Monday, October 19, 2009

saro--pagne's brother

In my post about pagne*, I failed to mention saro. Saro** is the other type of fabric popular here. Unlike pagne, it is always a solid color. There is a design woven into the fabric, but this is very subtle since it's all the same color thread. Saro has a shinny, waxy look until it's been washed.

The traditional man's outfit in the north of Cameroon is the boubou--it's basically a loose, knee length shirt over drawstring pants. The whole ensemble is made of the same fabric, and finished off with embroidery on the front of the shirt, around the collar and cuffs.

Cameroonians prefer colorful saros--either bright colors, or pale pastels, but rarely neutrals. Blue is the most common boubou color, but I've seen every color except black.

Women can wear saro too--as long as there's plenty of embroidery to keep it expressive. Women usually have long sleeve, loose fitting tops and matching ankle length wrap skirts.

Check the slide-show for some things I've made on my pedal sewing machine out of saro. The pink and white dresses were from patterns my mom sent me. Both yellow projects I designed myself.

*I've added a picture to that old post, if you're interested in a sampling of pagne designs. More pictures of finished pagne garments to come.

**Saro is my imagined spelling (say sorrow, as in sadness) since I haven't been able to find reference to this name on the internet. Websites seem to call this fabric brocade or basin fabric, but when I asked the market vendors where I could buy boubou fabric, they told me i was looking for saro.

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