The lavalava, sometimes called a sarong, is a traditional piece of clothing worn by people native to the Pacific islands. The clothing is a simple piece of cloth without buckles or attachments. The cloth is wrapped and tied to resemble a skirt or dress. The method of tying varies slightly depending on the culture and individual preference but the overall process remains straightforward. The cloth must be tied tightly to prevent loosening throughout the day.
Grab each end of the cloth and center it around the backside of your waist. Spread your arms to find a comfortable position and hold the front of the cloth in an open position.
Wrap the cloth around the front of your waist by bringing your left hand to your right hip. Hold the cloth tight against the hip and do not release any tension.
Bring your right arm across to your left hip to secure the initial wrap with pressure from the cloth. Make this second wrap slightly lower on your hip than the initial wrap. The resulting flap of exposed fabric is necessary to tie the cloth.
Grab the unsecured end of the cloth with both hands. Fold the end of the cloth inward to create an edge that is close to the overlap on your right hip. Hold the folded end of the cloth with one hand and grab the opposite end from the initial wrap with your other hand.
Twist the two ends to secure the fabric tightly around the waist. Tuck one end of the fabric inside the cloth and against your hip. Tuck the other end of the fabric between the two fabric layers. Fold the entire knot against your hip. The tension holds the fabric in place.
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- Tie the lavalava around the chest for girls and around the waist for boys. Girls may also tie it around the waist as a skirt while wearing a separate top. Practice tying the lavalava until you are efficient. Tying the cloth typically requires several attempts before you are successful.
- Wear an undergarment beneath the lavalava so if the knot fails in public you will not be fully exposed.
Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.