Come Visit Us at Rhythm of the Home/Pirate Hat and Shirt Tutorial

Ahoy There!

 Today, is a very special day. The autumn edition of Rhythm Of The Home has been released (squeal), but we are also very excited to announce that one of our crafts is being featured! Please take a journey on over there, but before you do, to celebrate I've posted a free pattern and tutorial on how to make a pirate dress or tunic to go with our Pirate Hat tutorial.

The pirate hat is a sew or no sew hat that is super easy to whip-up. The pirate tunic and dress is almost just as simple! This outfit is very similar to our The Hour Dress tutorial. We whipped this adorable play shirt up in about 45 minutes. What is even better is that once you get the hang of this pattern, you can also adapt it to make night gowns, peasant shirts, and dresses. We made the pirate dress and tunic to be super roomy so that it will fit multiple ages, just perfect for dramatic play with friends or for a quick and simple Halloween outfit.


  • 1 yard of red and white stripped fabric
  • elastic thread
  • cotton thread in red or white.

If adding a felt pirate pocket you will also need:

  • Black Felt
  • Cream or White felt
  • White or cream embroidery floss (optional)
  • Black cotton thread
  • Hole punch and scissors


Fold your fabric and the cut the pieces as marked on the gray lines, for the dress and tunic piece cut up the fold as well so that you have two dress/tunic pieces. The ruffles should be about 4 " in width, the sleeves 7" in width. We only need two sleeve pieces, so you will have some left over fabric. The remaining fabric is the length of the the dress. If you are making a tunic, you will have plenty of extra fabric. We would say that 21" is a great length for the 3-7 crowd tunic size, but if you would like a custom fit or if you have a small buccaneer, simply measure from the shoulder to where you would like the tunic to end on your child and add a half inch to an inch for the seams.  The sleeves you will want to cut at 7" in width for both the tunic and the dress. 


Cut corners off of the sleeve and dress pieces as demonstrated above.   The hypotenuse or base of the right sided triangle should be about 4 inches in length. Try to make sure all the corners are cut at the same angles and length, as we will be matching them up together in a minute. (see below) Fold over bottom of sleeve and dress, and sew a 1/4" hem, marked as dotted lines in illustration above.


Now we are going to sew all our pieces together. Assemble as shown, we marked the sides of fabric that should be joined in seams with matching black and white symbols.  


Now you should have something that looks like this. Around the collar, fold under the raw edges towards the wrong side of fabric and sew a  1/8 - 1/4 " hem around the neck line, (marked with the dotted line above). We used an iron to press the seam down, this made it super simple for me to sew without pinning.  

Now fold in half, with right sides folded together, your wrong sides should be showing.  Sew a 1/4" seam as shown above, this way ours seams are on the inside.  

If you want ruffles on the bottom of your dress or tunic keep reading. If not skip ahead to step 7. Whoo-hoo!
If you are making a dress. Join two ruffle pieces together with a 1/4" hem. Then make two running stitches along the top. You will want to stop about 1/4" from the end of each ruffle before the hem, so that you will be able to gather the stitches. If you sew over the seam, the running stitch will not be able to gather past the seam. Sew 1/4" Hem at the bottom of the ruffle as well, before gathering.

*For anyone not familiar with making a gathering or running stitch; it is simply a straight stitch that is not backstitched at the beginning or end so that the thread can be pulled and fabric gathered into ruffles.  Two parallel lines of gathering stitches are made, so that if one thread breaks while gathering, your work isn't lost and can continue gathering along the second line.  Set your stitch to the longest setting possible, remember not to back stitch at the beginning and end, and leave some thread length when cutting at the end,enough for you to grab onto.  Take one thread and gently pull the fabric along the thread, creating ruffles. 

Attaching the ruffles

Now, flip your dress/tunic right side out. With the right sides together, place the top of the ruffle to the base of dress (as shown above). Double hem the gathered ruffles to the bottom of your dress (where dotted lines are marked). Note that the scalloped edges are the base where the ruffle was hemmed. The bottom with dotted lines is the top of the ruffle where we sewed a running stitch and gathered the ruffles. It looks wrong, but when finished, you should be able to flip the ruffle down, so that the base hem of the ruffle is now at the bottom, both right sides of the dress and ruffle are facing out, and the hem is on the inside. 


Now, we are going to shirr. Shiring is a quick and easy way to gather fabric.Using the elastic thread, sew on top/right side of the fabric around the collar, about 1/4"- 1/2" down.  If you  would like shirr around the dress just underneath the chest (as pictured above), do so now. If you would like the sleeves ruffled you can also shirr a line around the base of the sleeves.

We made a nifty little pocket, because of course a squash buckler needs a place to hold pieces of eight! For the pocket base, we used a small teacup plate to trace a circle onto my black felt, but anything round will do as long as it is larger than your Jolly Roger. Then using the template provided at R.O.T.H.; print and cut out the Jolly Roger. The tutorial on R.O.T.H. shows how to punch out the eyes and nose. You can attach the Jolly Roger to your circle pocket with fabric glue, or sew it on for a more secure method. We also used embroidery floss to sew a decorative blanket stitch along the edge of my black circle. To attach the pocket to the dress, sew along the white lines (as marked in picture below) with black thread, leaving the top open so that it is a pocket. 

Congrats you are finished. Now you are styled for some high sea adventures!


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