Viktorija Panovaite
Wearing tube sarong

Wearing tube sarong

Before knowing how to wrap, keep it on tube sarong (or “sarung” in Indonesian language) I think it’s good to know what it is :).

“Sarong” (means “scabbard” in Indonesian) is a large tube or length of fabric. Tube sarong often wrapped around the waist and worn mostly by men (sometimes and women) throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Many modern sarongs have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants.
Sarong denotes the lower garment worn by the Indonesian men. This consists of length of fabric about a yard (0.91 m) wide and two-and-a-half yards (2.3 m) long. In the center of this sheet, across the narrower width, a panel of contrasting color or pattern about one foot wide is woven or dyed into the fabric, which is known as the “kepala” (or “head”) of the sarong. This sheet is stitched at the narrower edges to form a tube.

So some practical information:

How men wearing tube sarong

In Java, most people now wear Western clothing. Traditional tube sarong is worn for ceremonies, for Friday prayers, and in its casual form, to relax at home. For casual and Friday wear the soft cotton tubular sarong is very cool and comfortable. Men wear them in plaids. The central Javanese courts of Solo and Yogyakarta are famed for their intricate batik “kain panjang” in fine cotton, with tiny pleats created with the loose front end piece of the cloth falling straight in front. Men wear tube sarong with a short jacket, often with gold trim and buttons.

It is common for the sarong to slip or loosen over time. When this happens, just open it up and refold/re-tighten it again.

How women wearing tube sarong

In Javanese culture, the wearing of batik tube sarong is not restricted to women on formal occasions such as weddings, common wear with a “kebaya” blouse. The style of the “kebaya” varies – there are gauze-fine ones with beautiful embroidery, or heavier ones with lacy cutouts. Older “kebaya” have no buttons; they were held closed by ornate gold or silver pins.
Women slipped into, pulled up to the waist or underarm, depending on whether one wants a skirt or the strapless look, and the top is carefully folded to cinch the sarong tightly around the body, then rolled down to secure. Traditionally these were worn as a strapless dress, with a “selendang”, or shoulder cloth, for formal occasions, or as a skirt, worn with or without a blouse. Today in some remote villages it’s still possible to find women pounding rice with only an old sarong tied around their waists, but they now usually pull the sarong up when they see foreigners. Formal dress today consists of a beautifully patterned sarong, worn with a fine blouse and “selendang”. Every day wear is often an old sarong with soft floral patterns and T-shirt.
Tubular sarongs are usually worn by older women; younger women prefer the more flattering fit of the tightly wrapped two or two-and-a-half meter “kain panjang” (literally “long cloth”).

If you want to wear tube sarong you should do the same like it’s written above (how to wear tube sarong for men). I wear at home my tube sarong in original way, shorter when it’s hot outside and like dress (very comfortable especially after the shower :)).

How to use tube sarong for other purpose

Indonesian man using tube sarong not only by original purpose but for other things as well. You can try it too, no matter if you are man or women ;).

After the trip to Sulawesi island, our guide showed other ways how people there use tube sarong for other purpose.

How to use tube sarong - pinterest
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you tried to use tube sarong? It was comfortable for you?
  • Would you like to buy a tube sarong like a souvenir from the trip in Southeast Asia?
  • Have you tried any other local clothes during your trips?

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Information used from Javanese people sharing and internet sources. Illustrations made by Hendra Arkan

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