Paul grew up in an upper-class, Christian family. He was well educated, fluent in Greek and Egyptian. His parents died when the boy was 15. When the persecutions of Decius began a few years later, Paul fled into the desert to escape both them, and the machinations of his brother Peter and other family members who wanted his property.
St. Paul was not a weaver by trade, but out of necessity. After escaping persecution in Thebes he moved to the Egyptian desert where he lived, according to his hagiography, to the ripe old age of 113. It was in the desert that Paul took up weaving.
His only clothing was a tunic “which after the manner of wicker-work the saint had woven out of palm-leaves.” This woven tunic, along with his other attributes, is one of the primary ways to identify images of St. Paul.
When Paul died his burial was overseen by his friend and fellow hermit St. Anthony the Great. In honor of St. Paul, St. Anthony kept the palm-leaf tunic and wore it every Easter and Pentecost thereafter.
~ Thanks to Christina Garton, Weaving Today