Following on from a comment received to my previous post ‘Traditional Madagascar clothing: the lamba‘, here’s a quick guide to making your own lamba. Even a total beginner at clothes making could make this.
The lamba is made of two parts; the lamba oany, which goes round the body, and the kisaly which is draped around the shoulders or head.
Making the lamba
Lamba oany: this is a long tube of cloth sown down the drop. It’s 2metres wide around the body before it’s sown (so 1 metre wide when you step inside it). The standard drop is 1.50 metre – but this can be adjusted. It needs to be roughly armpit to ankle. Simply sow down the drop to make a tube.
Kisaly: this is a piece of material of the same cloth 2 metres by 2 metres.
Choice of material
Lambas tend to be made out of 2 types of material – neither of which I have precise information on (maybe a reader can help here).
One is close to cotton and is thus not transparent.
The other is more transparent and very soft. It’s closest to a transparent sarong or scarf but has a bit of weight to it so it hangs well but is still breathable.
Wearing the lamba
To wear around the chest, step inside the tube of the lamba oany and hold it wide at the top between both hands. Then fold it around you like a towel – taking each hand under the opposite armpit. Many women just manage to tuck it in – you can also tie a knot in the ends at the middle of your chest and then cover the knot by pulling a bit of fabric over it.
To wear around the waist just wrap it round and tuck it in. Any way you manage to keep the lamba staying put is acceptable – and will be slightly different depending on the shape of your body.
The kisaly can be wrapped around the head in any way you like, or draped around the shoulders.
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