Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Pirate's Life for Me!

Cavalier-Style Pirate Hat
These are projects I made before I started my blog, but since they are some of my favorite pieces, I felt like it was time to share them.

I'm a huge nerd, and I fell in love with Renaissance Faires a few years back. I wanted to put together an awesome costume, but I wanted to do it on a budget. Believe it or not, if you have some sewing skill, you can do it. Especially if you want to be a pirate.

Goodwill/Salvation army became my best friend. Oversized men's pants can be belted and gathered at the waist to make poofy pants. Peasant skirts can get layered and picked-up in places to make a very gypsy-look. Honestly, if you keep an open mind, anything can become a pirate costume. Oh, and don't expect to do it all in one trip/store. Frequenting the re-sale shops will eventually get you what you're looking for.

Anyways, I have found that the most important piece of any pirate costume is the epic awesome pirate hat. Unfortunately, it can also be an insanely expensive piece. I was willing to shell out up to $100 if I found the exact right hat, but I wasn't seeing anything that I absolutely loved.

Now, I know I'm cheap, and I know that finding anything at a ren faire for under $100 is asking alot, but I have so many costumes that I only wear 2-3 times a year, I can't spend a fortune on them. So I sought out to make my own. Really, I wanted to just find a hat-blank for $20 and build from there, but the cheapest I found (in felted wool) was for about $45.

Hmmm, Felted Wool? I can work with wool, and I can felt it. I thought about it, and went out hunting for a knit/crochet pattern. I ended up at I found her patten for the tricorn hat, and I thought it was the perfect way to make my own hat-blank.
Purple Pirate Hat

For my cavalier hat, I worked 1 strand of red wool with 1 strand of black for the first few rounds. For the purple pirate hat, I did 2 strands of purple eyelash along with the 2 strands of black.

I blocked and starched them, but unfortunately they didn't seem to keep their shape very well, so I opted to get some black wire from the florist dept at Joann's, and I hid it around the edge. The purple eyelash hid it on that hat, but I added antique-gold trim on the cavalier hat to better hide it on that one. The buttons on the side were a random assortment of things from my jewelry box, as well as buttons, earrings, chain, and you name it. The feathers also came from Joann's.

When all is said and done, including the wool, the wire, the buttons, the eyelash, and all the feathers, each hat cost about $40. Still less than the cost of a hat-blank from the faire. Plus, each hat is exactly the right colors and style for the wearer. I love it when I get compliments on the hat, or when people ask where we bought them! Even better, because of the wire, these hats fold flat and can be packed in a suitcase easily. They pop right back into shape when unpacked!


  1. Looove it!!!

    I need to commission one of these from you someday.

  2. how fun! you should be so proud!