Sep 2, 2020

I wrote several months ago about missing dressing up for work and how clothes have the transformative power to make a person feel differently amid a pandemic. But the truth is, I hardly really wear “outside” clothes. Pambahay clothes have been my go-to lately. Empowerment through clothing be damned. Comfort, on the other hand, when lounging at home, is king.

My colleague Nimu would attest to the life-changing magic of switching to katsa clothes. Hers is a daster from Craftcha.

[READ: What’s making me happy: Plants, ceramic wares, katsa daster and making concrete pots]

Loose cotton T-shirts, and breathable shorts are my WFH staples. It’s either a very freeing pair of running shorts or a really comfy pair of shorts made of katsa or flour sack that I bought last year from a bazaar. They’re surprisingly light to wear—as in sometimes it feels like wearing nothing. It doesn’t restrict movement either because the shorts are constructed with wider leg space. And the fabric is just soft enough to brush against your skin without an itchy feeling. After all, this is the same cloth mothers use to make lampin for babies.

Me in my Craftcha shorts. Did I lie when I said the shorts were made with *wide* leg holes?

Of course, there is also the upside of upcycling materials after their intended use. Bakeries sell these spare sacks for cheap where I come from and crafty sastres make tote and laundry bags, home accessories such as oven mitts and potholders among other things out of it.

On Instagram, homegrown brands are also utilizing this material to make clothes. Here are some of them.



Other than clothes (mostly bottoms and dresses), this bazaar fixture began with selling items for the home like refrigerator covers, bedsheets, aprons and those hand towels attached to the ref handle.

Since I first encountered them last year, its proprietor, a self-taught seamstress, has already added some wearable pieces like a polo top and dainty dresses. They’re available to order online through Instagram and Facebook.


And Again Clothing

The pieces sold by this brand are more on contemporary silhouettes, like kimono-inspired robes, bowler shirts and pleated skirts.

To make each piece more unique than other flour sack creations, the fabrics are also dyed and sometimes sewn with other material like denim.

To shop, visit their website.



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FLOUR SACK CLOTHING: Bringing a traditional Filipino practice to the present and the future Inspired partially by the challenge of our current situation, we created an environmentally conscious clothing line. At AraPilak, we’re committed to sustainable practices. When we were just starting, we sold a few bamboo straws. From there, we began to explore and offer more alternative products to those who want to lessen their carbon footprint. Today, for almost 3 years since we started this company, we’re very excited to share with you our newest collection of sustainable clothing line that features flour sacks as clothing wear. The use of flour sack to make clothing is nothing new. In the Philippines, resourceful women, especially in the barrios who had limited resources used flour sacks or “katsa” to make everything from bibs, cloth diapers, handkerchiefs, skirts, blouses and curtains. Sadly, this ingenious practice is no longer as widespread as it was just a few decades ago. This is what prompted us to launch Ba’law (Cuyonon word for awareness) Clothing by AraPilak. We want to bring back this beautiful Filipino custom that makes wise use of whatever is available to us. After all, perhaps this is one of the most valuable lessons we can learn from this pandemic.

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Based in Palawan, this sustainability-driven label is the latest to launch flour sack creations. They aim to rekindle an interest in using katsa in making everyday clothes among Filipinos. Their designs so far include gender-neutral shirts, crop tops, wrap dresses and skirts. Send them a direct message on their social media pages to order.


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Read more:

4 shops where you can buy upcycled clothes

LOOK: Campaign materials upcycled into bags, school supplies

LOOK: Iconic chairs get refurbished with upcycled plastic from displaced Taal residents

TAGS: and again clothing arapilak craftcha flour sack katsa online upcycled clothes