How to Make Authentic Indian Clothing

By April Khan ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
Native American clothing

Native American clothing differs according to tribe, family, clan, region and position within the tribe. For this reason, there is no one regalia that represents all Native Americans. If you are making authentic Native American clothing, be prepared to do a bit of research ahead of your project. This will save you a lot of time in the end and it will make for clothing that is more authentic.

Fabric and Patterns

Research the tribe that you want to base your clothing designs on. Some Native American tribes wear certain clothes for religious purposes only and they will not provide information on how to recreate the look. Researching will also give you information about the material that you need to make the clothes.

Purchase authentic fabric. Most Native American clothes are made from buckskin or trade wool, so you may have to order this material online if you do not have access to it where you live. Also, pick colors traditionally used by the tribe.

Order a pattern. Once you have decided which tribal regalia you’re going to be making, order the regalia pattern online. Don’t worry too much about size; many of the patterns come with several sizes in one pattern. Have your payment details ready.

Making the Regalia

Cut out the size that you wear, from the pattern.

Follow the directions on how to fold the fabric, and then lay the pattern over it and cut around the pattern.

Sew according to the pattern's instructions. You will need to use a sewing machine if you want longevity out of the regalia.

Finish the clothing with traditional additions. Some Native American outfits have buckskin fringes, intricate beading, coins, elk teeth or cowry shells sewn onto them, others have bells or feathers. You can find many of these items in your local craft store.

Keep your regalia fresh and free from debris by placing it into a hanger bag.

Tip

Look at several pictures of Native American regalia from the 1800s if you want your clothing to look more authentic and traditional. Modern Native American clothing is not always the same as traditional regalia.

About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.