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Pahu Top & Skirt

     The pahu top is worn by women and girls. In our halau, if the females are wearing a pahu top, the men most likely will be wearing a button-down shirt or aloha shirt, depending on the specific hula they are dancing. Click here to see sketches of other hula attire.

Pahu Top -
     You will need:
          Approximately two yards of broadcloth (45" wide). Exact measurement is twice around the widest part of your body.
          Matching thread
          1" wide non-roll elastic long enough to go around your chest just under your armpits

     1) Sew together the cut ends of the fabric. Either serge, zig-zag the raw edge, or fell the seam. You should end up with a circle of fabric with the selvages at the top and bottom edges. Put it inside-out.

     2) Fold the top selvage down three inches all the way around, pinning if needed. Sometimes it helps to iron the edge. The seams should match up. 1" inside of the fold, sew all the way around, closing and overlapping the stitching line. This will be your top ruffle.

     3) To make the elastic casing, come down 1-1/4" from the stitching line and repeat. You should now have two parallel seams all the way around the top of the garment.

     4) On the short folded side, open 1" of  the vertical seam between the two stitching lines. You may hand-finish this if you like, or leave it raw. This is the opening for your elastic.

     5) Pin one end of the elastic to the garment, and put a large safety pin, elastic puller, or some other device on the other end of the elastic and draw it through the casing. Be sure it remains flat and does not twist inside the casing.

     6) Overlap and stitch the ends together.

     7) Stretch the elastic to its full extension several times to even out the gathers.

     8) Put on the pahu top and measure up 9" from the floor (when barefoot). Pin and hem. For keiki, leave a deep hem so the pahu top may be let down as the girl grows.

The pahu skirt

Pahu Skirt


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