How To Make a Pirate Costume: Male and Female Costumes

So you are looking to dress up like a pirate!? It isn't any surprise with all the recent success of pirate movies and memorabilia! Creating a pirate costume is fun and incredibly easy! Just follow these steps about pirate costume ideas and you will soon be on your way to swashbuckling with the best of them! You won't really need to know how to sew for this costume, but if you want to make it more intricate (and realistic!) then I recommend you check out Sewing 101 to master the essentials of wielding a needle and thread before you begin.

Here's how to make a pirate costume.

  1. The Clothes: The clothes are by far the most important aspect of your pirate costume! First let's go through the items you will need to get and then we will explore where to find the clothes for pirate costumes.

    • Pants - The pants will preferably be black, although gray and brown are also options. There are two different ways in which you can create your pants. The first way is to get black pants that are a little tight. Do not get them so that they are so tight that they are uncomfortable, but tight enough so that they are snug to your skin. The second way its to get black pants that are quite baggy. After you get these pants you will take them and cut the bottoms of the legs off so that they are just below the knee. You should cut the bottoms in a zig zag pattern, so that they look old and worn out.
    • Skirts - If you are woman and you wish to dress up like a female pirate, all you need to do is get a black skirt instead of pants. The skirt for female pirate costumes can be long or short. If you choose a long skirt, the best is to get a peasant type of skirt. If you are looking to go with sexy pirate costumes, choose a short one, it is best to get something knee length so that you may take some scissors and tear up the bottom to cut it shorter and to make it look tattered and old.
    • Shirt - The shirt is simple. All you need to get is a white long sleeved button-up shirt. You will want to make sure that the shirt is not too dressy and not too business-like. The baggier the better, and you will want to leave a few buttons undone at the top. Remember that pirates weren't always the cleanest of people either so feel free to try and stain it up a little bit, or even tear it in certain areas. If you are able to locate a long-sleeved white shirt that has ruffles on the cuffs and maybe even a Victorian style ruffle on the collar, then you are very lucky! This would suit a pirate costume well!
    • Vest - For the vest, you are looking for pretty much any black or red vest. Try to avoid any that might have designs on them, unless it is just a striped pattern or something which would still suit the costume. If you cannot find either of these colors, and you can find white, you should be able to dye the vest. You can find RIT dye at almost every craft store in the country. They are easy to use even if you have never used them before.
  2. Pirate Costume Accessories: The accessories are also very important to the realistic pirate costume!

    • Boots - Pretty much any tall black boots will work. You can also use brown boots. Try to stay more with the army boot style rather than a work boot of some sort. If you are able to find the type of leather boot that folds over at the top, that would be great! For a woman, the boots can be a bit more extravagant. They can even be high-heeled to create the perfect pirate wench costume!
    • Hat or Bandanna - For long or short hair, these are great ways to accessorize your costume. Find yourself a pirate style hat, and put the bandanna on your head under it. The bandanna could either be black or red. You do not have to wear the hat, you can just wear the bandanna. If you do have longer hair, you might consider putting a few braids in your hair here and there to give it that authentic pirate look!how to make a pirate costume
    • Belt or Sash - There are two things you can do for this. You can find a belt, which should be a very wide belt with a bigger buckle preferably, and should be black or brown, depending on the colors of the rest of your costume. You can also choose to wear a sash. This should be red usually, but black will work as well. The best thing to use is a red long scarf to tie around your waist. Remember that both of these will be tied on the outside of your white button-up shirt.
    • Earrings and Jewelry - If you have pierced ears, then a few gold hoop earrings will be a great addition to your costume. Any other jewelry is completely up to you. Wear whatever you think looks good. Remember that pirates were flashy, so anything you have will be great!
    • Sword - Of course you will want to get a toy sword for safety reasons, but what pirate is complete without one?
  3. Where to Find All of It: Finding all of these items for homemade pirate costumes is much easier than you might think, and much cheaper as well!

    • Your Own House - The first place you will want to check is your own house and closet. You never know when you might have an article of clothing or accessory that will suit your costume just fine!
    • Local Thrift Store - The second place you will want to check out and the most important is your local thrift store! Go to places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill and any other stores in your area that are secondhand and dig in! You would be surprised at what you can find in these establishments! You may even be able to find boots and other accessories.
    • Garage Sale - The third place is at garage sales! This is similar to going to a thrift store--the only difference is you are most likely going to pay even less! You might find a shirt or pants for 25 cents, and who can argue with that?
    • Costume Store - Costume stores are the last place you would want to shop for anything in your costume. There are some items that may be harder to find--such as the hat--that you may need to look at a costume store for. But in order to save money, I would leave that as a last resort.
    • Toy Store - The last place you will need to go to is a toy store, primarily for the sword. This can be found anywhere from Wal-Mart to the dollar store!

These costumes are perfect for men or women - but, girls, just a few extra steps will make you a truly convincing pirate wench.

There are also a few websites listed (see links) that will give you some visuals on different pirate costumes so that you can come up with some ideas of your own. Have fun creating your pirate costume and remember, keep your creativity flowing and don't be afraid to branch out from the instructions!