How to Make a Lady Pirate Costume

Written by jasmine haryana
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A blend of medieval history and legend, pirates have become symbols of free spirit, anarchy and Epicureanism. Though pirates were often primarily male in written accounts, female pirate costumes have enjoyed popularity in the modern era. Adapting the classic pirate costume to feminine form can be accomplished using simple clothing, accessories and homemade props.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Gold hoop earrings
  • Bandanna
  • Loose, white blouse or top
  • Flowing black skirt
  • Boots
  • White tights
  • Cardboard
  • Thick black permanent marker
  • White cotton fabric
  • Black cotton fabric
  • Needle and thread
  • Black elastic
  • White elastic
  • Scissors
  • Silver spray paint
  • Tinfoil
  • Newspaper
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pen
  • Hair gel
  • Hair dryer

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  1. 1

    Make a cardboard sword. Use a permanent marker to draw a sword shape with a total length of 2 1/2 feet on your cardboard. Cut the drawn shape out with scissors. Lay the cardboard shape down on top of opened newspaper. Spray paint the handle and hilt of the sword and allow it dry. Cover the blade of the sword with tinfoil for a glinting effect.

  2. 2

    Make a pirate shirt. Select a loose white, long-sleeved cotton shirt or blouse from your closet and set it aside. Wrap the measuring tape around your body just below shoulder level and record the measurement. Repeat this process by wrapping the measuring tape around one wrist and noting the measurement. Cut one length of white elastic equal to each measurement, minus 2 inches, making one duplicate of your wrist length elastic. Cut 2 1/2-inch wide strips of white fabric equal to twice your original wrist and below-shoulder measurements. Lay each white strip on a table and stitch the elastic into it, 1/8 of an inch from the top, bunching the fabric as you go in between stitches to create a ruffled effect. Pull the top of the fabric down over the elastic and stitch a hem.

  3. 3

    Assemble your pirate shirt. Use scissors to widen the neck of your blouse until it falls just off the shoulders, taking care not to break the underarm seam near the sleeves. Use the needle and thread to sew the ruffle into the blouse's new neckline to add the top ruffle and provide fitted wear. Attach the wrist ruffles to your blouse shirt cuffs with the needle and thread, sewing on the "wrong" side of the shirt to create cleaner hems.

  4. 4

    Add horizontal stripes to the white tights. Lay the tights flat on a table and pull the legs taught horizontally. Create 3/4-inch thick stripes, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart, with a large black permanent marker.

  5. 5

    Create an eye patch from the black cotton fabric and black elastic. Draw a U-shape on the black fabric with a fabric pen, ensuring the height of the U-shape roughly matches the distance from your cheekbone to your eyebrow. Cut the shape out of black fabric and close the U-shape with a cut across the horizontal. Wrap the black elastic around your head at eye level, pulling it comfortably taught and cutting it to the measured length. Cut an additional length from the elastic piece, removing a length equivalent to the width of the eye patch. Use a needle and thread to attach the elastic ends to the right and left edges of the cloth patch to create the full eye patch.

  6. 6

    Create a tousled seafaring hairstyle. Wash your hair and apply hair gel when wet. Use your fingers to comb through your gelled hair and begin scrunching your hair from the ends to the roots. Repeat this motion with the hairdryer set to its lowest setting to create a wavy effect.

  7. 7

    Fold your bandanna in half across the diagonal to create an Isosceles triangle. Place the longest side against your forehead, pulling the edges backward in a straight line toward the back of your head. Tie the two ends together in a knot.

  8. 8

    Assemble the lady pirate costume. Put on the skirt and ruffled blouse, tucking the hem of the blouse into the skirt and pulling it out slightly to create a billowed effect. Situate the blouse neckline so that it rests just under your shoulders. Wear the black-striped tights and the boots. Insert the gold hoop earrings into your ears, and carry your sword.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have trouble locating real gold hoop earrings, use gold spray paint to colour stainless steel gold hoop earrings, while taking care not to spray the posts.
  • Carry a parrot stuffed animal for additional effect.
  • Always use spray paint in well-ventilated areas or outdoors.
  • Allow for comfortable fit of the eye patch to avoid undue pressure on the eye.

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