Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Child's Pirate Vest

Halloween Costume Series #5

Child's Pirate Vest (and sash)

If you're just joining us, I've been blogging for the past week about my homemade Halloween costumes.  This year, my 3 year old is going to be a pirate and I finished his costume just this morning!  It's so cute!!  And guess what?  It didn't cost me a dime because I was able to find everything I needed in my fabric stash (and scrap pile in the case of today's pieces)

This totally perfect vest was made from scraps of a baby sling I made for my little Sweetheart almost three years ago.  It's suede cloth and I love how the print on top makes it really look like worn leather.  Perfect for a pirate!

What you will need:

  •  about 1/4 yard of fabric (I used suede cloth)
  • pin or other marking utensil
  • your pirate shirt or what ever your pirate will be wearing underneath it.
  • thread

Step 1

Trace the back of the vest using your pirate shirt as a guide.  Either fold the fabric so the fold runs down the center of the shirt, or if you're fabric piece is too narrow to cover the entire back (like mine was), trace half the back, adding a seam allowance to the center, and use it to make the second side from another piece (trace with right sides together so they are opposite). 
When making the arm hole, make sure it is wide enough that your poofy pirate shirt can fit through.  It should also be longer than the shirt.  How much longer is up to you.  See the picture below for a better idea of how this piece should look.  Remember to give yourself a seam allowances all the way around (mine are generally 1/4 inch).

Step 2

Using the back piece(s) as a guide, trace the two front pieces.  Fold your fabric in half to make two.  Make the curves around the arms come in further in the front for better comfort.  Make a half V at the neck line.  Don't forget the seam allowances.

Step 3 

This is optional.  If you would rather leave the edges unfinished for a rough look (or if you just don't have the time), then skip the facings.  If you do want finished edges, trace and cut out the facing for the neck back, and 2 each front and back arm holes.  They should all be about 1 inch wide.  See picture for  details on what I mean exactly.

Step 4

Sew up the back seam if, like me, you made it in two pieces.  Then sew on all the facings by meeting up the corresponding pieces, sewing right sides together, then clipping the curves, turning and top stitching.  Then fold under, press, and sew the front edges on both sides. Finishing these edges is the most time consuming step, and obviously you can skip it like I said in step 3.  All in all it took me about 10 or 15 minutes to sew on all the facings, so not bad.

Step 5 

With right sides together sew the shoulder and side seam on one side, then sew them on the other side. 

sew the shoulder and side seams

Step 6

Finally, fold under, press, and sew the bottom hem.  If you choose not to finish the edges, do trim the bottom edge to make it all nice and even if you need to.

Hem the bottom
Hey!  You have a pirate vest!

I also made a sash and head scarf to completely finish the outfit.  I purposefully left the edges of these pieces unfinished.  They were made from a scrap of satin from a dress I had once made.  A lady's scarf or a deconstructed necktie would also work.  A sword we picked up during this summer's visit to Disney World is the perfect accessory.  

My little pirate is so stinking cute, I can't even deal!!  Totally worth the time it took to make. I love that I spent zero money and it looks way WAY more fab than what I could have bought at any discount store!

In case you haven't read my other posts in the series so far, here are the links for the shirt, pants, and boots, as well as the truck costume I made last year.  

Next up my little Adventurer's digger costume!!  Come on back and see how to make it!


  1. This is awesome, Thank you! I am making my children's costumes this year as well. Well, my youngest is gonna be a renewed pumpkin (had to add elastic and stuffing) But thanks to your blog, I was able to finish my daughter's pirate costume much quicker. I made the "boots", the shirt and the vest. Again, thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Glad to help out! I always enjoy making my kid's costumes. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hello, I must say you saved my little one´s first birthday. I made him a costume with your tutorial and it was a big success! Thank you very-very much indeed! :)

  3. Thank you for your interesting and informative blog. I have enjoyed reading it and appreciate the work you have put into it. Here is some relevant information for you to review .
    Kids Tactical Vests

  4. Thank you for posting these directions for the Pirate outfit. I was looking for simple, no pattern directions and yours were the best! I'm dressing some skeletons as pirates and your approach to the costume was perfect!