No-Sew Pirate Costume

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No-Sew Pirate Costume
Ages 2 to 4

Ahoy there, matey! Check out this No-Sew Pirate Costume for Halloween! It's easy to make a pirate costume using items you already have in your closet. With just a little cleverness and an eye for repurposing, you'll have a great costume fit for collecting booty (or candy).

Helpful Tip:

  • Finding your supplies: Remember, you are not limited to just your child's wardrobe. Don't overlook old clothes from other members of the family as well. An old blouse from Mom's closet will make a great pirate captain's shirt. After you've checked your closet for pirate gear, fill in with items from the thrift store or dollar store to round out your outfit. If you are going to cut up or modify clothing, you might want to buy it at the thrift store. Pirate accessories are easy to find at the dollar store or discount store.
  • Pirate Perfection: Don't worry if you can't get everything perfect. Pirates had to use what they could get, and it's okay to do the same with your pirate costume!

How to make it

  1. Make the Hat:

    A. Tie scarf or bandanna on your child's head for a ship's mate style hat.

    For square bandannas or scarves: fold in half diagonally. Place long flat side against forehead, and tuck opposite point at back of neck. Bring side points around the back of head and tie together in a knot.

    For long lightweight scarves: put on head and tie in the back. Let long ties hang down back.

    B. Cut the sleeve off a long-sleeved striped t-shirt for a pirate-style stocking cap. Stretch the wide part of the sleeve over your head like a hat and then, knot the top. Cut off excess.

    C. Buy a pirate hat. I found a pirate accessory kit at the dollar store that included a pirate hat, plastic sword, and eye-patch.

    D. Make a Tri-corn hat. This is the style of hat worn by famous movie pirates like Captain Jack Sparrow. To make one, find a large, round women's sun hat at a thrift store. Fold the brim up and staple to the crown of hat, on three sides.

  2. Make the Top:

    A. A striped t-shirt (long sleeved is best) is perfect for your pirate. Or, use a plain white or cream colored henley or thermal shirt.

    B. A women's white blouse makes a great pirate captain shirt. You should roll up sleeves, or put a loose rubber band around your child's wrist and tuck the cuff around it.

    Things to look for in a pirate blouse: lace (especially at the neck or cuffs), an interesting non-modern detail on the front like pleating, collars or no collars are fine. Things to avoid: zippers and snaps.

    C. Add a vest over either of these tops to include another layer of detail. Dark, plain vests are best: black, brown, navy blue, and red are all good choices.

    D. You can also add a women's jacket if you have one that looks somewhat pirate-y. A plain jacket in dark corduroy or velvet could be good, especially with a belt over the shoulder.

  3. Make the Pants:

    A. Many pirates wore short knee-length pants. Choose plain pants (black, brown, navy blue) or pinstriped pants and roll them up to the knee or tuck them into long socks.

    B. You can get the shipwrecked pirate look by taking a pair of old pants and cutting them off jaggedly at the knee.

    C. Plain, dark capri pants are a good option for girls, or twist the idea of the pirate costume by wearing a plain dark skirt. Who says girl pirates can't wear skirts?

  4. Assemble the Shoes and Socks:

    A. Choose knee-length socks in black, white, or stripes. Pull them all the way up to the knee.

    B. Wear black or brown shoes. Best shoes: leather dress shoes or mary janes. Add an oversized cardboard buckle, if desired. Plain dark tennis shoes will also work.

    C. Another option is to wear sandals without socks (good for the shipwrecked pirate look).

  5. Accessories (choose one or more):

    The accessories really make your pirate costume. Try to have at least one of the classic pirate details: an eye-patch, a hook, or a sword.

    A. The best pirate accessory is a wide belt with a large buckle, slung over one shoulder. A plain leather belt with metal buckle will also work.

    B. Make a sash for your waist with a long lightweight scarf. Wrap it around the waist once or twice and knot at the side.

    C. A white or plain-colored scarf (or piece of fabric) tied around the neck with the knot at the neck is a great pirate detail.

    D. You can make an eye-patch if necessary, but it is far easier to buy one. Store-bought eye-patches fit well and look good. If you want to make one, cut a half-circle piece of felt and tie on two pieces of ribbon or elastic. Adjust to fit.

    E. To make a hook hand take a party cup (make sure the pirate's fist can fit inside comfortably), cut a slit in the bottom of the cup. Insert a hook made from cardboard (cut a hook shape out) or the end of a plastic hanger. Secure with duct tape or hot glue. (Note: Avoid using wire hangers because they can be dangerous and cause injury).

    F. Use a toy stuffed parrot or other bird and attach to shoulder. Or make this fun paper parrot with your child.

    G. Pirates often wore earrings. Hoop earrings are a good choice for girl pirates with pierced ears, or find a clip-on earring for pirates without pierced ears. You can find these at party or dollar stores.

    H. Accessorize with jewelry. A pirate medallion will do for a hard-working pirate, or clip on sparkly pins to a fancy pirate captain.

    I. Attach a sword or pirate gun to the costume. Find these at party or dollar stores, or make them out of cardboard. Tuck the weapon into the costume with a sash.


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