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Madagascar Lamba Costume


costume_lambaTraditional dress in Madagascar is to wear a “lamba”. Which is two matching pieces of fabric that women wear – one around the waist or chest and one around the head or shoulders.

You need:

  • 2-3 Yards of Fabric
  • Scissors
  • 2 yards x 18″ of Fabric for headwrap


You can use old sheets. We found our fabric in the clearance section of our local fabric store. Cut a piece of fabric long enough to reach from armpits to ankles. 1.5 yard – 2 yards wide. . If you don’t have enough fabric, you can wrap around the waist to the ankles. Traditionally, sides are sewn together to make a large tube to step into. Or you can gather and knot or tuck in like a towel making pleats under the armpits. We skipped the sewing part and just wrapped it like a towel, making pleats so it does not fit too tightly.

The second piece should be about 2 yards x 1 yard but we skimped a bit on the size. It can be worn like a shawl or wrapped around the head. Here is one way to make a head wrap but you can wear it any way that works for you.

head_wrap_stepsHow to Make a Head Wrap
Many women around the world wear head wraps. In Madagascar a piece of fabric called a Kisaly is wrapped around the head or worn over the shoulders.

  1. Place the fabric over the top of your head. Make one side 1′ longer than the other.
  2. Bring both sides behind your head, crossing at the back of the neck and over your shoulders to your front.
  3. Twist the longer side, bringing it up and over the top of your head.
  4. Tie both sides together.

Wrap ends around your head and tuck in.

head_wrap head_wrap_side

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