Making a Pareo

or Pareu

Making a Pareo 2018-01-25T19:33:04+00:00

Project Description

The art of tying a Pareo

The art of tying a Pareo

The Pareu or more commonly known as the Pareo is in general a piece of 2 square meters coloured fabric but it can be smaller.

It is much appreciated by Polynesian women who wear it in several ways just as they were taught by their mothers and grandmothers at a young age. Men also wear it around their waste.

Because of the tropical climate of our islands, the Pareu, which is light, allows fluidity and ease of movement.

It can be worn downtown, at the beach, and more commonly at home.

Made out in staple, the Pareo is also very popular for Tahitian dancing because of its flexibility it beautifully shows off every movement.

Paul Gauguin was allured by Polynesian beauty and often represented Polynesians wearing Pareu in his paintings.

The Pareu is generally hand painted in Polynesia with fabric paint. The themes usually used are flora (tropical flowers, breadfruit trees called “maiore”), sea life, and the islands – with quite bright colours.

Light fabric and nice colours

Light fabric and nice colours

However, making a Pareu can be done in various manners according to individual tastes and aspirations.

Therefore it is first of all necessary to soak the fabric in dye – obtained by diluting paint in water in order to create different shades and effects.

Then it has to be dried in the sun, laid out on a flat surface.

A pareo, the lagoon and the sun

A pareo, the lagoon and the sun

In order to put patterns on the Pareu while it’s drying, you have to put on the different fabric “appliques” with the desired patterns so that the Pareu soaks them up. It is also possible to paint by hand or use stencils of the chosen drawings.

By following this advice, you may be able to make very beautiful personalised Pareu!


Besides being painted, a Pareu can also be embroidered.