Sarongs are many things to many people. It is a dress, a wrap, a style, exotic, flirtatios, ethnic and fun. Throughout history the world has known the sarong by different names as well.
For instance, the Polynesians from the South Pacific islands of Tahiti and Hawaii call sarongs, "Pareos", in the Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia , Thailand, Malyasia, and the Phillipines it's called a "Surong", in India a similar garment is named "Sri" and Africa they call it a "Kanga". In ancient times of Rome and Greece it was named a "Toga." The most popular name is none of the above; the Sarong that was made famous by Dorothy Lamour!
Men and women can and do wear Sarongs but women are more likely to use them. Men think the name and the floral prints are too feminine but if you can wear an Hawaiian Shirt you can wear a Sarong. Pick a different name if you wish.
Many women fear the Sarong thinking it is too difficult to tie, it might show too much or won't look good on them. All of these can be true but do not have to be.
How to Make a Sarong
Generally speaking Long Sarongs that measure 44 inches x 72 inches can be tied at the neck or at the hip but there is less material if you have a Short Sarong that measure 24 inches x 72 inches. These measures are popular but may not fit all people at all ages. As it is a rectangular piece of hemmed cloth it is easy to make so you can adjust to your needs.
Sarongs are usually hemmed but may also have fringes.
How to Tie a Sarong
There are many ways to wear a sarong but mostly they are variations on tieing it around your waist, tieing in around your body under your arms and tieing it
Most good, lightweight fabrics will allow you to adjust the length for a variety of looks without adding bulk.
To Make a Short Sarong from a Long Sarong fold your sarong in half from top to bottom before tying, then tie.
To wear your Sarong as a Skirt:
Wear your sarong over stretchy shorts or leotard tights and leave the gap open for a sleek & stylish look!
Wear your sarong over a simple plain tank dress to create a beautiful new look. This look is very chic anytime!
To wear it strapless or as a Wrap dress, wrap the sarong above breasts and tie. You can wear this style with gap open over swimwear or pin on inside with a few safety pins to secure.
To wear it tied at the shoulder, wrap the sarong above breasts ending with each hand holding an end in front of you. Pull one end under either arm and around back and over opposite shoulder. Pull the end in front of you up to tie at the top of the shoulder.
To wear it as a halter, let it hang down the front while taking the top two ends and tieing them behind your neck. Pull the bottom hem through your legs and pull ends up to waist to tie accross front.
To shorten into a Top:
simply adjust length by folding down before tying.
There are other ways to wear your sarong as well.
To wear your Sarong as a Headband or Hatband:
Fold your sarong into a 2"-3" strip (widthwise) wrap around a hat or head and knot ends.
To wear your Sarong as a Scarf or Shawl:
Drape over shoulders/neck & go!
To use as a Turban
Take hold of the sarong just behind your head on each side.
Push hands together and pull tightly across the front of your head.
Put both sides in one hand and twist tightly until all the material is twisted. It will be a conical twist, thicker at the nape of your neck then pointed at the end.
Wrap around your head then tuck the end under the start of the wrap and let it hang down your neck.
To display your Sarong as a Wall Hanging or Tablecloth:
Just hang on wall or drape over a table!
To use your sarong as a beach throw:
Spread your sarong open on the sand and Presto!
How To Care For Your Sarongs
In order to preserve the beautiful colors and fringe of your sarong, it is always best to hand wash separately in cool water using light soap then rinse and line dry. Old fashioned folding/drying racks work great when set up in your bath tub and you can dry up to 4 sarongs at a time. Once dry, you can press with cool iron if you like, but it's usually not necessary. Some bleeding over of the base color is normal, so don't worry, just make sure you wash it separately.
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© HWS, 2004