How to make a Pocahontas costume

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How to make a Pocahontas costume
Pocahontas wears an iconic dress that would make a great fancy dress outfit. (Getty Thinkstock)

Create a Pocahontas costume using synthetic suede, which doesn't fray and requires no hemming or facing. Cut the skirt long or short, depending on the wearer's preference. The perfect Indian princess look includes hair styled in a single braid, braided pigtails or simply combed out loose.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Synthetic suede, tan or brown.
  • Basic shift dress sewing pattern
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Beads and/or other embellishments
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide elastic band
  • 3-5 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inch) feathers
  • Moccasins or long brown socks

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Instructions

    Make the dress

  1. 1

    Plan to design a basic shift dress. The dresses worn by Native Americans in Pocahontas's time were practical and simple. The clothes were neither tailored nor form-fitting. Buy synthetic suede fabrics in tan or brown and a pattern for a basic shift dress.

  2. 2

    Cut out the front and back of the dress pattern. Use scissors to adjust the neckline and size of the armholes. Stitch the dress and trim the seams.

  3. 3

    Use brown embroidering floss or fine gauge leather cording to stitch diagonally across the skirt of the dress to simulate the piecing together of animal skins. Trim the hem of the dress so that it is asymmetrical.

  4. 4

    Embellish the dress across the bodice, neckline, shoulders and hem. Sew or hot glue beads and shells in place. Add rick-rack, decorative stitching or embroidered trim.

    Make accessories

  1. 1

    Fashion a headdress with a narrow band of the suede fabric folded over medium-weight interfacing. Stitch a 7 cm (3 inch) length of 2.5 cm (1 inch) elastic between the two ends for a secure fit.

  2. 2

    Hot glue 3 to 5 feathers 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches) tall to the inside of the back centre of the headband. Add several lengths of leather or dark plastic cording with beads strung on the ends.

  3. 3

    Finish the look with beaded mocassins or pull long brown socks on over a pair of shoes. Criss-cross leather cording up the shin and tie under the knee to simulate lacing.

  4. 4

    Buy an additional 1/4 metre (10 inches) of synthetic suede fabric to make a purse. Apply beads and feathers as a decorative accent.

Tips and warnings

  • Synthetic suede looks very much like buckskin, is a breeze to cut and sew, drapes well, and is comfortable.

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