How to Make Your Own Shemagh

Updated March 23, 2017

The shemagh is a traditional Arabian headdress that evolved from turbans; it is a simple wrap that is used in desert areas to protect the eyes, nose, neck and mouth. The shemagh is also known as a keffiyah, and doubles as a sweat mop and field towel. The wrap is currently being used by U.S. and British Forces in the Middle East and has also been adopted as an American fashion trend.

Purchase 3 yards of a cotton gauze fabric. You may be able to find the fabric as a prepackaged bolt. Make sure the fabric cut is at least 74-by-44-inches. Forty-four inches will provide enough width for the shemagh to be folded. The shemagh originates from Arabia and can be created with multiple or single coloured fabric; black, white and tan are popular colours.

Mark fabric. Take a yard stick and mark the fabric at every inch with a white fabric pencil. These marks will be the indicator points for you to tie knots in the fabric.

Use the scissors to fray the ends of the fabric. Make sure you fray the cut ends and create knots as close to the fabric as possible. The knots will add weight prevent your fabric from additional fraying.

Fold the fabric into a triangle and wrap around the back and over the top of your head. The folded edge should rest across your forehead; make sure that at least two-thirds of the material is on your left side. The fabric on your right should be long enough to come to your chest.

Use your left hand to grab the shemagh about 3 inches from the edge you have folded and allow the edge to hang forward.

Let go of the right end of the fabric. Use your left hand to hold the edge next to your left cheek. Take your right hand and lift the left end of the fabric across your face and over your nose.

Continue wrapping the shemagh around your head and face until the rest of the fabric hangs over your left shoulder. Take the right edge and hold it tightly so the fabric does not slip off your head as your wrap around.

Pull the shemagh as tight as you comfortably can. Locate the ends and tie in a knot. Using a square knot will adequately secure the fabric in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • White fabric pencil
  • Yard stick
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Kesha Ward has been a professional writer since 2010. With a Bachelor of Science in applied economics, she brings more than a decade of experience in public finance.