How to Make a Girl Pirate Costume

Here is how to make your own gal pirate costume, complete with tricorn hat, corset, and puffy shirt! Want more information in live-action form? Check out the video!

How to Make a Girl Pirate Costume

an old pair of leather pants
a button down shirt
a roll of ribbon
a rotary cutter
some dental floss
a leather needle
your sewing machine
some pins
a body form (or a cooperative friend)
a bowl



Tricorn Hat:

1. First take a pair of old leather pants and rip apart the inseams.




2. Then cut off the zipper and top band of the pants.






3. Lay the pants flat on the table and neatly pin the pant legs together.

Create the rim of the hat!

4. Measure out the size of your head and draw cut out the circle on a piece of scrap paper. Then trace the circle onto the pinned leather pants so that the center of the circle is on the pinned seam.




5. From the center of the circle measure out one foot and draw a second circle. Don't worry if its not perfect, your going to end up cutting it down later anyway.


6. Next, use a rotary cutter to cut the big circle and then the little circle, to form a doughnut shape.




7. Using your dental floss and your leather needles, sew down the pinned seam on the doughnut shape.


8. Place the doughnut shape around a bowl, and set it to the side.



The Headpiece:

9. Cut out a band from the left over leather, the size of your head at about 2 1/2 inches wide. Then, sew the two ends together to create a ring.


10. Then take the small circle that you have already cut out of the doughnut shape and sew along the pinned seam with the dental floss (always use the dental floss and the leather needles during this project because the dental floss is wax and strong, and the leather needles are sharp).



11. Next sew the ring to the small circle, to create a top to the hat, and a space for your head.



12. Then place the headpiece on top of the bowl, which is surrounded by the doughnut shape, and sew the two sections together.



Style ye pirate hat!

13. Using your rotary cutter cut down the doughnut shape, while its still on the bowl (it makes it easier to style). We cut it down into a "semi-triangular-butterfly-looking" shape, (check out the picture) because it made it easier to create the three sided shape we wanted for my hat.



14. Next began to shape it. First roll up the back (or the flat end to the "butterfly" shape) onto the headpiece and pin it.



15. Second, pin up the two sides onto the headpiece, so the hat looks like a triangle from above.

16. After you pin up the three sides, there is a lot of extra leather hanging in the back of the hat, so pin up those areas as well. We messed around a lot with the styling of the hat, it took a lot of pinning and testing what looked good. Check out the video, you will see what we mean! Trial and error is the DIY way!


17. Once you have got your hat perfect, sew the areas you have pinned. And you have yourself the perfect pirate hat!

Ye Olde Corset:


1. Using the left over leather, place it around your midsection, and mark your size using some pins. Don't poke yourself! The corset should lie just under the bust line and above the hips.


2. Next, follow your measurements and cut away the remaining leather.





3. Fold in the two ends of the corset, about 1 1/2 inches, and sew two parallel lines, about an inch apart, down from the top of the corset to the bottom.



4. Next cut four slits down each of the parallel seems, for a total of 8 holes.




5. Next cut off a long piece of ribbon (don't be stingy, you can always cut off the extra at the end). We used a thick black ribbon, but you can use any color. We felt that the thickness of the ribbon made the corset more sturdy. If you use a cheap thin ribbon, it can rip or stretch if you tie it too tight, and the corset won't stay on.


6. Then thread the ribbon through the corset. Start by threading the ribbon through the first hole on either side of the corset from the inside, and pull the ribbon through evenly on both sides. Then cross the ribbon over each other, and thread through the outside of the next two holes. Next bring through ribbons from the inside through the center, cross them and thread them from the outside again. Continue for the rest of the slits.



7. Once you get to the bottom, tie into a bow. Only cut off the extra ribbon if there is a lot of it, because you need some extra ribbon to be able to thread your corset again if you need to. And then you've got yourself ye best corset on the seven seas!



Ye Olde Puffy Shirt:

1. Start by placing your button down shirt on your body form. Then trace a line around the top of the shirt around the shoulders. This is the line that you will cut for the new "off-the-shoulders" neckline of your puffy shirt.



2. Take the shirt off of the body form, and cut off the top of your shirt by following the line.





3. Next cut off the bottom part of the sleeves, at about the three-quarter length.


4. Then fold the top edge of the shirt in about 2 inches, and pin, to create a casing.



5. Sew along the pin line using your sewing machine.6. Next cut two slits in the middle of the casing on both shoulders, for a total of four holes.

7. Take another piece of long ribbon (I used the same ribbon as in the corset, but you don't have to) and attach a safety pin to the end of it.


8. Thread the ribbon, using the safety pin, from the front hole on one shoulder, through the casing, to the front hole on the other shoulder. Then thread another ribbon through the back two holes.


9. Place the shirt back on the body form and tie the ribbons on each shoulder into pretty bows.



10. Next sew the sleeves up on the inside, to make it a short-sleeved shirt by first pinning up the sleeves and then using your sewing machine. Don't worry about making it perfect, you want to make it bunchy.

11. Finish off your perfect pirate costume with a pair of knee-high leather boots, a pair of fish-net tights, a black slip or skirt, some random and flashy pirate jewelry, and of course a bandana.

This is a great costume that you can make for way less money than you would buy in a costume store. It's completely unique! We would love to see your interpretations of this project! Have fun! Argggg!


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Anonymous on Aug 01, 2014:

Excellent tutorial!!

Silver on Oct 26, 2013:

A substitute for leather when making your corset,  would maybe be a dark black denim. Just an idea. I know this will definitely work better than a pleather, or imitation leather. Of course black suede would work wonderfully.  Basicly, a sturdy fabric choice is needed here or the corset will not stay put, and/or your "eyelets/ lace holes "  will tear. I realize this is in answer to an older  question, but I thought it may still help someone out, in a "pinch". Happy Halloween. :)

Hatergirl101 on Jul 05, 2013:

Where the hell am I gonna get a cheap pair of leather pants?

linda on Aug 02, 2012:

Keep your eye out for a pair of leather pants at salvation army or goodwill. Check out the make your own pirate hat and corset. I want to try and do this for Morgan. We picked up a button down shirt today from goodwill : )

Stacy May on Apr 29, 2012:

I hope that it works! Maybe I can pull it off! Really excited to try! Thanks thanks thanks!

MSH on Oct 25, 2011:


Yes, use vinyl, fleece, or any other material that won't fray or unravel.  Use a stronger fabric the tighter you plan to tie it and the longer you want it to last... it is possible to rip through almost any fabric, especially when you've just cut holes in it. Go to a thrift shop or to the remnant bin of your local fabric store and see what you turn up.

Anonymous on Oct 25, 2011:

Is there anything else you can use for a corset???? i dont have any leather

Samantha U. on Jul 17, 2011:

I love you video. I am making this for my daughter. Should the shirt fit when you buy it? and the pants, should they be big, for more material? Thank you .

Ashley on Oct 23, 2010:

Well, any other tips? ;-P

Ashley on Oct 23, 2010:

Thanks for the help but IDK if I can do that by thursday for school


Cherishe on Sep 25, 2010:

That is AWESOME! I've been trying to find an easy way to make a good-looking pirate hat for ages! Thanks :D

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