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Loincloth/kilt (?) Pattern
My wife has made me three loincloths, one in linen and one each in green- and blue- silk. They're basically one strip of cloth, with arcs cut out of each side so that it narrows where it will pass between the legs. They have a ribbon of the same material attached at the rear. This runs round the waist to tie at the front. There is enough material above it at front and rear to fold down over the ribbon. They are pretty skimpy :oops: but they do hold me in quite nicely; I've worn them during combat and never had the kind of discomfort I got from y-fronts as a boy. Sad
Salvete Omnes,

After being a member here for a while and more or less just reading, I'm here for my first post now.

I'm too, like many others here, in a reenactor group and one of our guys tried to make a subligaculum himself. By coincedence he found out that he'd done it exactly the same way as it was shown in a book about Greek clothing. Basically it's the way as paulaallen described it.

Unfortunately I don't know the title of the book and neither have it at hand, so I can't scan in the picutre.
I just got a picture from the Ludus in Los Angeles, showing what they use. As previously described, it's an hourglass or figure 8 shape, but made by cutting away cloth in the center. If that were done with coarser woven materials, fraying would gradually erode the cloth...until there was no crotch cover, more or less.

I'm wondering, based on what seems to be the tendency in the ancient world toward making clothing with rectangular pieces whenever possible, presumably to lessen the need for sewing and hemming, if the strip of cloth would be just a flat-twisted strip of cloth, making the under-leg part be just several layers thick? By measuring me (6ft tall, 220lb or 1.8m 100kg) the cloth should be about 1.8m long by .8m wide (70" x 32") I'm going to try it and get back to you.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
This is just a theory...take large square of material...fold diagonally to make triangle..hold behind back...tie two ends in front...bring third corner up between legs..pull through behind knot...leave to dangle in front...
(Must have been really bored today at work to sit & work that one out...)
That might work, Falco, but wouldn't give a "flap" in the back, the way some had. And it would be a big piece of cloth, with lots of extra. To get enough to start at the waist in the back and have the triangle reach all the way between the legs, and have a flap in the front that works out to around 20" long, the corners would have to wrap around the body more than once. Not saying that wouldn't work, just it's a lot farther from the back waist to the front waist and down below the crotch than I thought.

Likewise, that would give a front flap of two layers thick. I don't know if the originals looked like that or like the picture below. Can't say. I'm not quite that old

Here's the picture from my buds in California:
[Image: subligaculum2.jpg]

You can find their group at
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
Valid points...I was trying to work out a self-supporting pattern,from a basic rectangle shape(& assuming linen as the material)....
Avete, and thanks to David for the plug! Here's the text included with the above photo, as well as a few others:

This Gladiator subligacum was designed by Linda Satorius, based off of multiple depictions. I hand-sewed the thing out of white linen, which I later dyed woad blue.

In the right photo, Pulcher/Tauros is shown standing above it as it would be put on the body: basically, you'd step over it, lining the narrow portion up with your crotch, then pull the front and back up snugly (much easier to do with a second person). The front and back will extend up to your neck. A second person then wraps a cloth belt around your waist (NOT your hips!), somewhat above where the naval is. Once that's tied, you then drop the front and back over the cloth belt (could be leather), which results in a drape over the front and uttocks areas. There should be enough material that the front and back flaps should overlap a bit... I overlap the front over the back, either way should be fine. Almost done: now you wrap a much larger (and perhaps more ornate) belt around your waist. If it's made properly, it should be leather (or Samnitesque brass), and it should be solid in front, securing in the back.

[Image: gladsubl.jpg]

Below are pics of how it looks in action (back in 2004). We both incorrectly have legionary belts on (all we had at the time), which are much too thin. The subli. I'm wearing (blue) is too long in back, while the one my pal Dio is wearing is too short in back. Nevertheless, these problems are easily rectified. Especially if the garment is too long: simply move the cloth under-belt up higher on the waist, and the flaps will raise up an equal amount. Or have someone cut it to your particular taste once you have it on. And there are shots of gladiators with the back flap almost non-existent, as seen here.
[Image: gladsubl2a.jpg]

Another method is the so-called wrap, which would be worn with a modern underwear/Speedo of a similar color. This method I learned at the Collegium Gladiatorium, and it is now the method I prefer. This method may be less accurate historically, although even that is debateable (the Egyptians used them often), but certainly looks much closer to what's in evidence. Additionally, you don't have to worry about your genitles spilling out at an inappropriate time to horrify (or impress) the crowds, as you do with the other method. Apologies for the bad photo, had to take it in a mirror:
[Image: valeriusglad3.jpg]

However you make it, a key aspect is tha the come up above the naval, which feels awkward until you get used to it. It will require patience and multiple adjustments before it looks like you want it to. Still, it's well worth the effort, as gladiatorial combat in a tunica just isn't the same visually. Good luck!

Jim / Valerius
Well, we tried ten different variations on the twist, fold, gather methods and a couple of others, and the final plan looks almost identical to what Jim Valerius sent from Ludus LA. So there ya go. There's a slightly different idea, though, from another source, and that is that they just bunched up all that cloth in the crotch. I tried it. It works, but it's weird. I like the trimmed away center. So after all the experimentation, cut up strange shapes of cloth, we did what we were told in the first place. Ok?

Here's what we came up with. Men, put on a belt around your belly about two inches above the navel (Women, you should probably use your natural waistline). Measure down from there how far you want the tip of the front triangle to hang. Write that down. Get someone to measure down about the same distance in the back. It may not be the same number. Write it down. Now, measure from the center front of the belt down under the crotch and back up to the belt. Write that down, too. You'll need a length of cloth the sum of those three numbers, as wide as the measurement of the width of the back.

For the width of the back, it's your waist measurement at the belt minus about three inches. For the front, it's about half your waist measurement. We decided to over lap the front over the back.

We made the crotch width about ten inches (25 cm) Then cut a smooth curve down from the back fold to the ten inch wide line at the center, and back out to the edge of the waist. This is more easily done by folding the cloth on the midline, and using a chalk or removable pencil. Cut both edges at once. Hem. Turn edges under again, and hem again. (Capturing the raw edge of the material, so it won't fray. This makes the crotch more like 8 inches (20 cm)

Now what we did that was a little different was this. We took some of the cut off, cut it in a strip about 2 inches wide (5 cm), and about a waist measurement long. Then fold in the edges to the center line. Then fold in the center. This should give you about a half inch wide (12mm) strip. Sew down the open edge. Sew these strips onto the back section, one on each side at the fold line to make a soft belt.

Spread out the garment on the floor, and stand over it. Take the front bottom edge and grip it in your teeth. Lift the belts up, cross in the front, over the cloth, and tie under the flap in the back. Then drop the front and adjust. Ready for the fancy leather belt.

Weird garment. But it works. Thanks, Jim V for the idea. And a tip of the subligaculum to all who helped us figure this out, from the original designer lady on down to lil' old me. Anyhow, it's easier to do than to write about.

PS Jim, I really like the Ghost Bird blazon on those gladiator scuta. Mind If it copy it?
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
Please do, but you're going kill me when I tell you what the "ghost bird" really is: We had just gotten those shields from Deepeeka, and as usual, they came with the standard Leg XIIII (?) design. Well, we can't have slaves fighting with legitimate army equipment, I thought. So I slopped white primer all over the wings and lightning, intending to just make them all red later on. But time ran out and... :lol:

BTW, thank you for your wonderful "simply sew the under-belt to the garment itself" idea... brilliant! We'll incorporate that into our new ones.

The Ghost Bird School (just outside the city walls, to the north)
I just made a subligaculum after the pattern find in the book by Susanna Shadrake. One picture shows the thing folded out on the floor. The other one how I tied the knot so it doesn't become to thick. I just made one knot and then twisted the ends in the opposite direction and then tucking them under the material. And the last one is just me wearing the thing, also taken in a mirror. So you dudes have something to laugh :lol: Now I'm working the fringes to make it look nicer.

Sorry, but it doesn't put the pics in the right order I attached them but exactly the opposite way around. Sad
That's the other design we looked at, mentioned above. Isn't it uncomfortable to have all that fabric bunched up under? I thought it was, so we trimmed out the middle. Nice belt!

We like that cloth belt, too, that way, even if somehow the regular belt comes untied, you don't get naked all of a sudden. We don't want to scare the children.

I knew that about the Ghostbirds...just being an "asinus sapiens" as usual. :lol:
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
Salve Demertri,

That's the other design we looked at, mentioned above. Isn't it uncomfortable to have all that fabric bunched up under? I thought it was, so we trimmed out the middle. Nice belt!

Actually it gives a more dressed feeling with all that fabric bunched up under even though I'm still wearing sports underwear beneath it. I feel very comfortable wearing that thing.

The belt is from Deepeeka I guess, bought it at a German mailorder store. There it was declared as a belt for centurions but goes fine as a gladiators balteus, I think. Of course it needed to be cut to my size though meaning I had to take two of those decorative plates off.
I'm pretty new here but I've stumbled upon this thread. Why not wear two subligaculums - one right way forwards and then tie another one backwards and then wear the belt over top of them? Or maybe if you want just one subligaculum, make one that's one long rectangle with the triangles dead center on the fabric? That way you get some over hang at the front that we're all used to and an additional over hang or rear flap at the back
I'm trying to figure out various ways of the subligaculum esp. when considering that most probably there weren't any patterns like we are used to nowadays but that most pieces of clothing were made out of rectangular pieces of cloth (in order to safe cloth and not lose anything by cutting it away).

I came across this instruction of how to wrap a rectangular piece of cloth around yourself (it's in German though):

Considering that the puppet should wear a piece of underwear which of course sits more tight (hence less material) but that a gladiator wears the subligaculum not under another piece of clothing but as the only piece of clothing you would need more material. Then it might be too bulgy between the legs. I haven't tried it out yet.

I had also tried out a pattern as was posted by TR M VALERIVS but with straps attached where the material is the widest. I didn't like it though, don't feel comfortable in it, it's a nuisance to take it back on after being to the bathroom and also I felt like wearing a dress/skirt for the beach. So I still feel most comfortable with the Shadrake pattern.

I post two pics: the bright blue is the pattern after TR M VALERIVS and the blue-grey one after Shadrake. Although my butt doesn't look too favorable in the Shadrake pattern it's still more comfortable (at least to me).

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