How to Make an Indian Costume T-Shirt

Written by kathy bellamy
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How to Make an Indian Costume T-Shirt
Red, white, turquoise and brown beads work best for an Indian costume. (beads as background image by TekinT from

An Indian costume, whether for Halloween or a Thanksgiving play, need not be a difficult or expensive project. Native American clothing is made from a simple pattern relying on beautiful bead and leather work to make it distinctive. A T-shirt is ideal as a base for an Indian costume since it has the same basic shape, the material has a soft fuzziness similar to leather and it can be cut into fringe without fraying. It only needs to be decorated to an individual's taste.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large tan T-shirt
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • 200 plastic pony beads
  • 2 yards of beaded trim
  • Fabric glue

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  1. 1

    Remove the hems from the sleeves and shirttail of the T-shirt with the seam ripper. Iron out the creases.

  2. 2

    Cut fringe into the hemline of the shirt about 3 inches deep and about 1/2 inch apart. String a bead onto each fringe, and tie the end into a knot to prevent the beads from falling off.

  3. 3

    Cut fringe into the sleeves of the shirt about ½ inch wide and about 3 inches deep. String a bead onto each fringe, and tie the end into a knot to prevent the bead from falling off.

  4. 4

    Glue trim around the neck of the T-shirt with fabric glue.

  5. 5

    Glue trim to the front of the shirt from each shoulder into a point on the front of the shirt.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear your shirt with matching tan trousers and moccasins. Wrap a strip of trim around your head as a headband. You may also make or buy Indian-style jewellery to go with your costume.

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