How To Make a Pocahontas Costume

Girl wearing Indian costume

To make a Pocahontas costume, you'll need a few very simple and inexpensive items.  Some of them you may even have on hand already but, if not, they are available at any craft or large retail store.  You will need an over-sized cotton t-shirt, tea bags (generic brand is fine), beads (various in color with little holes in the center, plastic or fancier, it is up to you), any solid color fabric remnant (to use for a belt) and scissors.

First, you will need to tea stain the shirt.  This will give the shirt a brownish color and look more like an authentic Native American costume.

  1. You will do this by boiling around four (4) cups of water in a large pot. 
  2. Add five (5) tea bags to the boiling water and let it steep between 5 and 7 minutes until it turns a really rich brown color. 
  3. Squeeze the tea bags over the water and then remove them. 
  4. Place the t-shirt in the pot, making sure all parts of the fabric are soaked with tea. 
  5. Every few minutes, you may swish the shirt around to ensure the finish is smooth. 
  6. Depending on how darkly you want the fabric tinted, for your Pocahontas costume, you can let the shirt soak as little as an hour or as much as overnight. 
  7. Once the fabric is to your liking, take it out of the tea and rinse under cool water, then, wring out the shirt. 
  8. Place it in the dryer on a high setting to set the color as permanent.

With the "dress" of your Pocahontas costume drying, gather the beads and scissors. Use the scissors to cut strips all the way around the hem of the shirt.  The strips can vary in width and in length.  "Length" meaning it's up to you how far up into the dress you'd like to cut.

Next, take several of the beads and slide them onto each strip; tie a knot in the end of the strip to secure the beads.  Continue adding beads to the hem of the Pocahontas costume.  When the hem is complete, do the sleeve hems the same way.  Cutting the neck band off also gives the costume a very natural and more feminine look.

Lastly, take the solid color fabric remnant and cut it to the desired width for a belt.  Snip along each side to make the fabric appear frayed. Now your Pocahontas costume is complete.


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