and sank into a patio chair. Her first attempt at entertaining seemed to be going well, thanks to the multi-purpose sarongs.

Jun 18 2014

Going Camping? Pack a Sarong or Two

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 4 years ago -

Use your sarong as a clothesline

Use your sarong as a clothesline

Sun protection

After you’ve successfully filtered and enjoyed your morning coffee you pack up and hit the trail. The sun gets hotter and hotter, and you start to wilt. A flash of inspiration: you reach into your backpack, take out your sarong and drape it over your head and shoulders. You suddenly have cool, lightweight protection from the sun.

Baby Cover-up

At noon, you meet up with your friends, bravely hiking with their two-month-old baby and their lively five-year-old. You all settle in for lunch, grateful for the break. Baby wants lunch, too—right now—but your friend is shy to nurse her in public. Another fishing expedition into the backpack. Another brilliant use for the sarong:  a lightweight, effective breastfeeding cover-up. Baby is fed, and peace descends over the picnic lunch.


After lunch, everyone except the baby takes a quick dip in the lake to cool off. This delightful dip generates wet clothing and towels that you don’t want to stuff back into your packs. The five-year-old alone seems to have gotten several towels wet. You again reach for the sarong, spread it diagonally, and twist it into a rope. Securing each end with a twist-tie from the lunch food, you hang it between two trees and drape the wet laundry over it.

Everyone takes a little siesta, and when you’re ready to hit the trail again, you find that the wet things have dried and you’re ready to be on your way.

Happy camping with your sarongs!

Jun 13 2014

Sun Protection with a Sarong

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / uses for sarongs - 4 years ago -

Use your sarong at the beach

Use your sarong at the beach

Heading for the beach this summer? Trying to travel light? Remember how, last summer, you lugged all manner of paraphernalia on the long path from the parking lot to the beach, picking your way carefully among the loose rocks and slippery dry dirt, and arrived at the beach tired, achy, and grumpy? You resolved not to make the same mistake this year, but as school ends and beach weather begins, you may be wondering how you’re going to keep that noble resolve.

Lose the Umbrella

One awkward, unwieldy item in last year’s burden was your beach umbrella, right? The one that kept getting blown over by the wind once you finally made it to the beach. Tip for this year’s excursion: Lose the umbrella.

Sarong to the Rescue

Of course, you still need sun protection. Even with the new 70, 80, and 110 SPF sunscreens, you can’t sit in the sun all day. It’s intense. Warming, life-giving—yes;  and still, intense. So you get down to the beach and you find that there’s not a bit of shade to be had. Here’s what you do: Look around till you find two sticks. Surely there are some twigs, branches, or stick-like materials of some sort around. Plant them in the sand and secure them with stones around the base. Then—ta da ta da ta da—unfurl your sarong.

Very Clever

Dig around in your beach bag for the two rubber bands you always keep there. You do always keep two rubber bands in your bag, don’t you? Attach two corners of the sarong to the sticks. Bring the rest of the sarong out as far as it will go, and place some rocks, shoes, or such along its edge. Can you see it? You’ve just created a little tent to shelter you from the sun. You still have a view out the sides, diffused light coming in, and a pleasant breeze wafting through. The only thing you don’t have is the hot sun beating down on you mercilessly.

When you get back from the water and remember that you ditched your towel, too, the sarong can always double as a quick-drying beach towel. Pretty clever, wouldn’t you say?

Jun 5 2014


about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 4 years ago -

SG-300-Ppl-DfnIf you’re planning a trip this summer, consider the sarong as a faithful travel companion. You may be wondering how you’ll fit everything into one suitcase. With airlines charging for bags these days, we’re all trying to pack lighter. Tucked into otherwise wasted spots in your bag (yes, that’s singular) this summer could be at least two sarongs. And you may not wear either one in the usual fashion.

A Sarong’s Not For You?

You may feel that wearing a sarong, or pareo, is not for you. It simply doesn’t fit  your own image of yourself, and previous urging have not swayed you in the slightest. I understand. Don’t wear it. Pack one or two anyway. They have myriad uses, some of which may not have occurred to you. Modesty, for example.

Modesty? Really?

Possibly modesty isn’t the first thought that enters your mind when you hear the word sarong. You may picture a lovely Balinese woman in an exceptionally becoming, tightly wrapped sarong. But imagine this: you’re in a foreign country,  dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, standard apparel for summer travel. In your wanderings, you come upon a hauntingly beautiful house of worship. It somehow captures your heart. You’d dearly love to go in and experience this piece of local culture. But the sign clearly indicates that visitors must be covered up. It says so in three languages, and in case any doubt remains, there are sketches that make it perfectly clear that shoulders, upper arms, and legs have to be hidden. You don’t even come close to meeting these requirements, and there’s no time to dash back to your hotel to retrieve more appropriate clothing. And today’s your last day here.

Made It!

If you have a sarong tucked into your tote—they’re so lightweight you may have forgotten it’s there—you’re in luck. With a little practice, over there under the tree, you can drape it over yourself in such a way that all “objectionable” areas are covered. Whew! You made it! You step into the cool, peaceful interior in time to hear the beautiful melodies of this culture’s worship. For years afterward, you’ll think of this visit as the highlight of your trip.

That’s how a sarong has saved many a day for travelers, and that’s one reason to pack a couple of sarongs this summer.

Apr 24 2014

Sarongs for All Body Types

about sarongs and pareos / uses for sarongs - 4 years ago -

The word “sarong” usually conjures up images of a brightly colored wraparound skirt on some lean beach body, usually a girl. This is usually the case in most resort settings, especially in the tropics, where the sarong is part of customary garb.

Plus Size Sarong - Rainbow Colored Tie-Dye Sarong

Plus Size Sarong – Rainbow Colored Tie-Dye Sarong

In the tropics, you will find that the sarong has long been worn by both men and women and that the stereotypical beach body is more the exception than the rule.  On many Pacific islands you will find the population wearing sarongs or pareos as a regular part of their dress. Men are often seen wearing a dark sarong with a light-colored button-down shirt for office wear. And many women wear the sarong with blouses or as dresses, regardless of figure.

Think, in this case, of Juanita Hall, who plays Bloody Mary in South Pacific. Bloody Mary is not exactly petite; she embodies the typical figure of more mature women in the Pacific islands, especially among Polynesians, with more than the usual curves. However, it does not dissuade them from wearing a garment that can be both loose and form-fitting at the same time, a garment that is solidly part of their culture and tradition.

The sarong’s versatility should not be limited by the impression that it is limited only to a small segment of the population of the world. Anyone can wear a sarong (in appropriate styles and venues, of course). If men can wear the sarong with their business shirts and even as a complement to their cutaway coats, then women can also use it for regular wear.

There are many fastening methods to use. One favorite is to tuck a loose end into a fold that will hold for much of the day, although a safety pin handy would be recommended. For color and texture, it can be as bright and multi-colored as one would desire, with some models bearing metallic threads as major accents to complement the rich hues of more formal variants. More casual sarongs will be of a lighter, beach worthy cotton or rayon, and may be batik, tie-dyed or printed.

Remember that the sarong’s versatility as a variable garment or accessory is complemented by the diversity of its wearers. Therefore, to any woman who wants to wear one but thinks it won’t suit her figure, here’s my two cents: wear it and rock it.


Apr 18 2014

The Traveling Sarong

about sarongs and pareos / Crafts / uses for sarongs - 4 years ago -

The woman traveler never knows if her kit is properly made up. For the most part, sensible footwear and walking clothes are standard, as are a change of shirt, socks, and underwear. Once in a while, even the dusty traveler might be invited to visit someplace that has a dress code (e.g. a place of worship or a fancy restaurant) in their current host country. In one of those spur of the moment cases, what does one do?

Solid Black Sarong

Solid Black Sarong

Fortunately, she can be thankful for the sarong, one of the most practical and versatile garments that has ever graced a wardrobe. Next to the little black dress that fashion icon Coco Chanel popularized as a must-have, the sarong has entered our style lexicon as a go-to item “just in case’ of a lot of things. It’s long, lightweight, and can be used in so many settings.

In principle, a sarong (or pareo, as some Polynesian people call it) is a rectangular piece of fabric that is wrapped around one’s waist as a skirt. It can be one and a half to two yards or more long and usually drapes from the waist to the ankles.

Among many cultures, the sarong and its local variants constitute a regular part of both sexes’ wardrobe. Men and women have worn it for centuries, especially in tropical climates (like in Tonga or Myanmar) or in arid coastal sites (as in Yemen) to the point that they survived the introduction of pants. These days, however, we are more likely to associate the sarong with the fairer sex as beachwear or light casual wear. For the beach, it doubles as a wraparound skirt over your swimsuit and as your beach blanket and mat. In town, you can wear it as a dress (when knotted properly) or as a shawl. If you need a pouch in a jiffy, you can transform your sarong into a handy tote to carry some lightweight belongings.

As a textile product, the sarong comes in a variety of lightweight fabrics like rayon and cotton, even silk for dressier occasions. The basic fabric can be dyed in a spectrum of colors and patterns, ranging from solids to tie-dyed and beautiful batik. It is this versatility in appearance that adds to the value of a sarong as a stand-alone garment or an accessory; the right sarong for the right occasion. Personally, a solid colored sarong in any dark hues (such as black, gray, or navy) will do double duty for any travel need.


Nov 12 2010

Thanksgiving Sarong Use #2 – Save Your Table from the Turkey!

Uncategorized - 7 years ago -

Thanksgiving Turkey on Sarong MatHow do you protect your fine table linen from turkey juice splatters when you carve and serve on Thanksgiving? I have an idea for you! Use a sarong and an old towel to make an attractive, absorptive mat for catching turkey juice drips on the table.

Take a sarong or pareo in Autumn colors, perfect for Thanksgiving decorations, that looks pretty on your table. Fold it around an old, clean bath towel and place at the head of the table where the turkey will be carved. Place the platter on the table, on top of your sarong mat, folded so it leaves a few inches around the platter to catch any spills.

The juice from that gorgeous, juicy bird on Thanksgiving day will be absorbed by the sarong mat and save your fine table linen from irreparable damage. The best part is, the sarong is easy to launder and will likely look great after a wash, ready to be reused again and again, for other purposes in your home and then on the beach!

Nov 10 2010

Thanksgiving Sarong Use… Coordinating Mismatched Chairs!

Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 7 years ago -

How to use sarongs to cover mismatched chairs around your holiday table. I love Thanksgiving. As much as I like cooking, eating, and visiting with family and friends, my favorite part is setting the table. It is an occasion to bring out the nice china, find all the matching cloth napkins, make a cute little center piece with construction paper and pumpkins…Batik Leaf Sarong in Orange

One challenge we always have in our home is chairs. We have 6 chairs around our table on a normal day, but what do you do when you have 8 or 10 people coming over? Then is it time to bring out the rolling desk chairs, the front hall chair, even that antique chair I painted in rainbow colors when I was 15. Sometimes I borrow folding chairs if I am really desperate…

Well, here is a nifty idea to coordinate all those mismatched chairs for a neat look.

Simply draping a sarong or pareo over a chair has a nice effect. You can use the fringe to tie it to the top and legs so it doesn’t slip. For a desk chair, you can tie the fringe under the arm to a pinched piece of fabric on each side to create a nicely draped but secure chair cover.

Then for the piece de la resistance, you can use a matching sarong as a table runner. Voila – a Thanksgiving table and chair set! You could give the sarongs to your guests as party favors but you’ll probably fall in love with them, so make sure to keep a few for yourself.

This year I am using this sarong, in orange, to cover my chairs.

Just another great use for a sarong!

Nov 1 2010

How to Decorate Your Rented Space

Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 7 years ago -

In every home, apartment and room I’ve ever rented, I’ve always fretted about putting nails in the walls to decorate my space. Sadly, getting my full deposit back has been privileged over personal style.

I discovered the joys of sarongs in this phase of my life. I could add color and flair to my space with push pins! Sarongs are light enough to stay put with the lightest of touches. I have even hung curtains by just tying the fringe to the existing venetian blinds mounting.

As the daughter of sarong importers, I’ve had a hard time choosing from all the gorgeous, hand painted sarongs. Needless to say, I have quite a collection by now. But they are inexpensive, easy to launder and quite unique. Of all the art I hang in my home, the handpainted sarongs always garner the most attention.

Here is my latest favorite decorative sarong.

Richly Textured and Intricately Hand-Painted Lush Jungle Waterfall Sarong

Hand Painted Balinese Sarongs – For Your Home

Oct 28 2010

Bring Autumn Colors into Your Home

Home Decor / uses for sarongs - 7 years ago -

I love this time of year. The first rains bring that wonderful smell and the leaves are gold and brown, the gardens are still full of veggies to harvest. I even love when the rain makes the leaves all soggy like raisin bran left too long in the milk. What can I say, I’m an Autumn girl.

I am plotting to bring some autumn colors into my house without blowing my holiday budget before November even starts.

My goal is to find some sarongs to cover my tables and to make some good winter curtains because I can’t afford to replace our old windows with double paned units.

The table covers are easy – I’ve narrowed it down to these two sarongs.

Purple & Brown Artisan Batik Sarong in Premium Quality RayonGold & Brown Floral Artisan Batik Sarong in Premium Quality Rayon

The winter curtains are harder. I always like to reuse materials – saving money and loving the earth. I have several yards of lavender flannel that I bought a few years ago. But purple is not exactly an autumn or winter color… So, I will use it as a lining, sandwiched between two sarongs. I will just cut the flannel piece slightly smaller than the sarong and top-stitch it. Then I will fold over and sew one end to slip the curtain rod through. Easy peasy!

Hopefully this will bring autumn colors into my home while keeping out the crisp autumn air!