How to make a toga

By Ryan Walters
Info Guru,

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guy wrapped in a  toga
Contrary to popular opinion, sheets are not the best option mainly because they are more expensive than using a good quality piece of material.
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It's easy to learn how to make a toga

Toga gurus have the following important advice if you are going to make a toga (for whatever reason): Don't leave it to the last minute and don't use a bed sheet.

But first, a little toga background so you can at least appear to be knowledgeable when you attend a toga party. Then we'll teach you how to make a toga.

The toga, which seems to have been Etruscan in origin, was the only garment worn by the ancient Romans and was a mark of citizenship. Those worn by magistrates and boys had a purple band round the edge. This garment, called the toga praetexta, was worn by boys up to the age of sixteen, when they took on the plain white toga of manhood. 

During the Empire people began to find the toga inconvenient, and gave it up except for special ceremonial occasions, or at the Senate. In it's place they wore the pallium, a light-weight cloak draped over the tunic. The tunic itself became the outer garment, and was put on over an undertunic, often called a camisia (from which the words "chemise" and "camisole" come). The tunic might have sewn sleeves attached to it. As a result of foreign influences, particularly from Gaul, some people began to adopt narrow breeches, a heavy cloak called a paenula, made of thick natural wool or leather, and the caracalla, a cloak with a hood attached.

Women also wore a long tunic, the stola, over an under-tunic tied in at the waist. When they went out they also put on a draped mantle, like a shawl, the palla. Unlike men, women could wear clothes dyed in bright colors.

The Romans did not have the kind of underclothes we are familiar with - pants, vests and socks. The only undergarment worn by both sexes was a tunic, knee-length for men, ankle-length for girls and women. In the early days of the Republic men just wore a loin-cloth under their toga.

Please note: We do not suggest that you revert to the early days of the Republic when it comes to what to wear underneath your toga. Wear whatever you want on top; for example, a T-shirt, a bathing suit top or a sleeveless tank is fine. Shorts or a bathing suit is fine for your lower half.

Now, the simple steps on how to make a toga:

Buy or find 4 or 5 yards of a good quality piece of material not necessarily white, it takes about three feet to go around your waist, and you need to wrap it at least 1.5 times around your waist before you throw the remainder over your shoulder (either shoulder). Then bring the fabric back to the waist, and tie it up or wrap it some more or whatever. Women will (possibly) want to tie the fabric carefully to preserve modesty (or not) around the bust area. Fact: In ancient times they wore vest-like under-shirts underneath the toga wrap meaning bare shoulders were a myth.

MALE Around the waist at least once Pin it at that point Throw the rest over one shoulder Around the back Pin it again at the waist. Wear shorts underneath

FEMALE Add to the basic wrap design small horizontal bands (leather, chain) accentuating waist and bust line.

ACCESSORIES! A good looking toga is one with excellent costume accessories: a sword, gold chains, amulets and jewelry. Experiment with different materials, if you like. Upper arm bangles and/or laurel wreaths can also be nice additions to your costume. This is what really can make the toga. Guys, find some swords, fake preferably at the toy store Lots of gold chains, amulets, jewelry, etc., you get the idea.

HEADWEAR Make a laurel using a wire coat hanger, shape it into a circle (to fit on your head) Then attach plastic (or real) leaves and wrap it around the wire hanger.

FOOTWEAR Wrap or gladiator sandals or thongs (for both men and women) are authentic footwear to complete your toga outfit.

A very important warning:

Experiment with your fasteners. You don't want to lose your toga in the middle of your speech, do you? Or, at any other time for that matter.

Now that you know how to make a toga, go for it. Enjoy the party! To make the event more memorable, you can get everyone to play differnet games, like a huge scavenger hunt!

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