How to Make an Indian Costume T-Shirt

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.

Red, white, turquoise and brown beads work best for an Indian costume.

Things You'll Need

  • Large tan T-shirt

  • Seam ripper

  • Iron

  • Scissors

  • 200 plastic pony beads

  • 2 yards of beaded trim

  • Fabric glue

Step 1

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

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 4

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

Step 5

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


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