Source? It was part of the McAnerin costume
Significance? It was a handy way to carry things
She felt in her sash for her knife with the idea of assisting the hound, but her fingers closed on an empty fold of cloth.
Allyso Tormblood was having a very bad time. Her uncle and her friends were all dead and she was on the run with a hound that wasn’t hers, a knife one of her friends had given her and very little else. She’d put the knife in her sash, but obviously her exertions had dislodged it.
Later when she seriously needed somewhere to stash something she didn’t even have her sash because Master Wootton, the Seer, had decreed she had to leave everything behind when she went to talk to him. It must have been like those exams where everything is provided and you can’t take anything with you, or a concert where you’re not allowed to take your own water bottle and the queues are a hundred people deep.
'I must talk to the seer,' she said again.
'Right.' Leonard pointed at a cleft in the rock. 'Go down the steps. There's a lamp at the foot; light it with the tinderthing. Take a tunic out of the coffer. Take off all your own things, and I mean everything. Every stitch, boots and all, hair ribbon, anklet, chains or beads or whatever you've got on. Put on a tunic, take the lamp and then start walking.'
‘But where do I find the seer?'
'He'll find you.'
She chose the most likely tunic and peeled off her own, laying it carefully in the coffer. Shivering, she put on the new one and tugged it into place, lifting her hair free of the collar. The skimpy garment left her arms bare to the shoulder and barely reached her knees. She removed her boots and leggings, then felt for a sash or belt, but there was nothing.
…she must write a record of the meeting. She must write what Wootton had told her. It would not take long, for just a few lines would do. She could tuck it in her pack or under her sash and take it out when she reached the open air.
There was just one problem with this plan. Her pack and her sash were put away in a coffer.
She got it back, but not before she had a nasty experience… and once more she used it as a repository to stash her knife.
Some lived, more died, said Scholar's voice in her mind, but she stuffed the knife in her sash and trudged on.
Allyso’s sash might have been viewed as a curious container, but it was also legitimately an accessory. She used it normally to belt in her tunic for a better fit, as well as a kind of pouch to carry things. Writing this reminds me of the sashes we had when I was young. They were crisply-ironed wide strips of nylon or sometimes cotton or even satin and we used them to tie around the waist of a party dress. They were always tied in big butterfly bows. They weren’t attached to the dress in any way, so I suppose they might have been used for several different dresses, though most growing girls in the 1960s had one party frock. These had tight bodices and full skirts and to this day when I say the word frock that’s what I tend to visualise. I still think it’s one of the more becoming styles.