Isishweshwe has a distinctive prewash stiffness and smell which is very much part of its appeal and popularity. During the long sea voyage from the UK to South Africa, starch was used to preserve the fabric and this gave it its characteristic stiffness. After washing, the stiffness disappears to leave behind a beautiful soft cotton fabric. Apparently at one stage the fabric was no longer starched but when sales dropped, it was reintroduced.
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