DIY Girl Pirate Costume HOW-TO




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Do you feel that the Girl Pirate Costumes you find in the stores are too expensive and not original? Well, Threadbanger presents another episode of Halloweeny Wednesdays, to teach you how to make your own!

you need:
an old pair of leather pants
a button down shirt
a roll of ribbon
a rotary cutter
some dental floss
a leather needle
your sewing machine
some pins
a body form (or a cooperative friend)
a bowl
and your scissors

Step 1: Chapter One: TRICORN HAT

First take a pair of old leather pants and rip apart the inseams.

Then cut off the zipper and top band of the pants.

Lay the pants flat on the table and neatly pin the pant legs together.


Measure out the size of your head and draw cut out the circle on a piece of scrap paper. Then trace the circle onto the pinned leather pants so that the center of the circle is on the pinned seam.

From the center of the circle measure out one foot and draw a second circle. Don't worry if its not perfect, your going to end up cutting it down later anyway.

Next, use a rotary cutter to cut the big circle and then the little circle, to form a doughnut shape.

Using your dental floss and your leather needles, sew down the pinned seam on the doughnut shape.

Place the doughnut shape around a bowl, and set it to the side.


Cut out a band from the left over leather, the size of your head at about 2 1/2 inches wide. Then, sew the two ends together to create a ring.

Then take the small circle that you have already cut out of the doughnut shape and sew along the pinned seam with the dental floss (always use the dental floss and the leather needles during this project because the dental floss is wax and strong, and the leather needles are sharp).

Next sew the ring to the small circle, to create a top to the hat, and a space for your head.

Then place the headpiece on top of the bowl, which is surrounded by the doughnut shape, and sew the two sections together.


Using your rotary cutter cut down the doughnut shape, while its still on the bowl (it makes it easier to style). I cut it down into a "semi-triangular-butterfly-looking" shape, (check out the picture) because it made it easier to create the three sided shape I wanted for my hat.

Next I began to shape it. First roll up the back (or the flat end to the "butterfly" shape) onto the headpiece and pin it.

Second, pin up the two sides onto the headpiece, so the hat looks like a triangle from above.

After you pin up the three sides, there is a lot of extra leather hanging in the back of the hat, so pin up those areas as well. I messed around a lot with the styling of my hat, it took a lot of pinning and testing what looked good. Check out the video, you will see what I mean.

Once you have got your hat perfect, sew the areas you have pinned. And you have yourself the perfect pirate hat!

Step 5: Chapter Two: 3/4 CORSET AND PUFFY SHIRT

Using the left over leather, place it around your midsection, and mark your size using some pins. Don't poke yourself! The corset should lie just under the bust line and above the hips.

Next, follow your measurements and cut away the remaining leather.


Next cut four slits down each of the parallel seems, for a total of 8 holes.

Next cut off a long piece of ribbon (don't be stingy you can cut off the extra at the end). I used a thick black ribbon, but you can use any color. I just feel that the thickness of the ribbon made the corset more sturdy. If you use a cheap thin ribbon, it can rip or stretch if you tie it too tight, and the corset won't stay on.

Then thread the ribbon through the corset. Start by threading the ribbon through the first hole on either side of the corset from the inside, and pull the ribbon through evenly on both sides. Then cross the ribbon over each other, and thread through the outside of the next two holes. Next bring through ribbons from the inside through the center, cross them and thread them from the outside again. Continue for the rest of the slits.

Once you get to the bottom, tie into a bow. Only cut off the extra ribbon if there is a lot of it, because you need some extra ribbon to be able to thread your corset again if you need to. And then you've got yourself ye best corset in town!


Start by placing your button down shirt on your body form. Then trace a line around the top of the shirt around the shoulders. This is the line that you will cut for the new "off-the-shoulders" neckline of your puffy shirt.

Take the shirt off of the body form, and cut off the top of your shirt by following the line.

Next cut off the bottom part of the sleeves, at about the three-quarter length.

Then fold the top edge of the shirt in about 2 inches, and pin, to create a casing.

Sew along the pin line using your sewing machine.

Next cut two slits in the middle of the casing on both shoulders, for a total of four holes.


Take another piece of long ribbon (I used the same ribbon as in the corset, but you don't have to) and attach a safety pin to the end of it.

Thread the ribbon, using the safety pin, from the front hole on one shoulder, through the casing, to the front hole on the other shoulder. Then thread another ribbon through the back two holes.

Place the shirt back on the body form and tie the ribbons on each shoulder into pretty bows.

Next sew the sleeves up on the inside, to make it a short-sleeved shirt by first pinning up the sleeves and then using your sewing machine. Don't worry about making it perfect, you want to make it bunchy.

Finish off your perfect pirate costume with a pair of knee-high leather boots, a pair of fish-net tights, a black slip or skirt, some random and flashy pirate jewelry, and of course a bandana.

This is a great costume that you can make for way less money than you would buy in a costume store. It's completely unique! I would love to see your interpretations of this project! Have fun! Argggg!



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32 Discussions


7 years ago on Introduction

You're a life saver! Had to make a tri-cornered hat for my son's colonial thing at school, had 24 hours and can hardly sew at all. Made his in felt, but came out great! Thank you, thank you, thank you


9 years ago on Introduction

 Your hat pattern is brilliant!!! The corset is also really good. I think I'd keep the sleeves for the shirt though, and smaller ribbon for the bows 


9 years ago on Step 7

THE PUFFY SHIRT!!! im smelling a bit of seinfeld there


10 years ago on Introduction

Excellent instructable, the end result is very pleasing too. Why wait for halloween anyway -- if I had an outfit this groovy i'd be in it all the time! (Fancy dress, a trip to the grocer's...) 8-)


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Awww. It's just another option, dude. It's just another option. ;) But really, think how many people watch hers and say, "No way, how can anybody do that?" But they can put brads in a straw hat. For my part, after looking at all these, all I have the time and money for, most likely, is the instructable about making an adult felt pirate hat fit a toddler. Got the hat, clamp, and glue already. I was gonna use yours until I saw that one. I just love this site, I just found it and the stuff here really gets your imagination going.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! That was real nice of you. Welcome to the site! I find stuff here almost every day that I plan to make/improve. Good luck, and happy crafting!


10 years ago on Introduction

Wonderful video! Now I have yet another hat option for my 2 year old (I'd have to go littler, of course) and I enjoyed watching the process, too. Nice and clear. So many of the internet craft and sewing projects are completely incomprehensible. Also, it's good to see someone else under 60 who knows how to sew and actually chooses to do it over paying huge amounts of money for something not as good!


10 years ago on Introduction

arrr me harty, my pretty wench. me sista and i be makin this outfit to wear for Zombie Walk in Adelaide, Australia. ye may be askin and i certainly don't blame thee, "whats a couple of wenchs making pirate costumes for a zombie walk...well we being zombie pirates that's what we bein, me fine young lassy. We will of course be doin' International Pirates Day 2008 and come to our demise from some swashbucklin no good scurrvy dog. Little be knowns to him, we will seek our revenge....She Black Pearl


11 years ago on Introduction

If yon Lady Pirate (arrgh!) is still in middle school (ah, the indignity of it all), fat little aliens and jealous fairy princesses are going to yank on that ribbon tying the bodice until the leather gives way. Then, our poor Lady Pirate (arrgh!) will end up a fightin' for her honor or a cryin' for her Mama to come drive 'er home. (and neither is in keepin' with genuine Lady Pirates, ya scurvey dog)

To prevent this sort o' Pirate misery, eyelets or grommets can be used instead o' slits in the back of the bodice, and a long boot lace be used to thread it instead o' ribbon. Then, our lady pirate can lace 'erself blue without that bodice a givin' way. If the seamstress don't have an eyelet or grommet setter herself, she can be askin' the nearest female that has scrapbookin' stuff horrifical hobby that it be. Scrapbookers use eyelets on a daily basis, and the largest size eyelet would be perfect for the bodice. You might need to be usin' an awl (like a pointy thing, a miniature ice pick, you poltroon!) to be pokin' the holes thru the leather before a settin' the eyelets.

Under no circumstances can the Lady Pirate (arrrgh!) be findin' out that she's a wearin' that sissy scrapbookin' stuff. Ya know matey, 'er reputation 'ill never recover. Now-- you! Seamstress, hike yerself over to yon sewin' machine an' make 'er puffy shirt outta a solid color men's shirt, assumin' ye has one, of course. Cause there weren't no striped shirts durin' time o' Long John Silver and the lot of those scurvey devils. And a little bit of wide lace along the neckline and sleeve cuffs wouldn't be too darned painful, either. Ya knows that men's shirts 'ad lace on them in that place and time, dontcha? It showed that the shirt was quality-like. Shirts without lace were made o' canvas and were fit only for peasants. No decent Pirate Lady (arrrgh!) would be wearin' a peasant shirt when there be gentlemen's shirts for the stealin'!

Ahoy all ye who lurk here! This Instructable be great and be worth +1


11 years ago on Introduction

Yar, come aboard me ship lass, join my pirate crew. ;) But really, I hate those generic "LOL OMG SLUTTY PIRATE" costumes. This is a refreshing change. +1