How to Make a Sailor Suit

Written by elizabeth sobiski
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How to Make a Sailor Suit
The collar is one of the most recognisable features of a sailor suit. (soldier image by Litle from

From anime to patriotism, sailor suits are a popular costume choice. For a traditional look, select fabrics and clothes that are navy blue or white. If colour does not matter, choose any fabric or pattern that suits the occasion. The one piece that makes the sailor suit so easy to spot is the collar on the shirt. Without it, it will look like just another shirt. The directions here make a white sailor suit and the project can be completed in less than a day.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Butcher paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • White fabric
  • Dark blue ribbon
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • White long sleeved T-shirt
  • White trousers, preferably bell bottom
  • Black shoes

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  1. 1

    Make the collar first. Lay the T-shirt on the butcher paper. Trace the collar of the shirt onto the butcher paper. Fold the paper in half, so the tracing is on the outside.

  2. 2

    Measure from the nape of the neck to just below the shoulder blades. Note this number on the butcher paper. Measure across the back, just below the shoulder blades. Transfer these measurements to the butcher paper.

  3. 3

    Draw the outline of the collar using the measurements from above in conjunction with the outline of the neckline from the shirt. Taper the edge of the collar towards the neckline at the top. Cut the pattern from the butcher paper.

  4. 4

    Lay the pattern, still folded in half, on the white fabric. The white fabric should also be folded in half. The two folded edges will be on top of one another. Cut the fabric around the paper pattern. Sew a narrow, 1/4 inch, hem around the collar.

  5. 5

    Sew two ribbon stripes on the outside edge of the collar. No ribbon is needed near the neckline of the collar.

  6. 6

    Attach the collar to the T-shirt on the inside neckline of the shirt. This can be done with just a basting stitch, just enough so that it stays in place.

  7. 7

    Assemble the shirt, trousers and shoes.

Tips and warnings

  • Add ribbon stripes to the sleeves of the T-shirt, if desired.

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