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Sarongs, or lava-lavas as the Samoans call them, wrap around the body to create a dress or skirt for women and men. Handcrafted lava-lavas have material full of bright colors and original artwork so that each one is one of a kind. Tying the lava-lava is simple. However, if it is not wrapped and tied correctly, it may fall off, which could result in an embarrassing situation.

Wrapping a Dress

Open the lava-lava and locate the right side of the fabric, which will have bright, vivid colors, and the wrong side of the fabric, which is the opposite of the right side.

Hold the lava-lava by the corners behind your back with the wrong side of the fabric facing your back. The center of the lava-lava should fall just below the center of your shoulder blades.

Wrap the left corner inward so it goes under your right armpit. Tuck the corner behind your back and use your left hand to reach around your back and pull the corner upward, so the corner is behind your neck.

Wrap the right corner inward, under the left side of the lava-lava, and under your left armpit. Tuck the corner around your back and use your right hand to reach around your back and pull the corner upward.

Pull tightly on both corners to ensure a snug fit and tie just behind the neck. This method allows women to wear the dress over a swimsuit or as a dress.

Wrapping a Skirt

Hold the lava-lava in a similar fashion as the dress, with the wrong side of the fabric facing the lower back. Do not center the fabric; instead, hold one-quarter of the fabric to one side of your body and the other three-quarters of the fabric to the other side of the back of your body.

Wrap the long side of the fabric around your waist and back. The fabric should wrap completely around your body so the corner of the fabric is just at one of your hipbones.

Wrap the remaining short side around the front of your body and tie the two corners together to ensure a snug fit that will not fall down.


Accent a dress with jewelry and heels for a beachy night look. Fold the lava-lava in half when wrapping it around your waist for a short skirt. Hand wash your lava-lava to maintain the vivid colors and to prevent shrinkage.