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:
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:
(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 ____________.
(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.
(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.
(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.