Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quick and Easy Costume: Picture Perfect Pirate

 A quick break from "31 Days" to bring you this post, *before* Halloween, so you can actually use it this year! Don't miss out on the giveaway though! The giveaway is closed now.

    I love a "homemade" costume. By homemade, I just mean something you put together yourself, versus buying an already pre-assembled costume from the store that is a specific character. There is nothing wrong with that (We bought an off-the-rack "Daphne" costume for my daughter last year, and my son is usually something purchased!) but it isn't quite as much fun.

     There is a great sense of accomplishment from taking ordinary items and turning them into a fun costume. That is the case with this pirate outfit! You can take things that you probably already have at home and quickly turn them into a custom costume that will be simply adorable.

First you need a few things:

 I used a too-short pair of jersey knit pants. Often the waist still fits my skinny kid, but the length is too short. That was the case with these. However, that is perfect, since you will be cutting them off to make ragged pirate breeches! Sweat pants, or any type of fabric besides jeans would work, but for the look you want them to be pull-on.
 I also used a plain white tee shirt (the Hanes kind you buy in a 5 pack). Don't run out and buy a tee. Use any old plain one you have around the house. If you happen to have a striped one then you are a step ahead! However, if you don't, no worries, I'm going to show you how to add sea-worthy stripes! For that you will need: something wide enough to stretch your tee out, my son is a size 5, and I used a 10x14 picture frame turned horizontally. You will also need electrical tape (I wanted red, but it was FOUR dollars a roll, versus $0.57 for the black kind!) and a ruler.

 Shove your photo frame, or whatever you are using into your tee. This will help to keep the tape from "shrinking" the shirt. You also want to pull your tape length all the way out before cutting it-electrical tape has some stretch to it, and you don't want it puckering your top. Place it on the shirt after you have stretched it out. Start with the first tape line at the bottom, and then place your ruler along the top of the stripe. Add the next tape length on the other side, this will keep your stripes aligned and equally spaced. I cut my tape long enough to wrap it around the sides of the shirt, but I did not do the back because I'm lazy!

 Next, we are going to add the famous pirate "vee". Use your ruler to trace a triangle at the neckline of your tee. I eyeballed this part, but I cut it shallow figuring I could always go deeper later. Mine was about 3 and 1/2 to 4 inches long.
 Then I trimmed that part out with my scissors.

 Next, I took the largest sewing needle I had, and "threaded" it with slim red ribbon.

Then you start at the bottom and pretend you are lacing a shoe. You go straight across for the first two holes, and then add equal holes all the way up, alternating your laces from side to side. I couldn't really take photos of this part, but seriously, it is no more difficult than putting shoelaces in a new pair of shoes. I also eyeballed this part. I figured pirates aren't exactly master seamstresses, right?

I didn't consider this part sewing, because you can do this without a needle. It does not require a sewing machine, either. You could even do it without a needle, by poking your holes with a sharp skewer or even a fork (knit is very quick to separate into a hole) and then wrap your ribbon with tape on one end, so you can push it through the holes.

 I finished the shirt by folding it in half lengthwise and using my scissors to cut jagged edges, so it would look ragged. You don't have to do them together, but it was quick and easy and gave them uniformity.

Next, I chopped off the pant legs. I eyeballed it at about capri length, and folded them together so they were the same. The beauty of this costume is that it is supposed to look uneven! If you are worried about the length, have your child try them on and mark where you want to cut with pencil before you cut.

 Then I took a square of red felt and some embroidery thread. This part is sewing, but you could definitely skip the patch, or use fabric glue or hot glue to put it on. You could use craft paint to fake the stitches. But it took me about 5 minutes to running stitch the square on, and I liked the way it looked!

 Next, I took a black piece of jersey knit fabric (that I had purchased a long time ago for another purpose but never used) and cut the ends into "fringe".
 My piece was about 6 feet long, and I wrapped it around my son twice. You could definitely go with three feet though, if you didn't want to wrap it, and you should be able to get a yard of jersey knit for a reasonable price.

Or, again, you can skip this step and use a scarf you already have! I had a red one I almost used, but this looked more authentic. If you have a fringed one, you won't even need to alter it, and can continue to use it after the costume is worn. Either way, it is the perfect place to put your sword!

We added an eye patch, pirate "revolver" and an earring- all purchased in a set from the Dollar Tree. You can find all kinds of fun costume props there for cheap! Carson already had the sword, but you can usually purchase those at the Dollar Tree, too. I found the bandana at Walmart for $1.00 in the women's accessory section. We tied it "like a pirate": fold into a triangle, put the point down the back of the neck and cross the other two ends over to tie into a knot at the back of the head.

So here's my cost breakdown:
Electrical tape- $0.57 (Walmart)
Red ribbon- $0.50 (Walmart)
Total cost: $3.07 (plus tax)

Even if you purchased your shirt, pants and scarf at Goodwill, you should still be able to keep your costs to under $10. And if you have priced costumes lately, that is a great deal! And it's a pretty awesome costume. It will probably only take you 30-45 minutes to put the whole thing together.

And then you will have one adorable pirate! Yay!

Linking up to:
"Show Me What Ya Got" at Not Just a Housewife 
"Wow Me Wednesday" at Ginger Snap Crafts 
"Works for Me Wednesday" at We Are THAT Family 
"Thrifty Thursday" at Living Well, Spending Less


  1. Eeek! Cutest Pirate ever! Way to rock the frugal costume Clare:) LOVE the step by step tute!

  2. I love that this is hand made and it turned out SO great. You did an awesome job, Clare. Thanks for sharing how you made and for linking up to Thrifty Thursday.

    1. Thanks! I really appreciate you stopping by! I had a lot of fun making it.:)

  3. Cutest pirate ever! My favorite is the pirate Crocs :)

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