Sarongs are worn worldwide by men and women from all cultures and backgrounds. These days, sarongs can be mostly seen on beaches as cover-ups over swimwear. If you are interested in making yourself a sarong, it is crucial to know what type of material you should use or if you would like to buy a sarong, you may wonder what material is best suited for the purpose you need it for.
Sarongs are made from various materials, but the most commonly used materials are cotton, silk, rayon, and polyester. The material you choose depends on the occasion and climate in which you plan to wear the sarong. Flowy materials make the best sarongs.
One of the primary purposes of wearing a sarong is to feel comfortable and stylish simultaneously. Although the materials mentioned can all be used to make a sarong, they all have advantages and drawbacks, which must be carefully thought out when deciding on your sarong material.
Best Materials For Sarongs
Sarongs can be made using any material that is flowy and draping. The most popular materials are cotton, silk, rayon, and polyester, all of which are light and breezy. One should avoid materials like organza as they are stiff and do not drape well.
The Benefits Of Making Sarongs From Rayon
The qualities of rayon, also called viscose, make it a perfect material to make sarongs from; it is breathable, easy to drape, dyeable, durable, and inexpensive. One of the reasons why rayon is popular as a material for making sarongs is because it is easily acquired in Indonesia, one of the countries where sarongs are worn daily by men, women, and children.
Traditionally, Indonesians wore cotton sarongs, but since rayon has come into the market, it has become the preferred choice of material for local needs as it is less expensive than cotton or silk, even though it is very similar to cotton.
The sarongs made and worn in Indonesia caught the eyes of the founder of “From Bali to US” and she saw a gap to import these sarongs and introduce the American market to it. She imports not only sarongs but also other traditional Indonesian products.
Rayon is more absorbent than cotton, which is perfect when wearing it at the beach. It is not prone to building up static electricity, which is preferred for skirts because you don’t want it clinging to your skin.
While rayon is a great choice to make sarongs from, it is not as durable as other materials, and when washing it in the washing machine, it may stretch, shrink or stain other clothing. Rayon sarongs should rather be hand-washed to make the sarong last as long as possible.
Rayon wrinkles quite quickly, and when ironing, it can cause damage to the fabric. Ironing the inside of the material will prevent damaging it.
Beautiful Traditional Cotton Sarongs
Cotton is traditionally the most popular material used to make sarongs. Another name for 100% cotton sarongs is “batik.” These sarongs make up the traditional clothing of women in South East Asia. It has also become popular wear all over the world. Cotton sarongs are sometimes used for a dual purpose for beachgoers by wearing them as a cover-up and then as a blanket to sit on the beach.
Cotton sarongs are soft, warmer than other materials, and moisture absorbent, making them the perfect material to wear in any season. Besides rayon, cotton is more durable and thus also easier to wash. It can be machine washed, but put it with the same color clothing and use cold water. After a wash, avoid squeezing it dry as that will cause a lot of wrinkles.
Cotton is prone to shrinking when exposed to water and when you place it in a dryer, it keeps the shrunken size, so always dry your cotton sarong under low heat.
Since cotton is similar to other materials, there is a way to test if your sarong is from cotton. Scrape the fabric with your fingernail; if the threads separate, the sarong may be from other materials or low-grade cotton.
Silky Sarongs For A Classic Look
Silk can also be used as a material to make sarongs from, but bear in mind that it may be more expensive than any other options. Silk is a popular material to make sarongs from because it is lightweight and easy to color. The shiny, sleek material also makes for a more elegant look.
Sarongs that are purely made from silk can, unfortunately, snag, ladder, and tear quite easily, but if other materials are added to the silk, it may strengthen the cloth and prevent this from happening.
Silk sarongs can be washed in a washing machine but put in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to avoid any snags. Alternatively, hand-wash it in cold to lukewarm water.
Silk is a very versatile material, and there are quite a few variations of silk. The best silk type for a sarong is lightweight satin, called charmeuse. Charmeuse is best for sarong use as it is easy to drape and can make a beautiful flowy sarong.
Alternatively, silk chiffon can also be used. Silk chiffon is ultimately see-through and will only be appropriate over swimwear. Still, any water would leave a visible spot on the material, making it quite impractical.
Inexpensive Sarongs From Polyester
Polyester is a material that is widely used to make not only sarongs but also modern skirts. One of the main reasons polyester became popular was that it is the one material that barely wrinkles and is machine washable. It is also low in cost compared to other materials used to make sarongs, making it one of the preferred materials.
Polyester also dries more quickly than any other materials mentioned to make sarongs, which is perfect for people who want to wear sarongs to the beach over swimwear. Polyester is a very light and soft material which are characteristics needed for a sarong. It is also a solid and long-lasting material, which keeps its shape for a long time.
Despite all the benefits mentioned, there are claims that polyester is not an environmentally friendly material as it is made through a chemical process using coal, oil, air, and water.
Polyester is also not bio-degradable, which means when you throw it away, it won’t disintegrate into the earth like other materials. Because of how polyester is made, it may cause adverse skin conditions in people with sensitive skin. Thus, it is better not to make or purchase a sarong from polyester if this concerns you.
Sarongs are one of the most versatile garments known to humanity and are used in multiple cultures of all ages for different purposes. Sarongs are worn from the beach to weddings, used as skirts or even blankets. Rayon, cotton, silk, and polyester are just a few materials that sarongs can be made of. Still, the best material for a sarong depends mainly on the sarong’s purpose for personal use.