Cheap Homemade Pirates Crew Costumes

Updated April 17, 2017

Pirates have always been popular in pop culture, but in recent years have become more so. The Disney movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" took a historical concept and romanticised it to the point where kids and adults of all ages choose pirate costumes for Halloween or other costume events. Pirate plays and games require dress-up costumes, and instead of buying expensive versions at a store, you can make your own cheaply and easily. Nancy Tigres, costume designer for the Appleton, Minnesota, community theatre, gives several strategies.

Pirate Crew Costumes

Consider what it is, exactly, that pirate crews really wear. Instead of worrying about the fancy jackets, vests and accessories that a pirate captain would wear, you can concentrate on the basic clothing for the crew. Tigres, who has a degree in theatre costuming, says pirate costumes aren't exactly what pirates would wear. A pirate crew would wear just about anything, as long as he could work in it. They would be mismatched and not very cool or fun-looking. However, you can take the basic ideas pirate-crew apparel and make them into fun, cheap, and easy to make costumes.

Shirts and Pants

Create shirts and trousers first for pirate crews. You want to focus on the material to create the illusion of crew wear. For both shirt and trousers, use cotton fabric. You can also use a polyester, as long as it looks like cotton. Start with the bottom, and work your way to the top.

Make pirate trousers out of cotton or polyester. You can use regular trousers, as long as they conform to the basics. They should be tight at the waist, tight at the calves and baggy everywhere else. You can accomplish this by buying a pair of cotton or polyester trousers in a slightly bigger size than you'd wear and sewing some elastic around the leg holes. Then, push them up onto your calves so the material bulges around your knees and thighs. Just about any cheap pair of trousers designed for other costumes will work. If you cannot find or make the billowing trousers, use plain brown trousers that fit normally, and cut off the legs in a jagged pattern in between your knees and ankles.

Wear tights underneath whatever trousers you wear. The tights should be striped, if at all possible, or at the very least should be black. Black boots work well for your shoes. If you don't have any, wear dark coloured shoes, and wrap some black fabric, or plastic from a garbage bag, around the shoe tops so it looks like boots.

Make a shirt for your pirate costume. Typical pirate shirts are white and billowing. You can accomplish this by getting a long-sleeve cotton shirt that buttons, in a size that is a little larger than your own. Tuck it into your trousers and pull it mostly out to create a billow. Push up the sleeve to your elbows, so the sleeves billow out as well. Other fabrics that make good pirate shirts include polyester and linen.


Extras really make the pirate costume, says Tigres, because those will give away the idea that you are supposed to be a pirate. Include an eye patch, a sword and a boat-shaped hat. You also can wear a scarf around your neck.

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