kid costumes · Kid's Sewing

Native American Costume (Breech Cloth or Loin Cloth)

Recently, a coworker asked me to make a loincloth as part of her son’s Native American costume for a 4th grade class assignment. Mom had already purchased a length of suede-like dressmaker fabric. Her son wanted a “REAL” loin cloth that tied at the sides – not like a skirt.  Some historical pictures of Native American costumes depict breech cloths as rather long, almost mid-calf length. For safety reasons, I opted to keep this one knee length.  I couldn’t find a tutorial online, so I thought I’d share how I made mine.  Construction time took about an hour.

Here are pictures of the finished project:

loincloth2

loincloth3

Fabric required:  3/4 yard  (You may need more or less depending on the size of your warrior.)

My student is nine years old.  Waist = 24″    Waist to mid-knee = 12″

Here’s how I made it:

Measure:

(M1) Measure student around the waist.  Divide this measurement in half.  Add 2″ to this measurement.  Record _________.

(M2)  Measure student from waist to about just above the knee.  Add 2″ to this measurement.  Record ____________.

Cut:

(1)  Cut two pieces of fabric M1 x M2.   (I cut two piece 14″ x 14″).

(2)  Cut two strips of fabric 2-1/2″ x WOF.

Sew:

(1)  Press under 1/2″ double hem on sides. Topstitch, using decorative stitch if desired.  I used stitch 57 on my Janome 6600.  Repeat for other panel.

(2)  Add 24″ to M1 measurement.  Trim 2-1/2″ wide strips to this length.

(3)  Press 2.5″ strips in half lengthwise (for the waistband & ties). Open and press raw edges so they meet at the fold line in the middle.  Fold again, enclosing the raw edges.  Press well.  Here’s a picture if you need a visual.

(4) Slide each loin cloth panel inside a waistband. Adjust so that loincloth is in the middle and ties are even on each side.  Pin in place and sew along edges using decorative stitch.

Fringe:

(1)  Measure up 3″ on each side from the bottom on each panel.  Either draw a line across at the 3″ mark or mark with a piece of painter’s tape.  Cut fringe in desired widths up to the marked line.  Remove tape and fluff.  Repeat for other panel.

Here’s a cute video of how to make a loincloth from a brown paper bag.

Adjustments I would make for the future:

Add 6″ to length and cut fringe strips about 3/8″ to 1/2″ wide.  Make the fringe 10″ long.  The original fringe was 3″ long and about 1/4″ wide.

Add 4-6″ to width to give a little extra room to fit over clothes.