Loincloths have been a basic item of wearing apparel for men and boys since ancient times. Though rarely worn anymore in the post-industrial West except as part of a costume or occasionally as underwear, loincloths are still found in traditional cultures from Asia to the Amazon. They were once part of the traditional dress of some Native American tribes as well, although modern tribal members rarely wear them. Though there are many varieties, the simplest use a single long rectangle of cloth, which resembles a scarf. Two examples that can be made with a scarf are the loincloth of Borneo and the Native American breechcloth or breechlout.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Borneo loincloth:
- Scarf made of a sturdy, opaque material, approximately 10 inches wide and 10 to 12 feet long
- Native American breechcloth:
- Scarf made of a sturdy, opaque material, approximately 10 inches wide and 6 to 8 feet long
- Belting material, such as sturdy twine, a shorter scarf or a wrap belt, long enough to be secured around the waist
Hold one end of the scarf to your chin and pass the other end of the scarf between your legs toward the back.
Bring the back end of the scarf forward and to the right so it passes around your waist from right to left and around to the back. Wind the scarf around your waist several more times, going in the same direction, until the waist feels secure. Once the waist is secure, hold the remaining back portion of scarf in the back and let the front piece drop to form an apron.
Form a loop with the remaining cloth at the back. Bring this loop through the portion of cloth that originally passed through your legs, and tug the loop upward until it is secure. Let the remaining end of the scarf drop in the back. You will have a small loop resembling a knot at the base of your spine, and a "tail" of scarf falling down your backside.
Tie the belting material around your waist. Make sure it is secure.
Pass a long scarf through your legs, holding one end in front of you and one in back.
Tuck the front end of the long scarf up through the front of the belting material so the front of the breechcloth is secure and the front end of the scarf falls down from your waist like an apron.
Tuck the back end of the long scarf through the back of the belting material so the back of the breechcloth is secure and the back end of the scarf falls down your backside from your waist in a tail. Adjust the scarf ends in front and back so they are approximately even.
Native American Breechcloth
Tips and warnings
- For each version of the loincloth, the exact length of the scarf depends on your height and the tightness of the wrapped covering, so you may have to experiment with scarf lengths. You can also hem the scarf if it is too long.
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