Sunday, October 7, 2012

Easy Peasy One Piece Child's Pirate Shirt

Halloween Costume Series #2

Easy Peasy One Piece Child's Pirate Shirt

My three year old has a thing for pirates so it was no surprise to me when I asked him what he wanted to be for halloween and he told be he wanted to be a pirate.  This got me pretty excited because I kind of love period costumes.  Of course I also don't have tons of time to spend on something really elaborate, or tons of money for that matter.  After thinking about it and how it would look, and almost buying the needed fabric, it occurred to me that I just might have everything I need in my own fabric stash.  What do you know? After a careful and thoughtful search through my stash, I was able to find ALL the fabric I needed for every part of his costume!  You can't beat FREE; unless you pair it with EASY... which is just what I did. :)

What you will need:
  • About a half yard of white muslin... less if your pirate is a little guy.  Mine is, and I think I used a 1/4 yard.
  • one of your little pirate's long sleeved shirts to use as a template
  • pen, pencil, or other marking utensil 
  • 6-10 inches of 1/4in. elastic.  Two lengths long enough to fit around your pirate's wrists without stretching, plus a 1/2 inch. 
  • White thread

Step 1

Fold your fabric in half and place the long sleeved shirt on the fabric with the arms straight out like a T and the top of the shirt flush with the fold of the fabric.  Trace around the shirt adding about two inches to the width of the sleeves, and a half inch to an inch everywhere else.  Really use your best judgment.  A pirate shirt should be billowy with puffy sleeves so err on the side of bigger.  Also round out the armpits a good bit to keep it comfy and not bunchy in there. 

Step 2

Cut out the shirt.  It should be just one piece with the fold along the top of the shirt.  Mark where the hole for the neck should be.  I made a kind of Y shape with a bit of a scoop in the back of the neck.  Cut out the neck hole, and before you do anything else, try it on over your pirate's head.  Never underestimate the size of a 3 year old cranium.  It is way bigger than you think.  I cut the bottom line of that  Y about 4 times before I could slip it over his head.  LOL!  You can see the difference in size as the pictures progress.

Step 3 (Optional)

This is an optional step.  Feel free to skip it if you don't mind the neck being unfinished (it's a pirate costume, after all) or if you're in a super rush, or whatever reason.  You can even zigzag or serge the edge if you want. 
I liked the look of the finished edge at the neck.  To do this you will need a scrap of fabric about an inch wider on all sides than the neck hole to make a facing.  I traced the opening on the facing so you can see where I sewed it (right sides together if you are using a printed material).  

Cut out the neck hole in the facing.  Turn the facing under, clip the corners, and top stitch all around the neck.  You may also wish to finish the edge of the facing.

facing turned, clipped, and topstitched 

Step 4 (Optional)

This is also an optional step.  Finish the edges of the shirt: the cuffs and the hem.  You can press them under twice and sew, or you can leave them a little ragged, like I did, by zigzagging or serging them.  I didn't have any fabric to spare since I used scrap fabric, and hemming would have made everything a little too short.  This finish was fast, easy, and pirate-looking.

Step 5

Measure and cut the appropriate amount of elastic for the cuff.  It should fit around your pirate's wrist without stretching plus a half inch for the seam.  Sew it to the wrong side of the cuff 1/4 inch in.  When sewing elastic, use a zigzag stitch, and pull the fabric away from you from behind the machine, while keeping a firm hold on the stretched elastic in the front.  When you are done it should look like this:

Step 6

With right sides together, stitch up the two side seams.  Again, finishing the seams if you desire.

You are done!  Wasn't that easy peasy??

Click these links for Pirate Costume parts 2-4 where I will show you how to make the pants, vest, and boots.


  1. I made your pirate shirt for my son and he LOVES it! Thank you! :-)

  2. I just made this shirt and it was SO quick and easy! Thank you!!