Once we had the main pirate garments and hat in place, we started adding different details to the costume to see what worked. The gold earring and eye patch were obvious, but the weapons load out took a little bit of strategizing.
First, I looped two long leather belts together to make an across-the-body holster. A cutlass was just slipped through a loop where the two belts met at the hip. My boyfriend really wanted to strap some pistols to the front of the belt, but I was skeptical until I actually saw the result. They are just held on with black elastic hair bands, but they really add to the overall look of the costume. That pirate looks locked and loaded and ready for action!
Also, he found a heavy leather belt with a big brass buckle in front. The rivets and tooling on the belt, and the brass, add to the pirate look. Overall, I was very pleased with the final effect of the complete pirate costume.
Now that I had the jacket and shirt, I needed a pirate hat. I have an old, foam tricorn hat, but wanted something a little sturdier, and nicer looking for my pirate costume. I googled around and found a tutorial that suggested buying a large women’s straw hat, covering it with fabric, and stitching the three sides up against the crown. I won’t go into great detail, but the overview is that I used spray-on adhesive to glue donut-shaped fabric pieces to the top and bottom of the brim. I then covered the top of the cap with fabric – also using adhesive – and wrapped the sides of the cap part with a wide strip of fabric. Almost like a very wide hat band.
I left a few inches all around the brim on both the top and bottom pieces. I should have just trimmed the fabric to exactly the size of the brim and painted or colored the exposed straw edge. Instead, I cut down the top piece of fabric to the brim size, and then folded over the fabric and secured it with hot glue. It looks great from the bottom, but the top is a mess. Fortunately, not much of it shows once the hat now that the three corners are stitched up – but I wish I had ended up with a cleaner looking job.
The trim is just hot glued on in a single, wide strip, after the sides are sew up and tacked to the cap part. I was looking for gold trim, but the burgundy works just as well, I think.
I had been looking for a pirate jacket for a long time. I wanted something in brown or black, with a fitted top, but something that opened up at the waist. So when I found this long coat, in a neutral brown canvas, I was thrilled.
I thought that I would have to put brocade or trim or buttons on it to make it pirate-y, but it turned out (after a lot of trial and error) that as long as the other pieces were in place, it needed nothing. And because I didn’t touch the jacket, it can serve in the future as a steam-punk coat, or a cowboy duster.
In face, I was really surprised at how quickly it went from being a pirate jacket (when worn with a tricorn hat) to a cowboy duster (when worn with a cowboy hat.) In this case, the pirate accessories and details really do make the pirate costume. The black pants turned out to be a critical piece. With jeans, the jacket leans toward looking cowboy.
But another other thing that pushed the outfit solidly into pirate territory was the flouncy cuffs. As with everything else, I first mocked up the sleeves by just stuffing some white fabric into the cuffs to see how lace or ruffled sleeves would look. And it was immediately clear that they would greatly improve the look.
I went looking for a white gauzy shirt that I could add sleeve ruffles onto. I was specifically looking for a white shirt with no collar, and ended up accidentally choosing a women’s blouse with a tuxedo-like front. It turned out that the front pleats also added subtly to the pirate look. All I did was gather some white fabric and stitch it on the ends of the sleeves. The overall look of the sleeves didn’t matter, since only the ruffles would show.