How to Make Your Own Pirate Costume


Arrrr! So you want to be a pirate, aye? The great thing about pirate costumes is that they can look great whether they are elaborate with velvet and gold or sloppy with tattered old clothing. Use scraps around the house and visit thrift stores to find the perfect pieces for your pirate costume. This also means that through these steps it won't take too long to make your own pirate costume.

Things You'll Need

  • White button-up shirt
  • Dark pants or skirt
  • Boots
  • Vest
  • Scarf or pirate hat
  • Choose a shirt that is a white and long-sleeved, laced or button-up. A traditional pirate shirt is a bit baggy and doesn't look too modern. Depending on the type of pirate you want to be, find a sloppy white shirt and scuff it up by putting some dirt and tears in it, or find an ornate white button up with ruffles on the cuffs and collar. If you are particularly crafty, look at some pirate pictures for reference and sew billowing lace onto the cuffs and collar of a shirt you already have.

  • Wear dark bottoms in gray, brown, dark maroon, or black, for males and females. If you choose to wear pirate pants, either choose to wear skin-tight (but not uncomfortable) pants that end just below the knee, or baggy pants that you have cut off in a zigzag pattern just below the knee. You may have some pajama pants that will work just fine for the baggy type. If you want to wear a pirate skirt, a dark peasant skirt will work just fine. Make sure it looks a bit tattered as well by ripping or cutting at the bottom in a zigzag pattern.

  • Don boots that are tall (preferably to the knee) and dark. Male pirate boots generally are not the fancy kind that you'd wear to work, but the combat type. Female pirate boots can be basic or fancy with high heels and laced all the way to the top.

  • Select a vest that is simple, monocromatic or with a basic pattern such as stripes. You may not have a vest in your house, but thrift stores usually have old vests that people don't wear anymore.

  • Decide on your headwear. You can choose to wear a pirate hat, a bandana, both, or nothing. A pirate hat may be difficult to make at home, so you may opt to purchase a cheap one at a costume shop. If you don't want to buy or make your own pirate hat, pirates also wear bandanas that are generally single colored (red and black are popular colors) or with patterns such as skulls and crossbones. You may want to wear your bandana under a pirate hat as well. Conversely, some pirates wear nothing on their heads.

  • Accessorize with fun and gaudy add-ons. Don't forget the eye patch, sword, a stuffed parrot on the shoulder, a hook for the hand, a peg leg, a compass, hair braids, gold jewelry such as hoop earrings, facial hair (fake or real), scarf, tall white socks, a telescope, and blackened or gold teeth. The most important accessory is a single-colored sash tied around the waist on the outside of the shirt and pants.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be creative!
  • Don't forget to hide any modern accessories. For example, remove the Gucci glasses and the new Rolex.


  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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