How to Make the Shirt for a Pirate Costume

Written by amelia allonsy
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Pirate costumes have long been a popular costume choice because pirates are symbolic of adventure and lawlessness. Pirate movies and stories help to increase the interest in pirates and perpetuate the popularity of this costume. If you or someone you know wants to be a pirate for a costume event, you don't have to spend your money on costly costumes or spend hours sewing a costume by hand. You can make your own pirate costume with many materials you have around your house. All you need to make a pirate shirt is an oversized collared shirt, lace and string.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Oversized white collared shirt
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • White lace
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Hole punch
  • 36-inches of black cord or rawhide string
  • One gallon of unsweetened tea

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  1. 1

    Cut a few jagged edges or make a few tears along the bottom edge of the shirt to give it a distressed look.

  2. 2

    Measure the circumference of the cuff of the shirtsleeves.

  3. 3

    Cut a piece of lace 5 inches longer than circumference of the sleeves and approximately 5 inches wide.

  4. 4

    Sew a gathering stitch along the length of the lace, so the lace bunches up to create a ruffled look.

  5. 5

    Sew the lace to the inside of one of the cuffs with the sleeve turned inside out and the cuff unbuttoned; then repeat with the other shirt cuff. When the shirt is turned right-side out, the lace will extend from underneath the cuff.

  6. 6

    Punch or cut three holes on each side of the shirt from the collar down to the chest.

  7. 7

    Sew several stitches around each hole to reinforce the fabric and prevent the holes from getting bigger.

  8. 8

    Thread the black cord or rawhide string through the holes in the same way that you would lace a pair of sneakers.

  9. 9

    Soak the shirt in a large bowl filled with tea, wring the excess tea out and then hang to dry. You may skip this step if you prefer, but this is an easy way to make the shirt appear dingy as though a pirate has worn it at sea for a long time.

Tips and warnings

  • Add a vest, trousers and a pirate hat to complete the pirate costume.
  • You can save yourself time reinforcing holes by using the existing button holes on one side of the shirt and then removing the corresponding buttons and cutting and reinforcing holes on that side.

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