The way people in ancient civilizations dressed reveals information about how they lived and what they valued. For example, people who wove cloth for clothing lived a more sedentary life than those who migrated a lot and depended on wild animals for their food and supplies. Aztec women wove cotton fabric for their clothing and dyed it bright colors. The wealthy decorated their clothing with fancy embroidery and feathers to show their superior status.
Aztec males wore simple loincloths with a tie at the waist. Use a tape measure to calculate the distance from your waist in the front, through your legs to your waist over your spine. Multiply this measurement by three. Cut a rectangular piece of cloth equal to that number in length and approximately 12 inches wide. Cut a piece of cotton rope equal to your waist circumference plus 10 inches for the tie. Tie the cord around your waist. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise and center the fold between your legs. Bring the front half of the fabric to the waist and under the rope, draping the excess across the front of the body. Repeat the process to hang the back of the loincloth.
The cloak worn by Aztec males, a tilmatli or tilma, was a triangular piece of cloth tied around the shoulders. Multiply the distance from shoulder to shoulder by two and add 5 inches for the top width of the cloak. Make the length of the cloak equal to three-fourths of your height. Embroider the cloak or add fringe to the edges to represent belonging to the merchant or upper class. You can also add bright feathers to the top edge of the cloak.
Aztec women wore a simple skirt that tied at the waist and ended about mid-thigh or longer. Cut a cotton rectangle equal to your hip circumference plus 3 inches and approximately 2 inches longer that the length from your waist to mid-thigh. Create a casing by folding the top edge over 1 inch and sewing it closed at the bottom of the fold to hold a cotton rope tie. Sew up the single seam, leaving an opening for the tie to enter and exit the casing. Embroider a design on your skirt panel and fringe the edges to signify a woman from the upper class.
Aztec women preferred a sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse so they remained cool in the heat. The blouse draped loosely from the shoulders to just below the hip. Fashion the rectangular garment from cotton cloth twice the distance from the top of your shoulder to below your hip and 3 inches wider than half your bust measurement. Cut a circular hole at the center of the rectangle for your head. Upper-class women embroidered the neckline and the armholes or adorned them with colorful feathers to display their position in society.
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