Pirate Dress

I’m way behind on my crafting blog posts! Ack!

Where to begin? How about a Pirate Dress? Late this Summer, L was invited to a Pirate Birthday Party. On Pinterest I found a pin for an easy pirate dress here. It was absolutely darling and I decided to try one myself. I found some bandanas at Joann’s and decided on bandanas that were 1/2 red, 1/2 blue. I loved the red and blue combo! After looking at the bandanas and the tutorial I decided rather than go on a hunt for a good knit fabric (Joann’s was conspicuously devoid of any knits at the time), I’d make this into a t-shirt dress instead of a skirt. I chose a size 6-8 Hanes kids white T for the bodice.

For this project I used 1 T-shirt, 2 bandanas , a bowl, a fabric marking pen, white thread, iron-on interfacing, pins, a sewing machine and an iron/iron board.

Now if you take a skinny 5 year old and put her in a basic 6-8 sized Hanes kids shirt you’ll find a baggy saggy mess that looks like something she should sleep in, not wear in public. I’ll stop right here and warn you, I am NOT a master seamstress. I’m basically a beginner with very little experience. I’ve never really completed anything since Home Economics class in Junior High/Middle School. More than once I’ve had great aspirations, but not enough skill to complete a pattern! So I just measured the shirt on my daughter and rather than deconstruct the T, I just sewed the sleeves and sides to fit her slim build. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked!

I washed the bandana and the shirt (separately) and ironed them all before I started sewing.

Once the shirt was “tailored”, I went to the tutorial for the directions on making the skirt. I found a mixing bowl I had that was between 3 and 4 inches in diameter. Honestly I didn’t measure the bowl, I just found one that matched the diameter of the design in middle of the bandanas.

20131112-103705.jpgI traced around the bowl with the fabric maker on the center of both bandanas and with sharp scissors cut the circles neatly out of both bandanas.

20131112-104801.jpg Save the circles!

The next step seems confusing at first, but as you go along it starts to make sense. Don’t take my word for it, read the original tutorial, she says the same thing! Fold your first bandana in half. Find the center fold and cut a straight line from the one finished edge up to the circle you’ve already cut out. Do not cut the bandana in half!

20131112-104905.jpg Repeat this step on the second bandana. Now line up the two bandanas with right sides facing each other. If you are using bandanas like mine, with 2 colors, make sure you cut them and line them up the way you want them in the skirt. I wanted a blue, red, blue, red pattern so I cut into the blue side of the fabric on both bandanas. Pin the bandanas together one one side of the cut.

20131112-105808.jpg Sew that one side together.


Now open the bandanas up and press the the seam open.

20131112-110618.jpg Don’t ya just love all these photos?! Put the un-sewn sides together you’ll see the circles you cut out of the bandanas are now two times their original size and big enough to make a waist!

20131112-111440.jpgDon’t sew the open side of the bandana…trust me!

Now, pin the bandanas to the shirt, right sides together. I made simple pin tucks to make the skirt fit the shirt and make it fuller and cuter!


20131112-113223.jpgMake sure the bandana is above the hemline of the shirt when pen pinning. Also, be sure that when you are pinning that you leave enough of the cut ends to overlap for a 1/2″ seam allowance. Pin the seam and sew and press.

20131112-114430.jpg Now, turn shirt and pinned bandanas so the wrong sides are together and sew along the hemline so the seam is “invisible”. My shirt had two hem seams so I sewed along both to for stability.


Almost done! Remember those circles I told you to save? Get ’em now. Pin to interfacing and adhere following interfacing directions.


20131112-115956.jpgTrim neatly and pin to shirt front. I sewed mine on using a zigzag stitch around the edge.

Congratulations! That’s it! Now you are ready for any pirate adventures, Memorial Day, Veterans Day or Fourth of July! This dress has gotten a ton of use! We made it for the pirate party, but shes wears it to school, for play and just any old day. She doesn’t need any other reason than she wants to twirl!


I was right to choose this dress method over the skirt. The drop waist created by the bigger T makes this a better fit for my active girl who doesn’t like people to see her undies! Sorry the pictures aren’t the best, I think one of the kids fiddled with the exposure setting and made everything dark!

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