Togas were garments worn exclusively by the ancient Romans. They were essentially long pieces of woolen or cotton cloth, about 20 feet in length, which were wrapped around the body, over a tunic worn underneath. Togas were worn by the upper or privileged classes, like businessmen or politicians. They were worn indoors and taken off when working or sleeping. Free citizens wore them as a sign of respect because slaves were allowed to wear only tunics, no togas. Over time, the use of the toga declined because it was cumbersome and got in the way of swift movements. Various other buttoned or closed cloaks were developed for regular use and the toga became a ceremonial dress. As togas are not worn by soldiers, the dress is considered a sign of peace. These are also used by people who claim to be descendants of Romanized Punics, such as the Arabized Berbers of Libya, a well- known user being the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. Today, togas are common not only in dedicated toga parties but also in general costume parties. Of course, nowadays bed sheets have replaced the traditional material used; such dressing is trendy and creative compared to the original toga. Scroll down to find out more on how to make them.
Toga Making Tips
You Will Need
- 10-12 meters of fabric of your choice – wool, silk, satin, cotton.
- Safety Pins – lots of them.
- An Inch Tape
- A Pair of Scissors
- Accessories such as gold belts, pom-poms and head bands.
- Inner wear such as tube tops/shorts.
- A lot of creativity!
Get four to six yards of cotton cloth. The fabric should be heavy enough to stay in place, but not so heavy that it restricts movement. You need fabric to wrap around the waist and still have enough to throw over the shoulder. Men’s togas are worn knee-length, so if the fabric is too broad, it can be folded in half, length-wise. You can wear gym shorts underneath. Pin one end of the fabric to the waist of your shorts and wrap the cloth around your body at least once and make sure that the cloth covers your knees. Pin the cloth again either to the left or right side. Throw the rest of the material over one shoulder; bring it around the back and under the arm, and you are all set for that toga-themed event!
You will need about six to eight yards of cotton fabric. Place the material underneath one arm and wrap the fabric twice around your body. Once you are tightly bound by the fabric, pin the fabric and twist the remaining material until the fabric looks like a tight rope. Wrap this knotty portion around your waist twice and, from the front of your waist, bring it up and wrap it around your neck like a halter top. Secure the other end of the fabric by knotting it with the first end. Tie the remaining material, if any, behind your waist in a knot. Wear this to a party and make some heads turn in this Greek-inspired toga with a modern twist.
Select a nice satin or silky, polyester fabric. The length should be 55 inches, and the width can be less than a yard (for a toga falling above the knees) or less than 2 yards (for one that is floor length). Wrap the fabric under your right (or left) arm and around your body, one and a half times. Wear a strapless top or slip underneath with shorts, and secure the toga to this attire with safety pins. With the remaining cloth, tie a regular knot just above your shoulder. Add a cape and a sash, and a single gold strap over the bare shoulder. If you want to add a little more ‘spunk’ to the attire, opt for a gold belt to be worn at the waist.
Togas For Children
Take four yards of light cotton/satin fabric and ensure it is well ironed to facilitate easy draping. Fold the toga in half width-wise, with the length still at four yards. Wrap the folded material around your child’s waist starting at the right hip. Pin the toga skirt or wrap a gold belt around the waist to keep the toga in place. Take the extra length of the material and drape it on the left shoulder. Glue pom-poms or other glittery material to the straps for a bolder look. Be creative and use a garland of flowers or leaves to adorn your kid’s head to complete the look.
Themed parties are still ‘in’ and the toga is fast catching up as favourite attire for such get-togethers. If you are looking for some fun, use a bedsheet to avoid additional expense. However, if you are serious about a proper toga, visit a cloth shop and buy the required material of your choice. Original togas were white, but feel free to experiment with colors. The sky is the limit for this one!