Sarong Samarinda – The craft of Samarinda sarong weaving was originally brought by Bugis migrants from Sulawesi who lived on the coast of the Mahakam River, to be precise in Kampung Pamanah, Gang Pertenunan, Samarinda Seberang. Being far from their ancestral lands does not make Bugis women forget their traditions. While waiting for their husbands to come home from work and look after their children, they take advantage of their time weaving sarongs. The plaid sarong they made actually attracted people’s attention to buy it.

The craftsmen know two techniques in weaving the Samarinda sarong, namely by using a non-machine weaving tool (ATBM) and in a traditional way called walida. These immigrant craftsmen are said to be very skilled in weaving cloth. Making one sarong from raw materials takes about one week. Meanwhile, the weaving process takes about three days.

The distinctive feature of the Samarinda sarong is its raw material which uses silk which is specially imported from China. Before weaving, silk raw material still has to undergo several processes to make it strong when spun. The first process is to immerse the raw materials in water for three days. After that it is cooked in a mixture of water and dye until it boils for about two hours. Then the raw material is washed clean and immediately served. After being skewered, squeezed, and dried in the sun to dry, then the raw material can be spun into silk weaving threads. To get good results, spinning should be done as smoothly as possible.

A sarong produced by a craftsman is usually 80 centimeters wide and 2 meters long. With such a large glove size there must be a seam in the middle that is made by hand. The original sarong is never joined using a sewing machine. This is one way to distinguish real fabric from fake or factory-made machines.

Another difference is that the original fabric or the one made with ATBM usually feels a little rough but cool when worn. Fake fabric feels smooth but feels hot when used. While the original sarong made with the walida technique is smooth and feels cool to wear.

If you want to be more certain about the real and fake sarongs, pull out a thread of the sarong and burn it. If the burned thread turns into rubber, it means that it is the original sarong that uses silk thread. But if the burned thread turned to ashes, the sheath must have been made of cheap cotton thread. Buyers do have to be careful when buying Samarinda Sarong because there are so many fake sarongs in circulation.

Now there are dozens of weavers’ villages located in nearby alleys. The names of the villages vary according to the village they came from in Sulawesi. There are Wajo Village, Senglang, Sidrap. Meanwhile, a number of galleries, shops and cooperatives have sprung up selling the handicrafts of Samarinda Sarong weaving along the Samarinda highway.

If you walk down the weaving alleys, spinning and weaving machines will be seen on the front yards of residents’ houses. Meanwhile, on the side and overhang of the house, the sarong, which was still wet with starch, was drying. The use of starch serves to make the sarong look new and durable.

If you want to have the original Samarinda Sarong, you should buy it directly or order it at several souvenir places in Samarinda. The price of the Samarinda sarong ranges from Rp. 150,000 to Rp. 250,000. [TimIndonesiaExploride / IndonesiaKaya]

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