DIY Pirate Running Costume – The Top Half

I went back and forth about how to do this how-to post. Do I break it up into each individual piece? Do I do one LONG blog post about the whole outfit? I just wasn’t sure. Finally I decided to break it up into the top half and bottom half of the outfit. Today we start with the top half!

We started with the headwrap, which is pretty easy.

  1. Cut a 4 inch strip of fabric, at least 45 inches long. We used the same red satin that we were going to use for the skirt.
  2. Taper ends as shown in the picture below.
  3. We finished the edges with a serger just to make things quicker. You can hem the edges or not, it is up to you. But you need to do one or the other. Satin frays like you wouldn’t believe, so you have to do something to keep those edges in check.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

For the top we have two ways you can go. You can either turn an existing running tank into a corset top and make sleeves to go with it. Or you can do what we did and alter an existing costume.

We started with a witch costume that I wore for Halloween this year. I got the costume for REALLY cheap, so I wasn’t worried about what happened to it. Our plan was to leave the costume in tact for as long as possible. In the end we had to cut off a layer of the skirt, but I now have a super kickass pirate costume so it is okay with me.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

As you can see, the top of the costume was perfect for where we wanted to go with the pirate costume. It had the lace up front and the poofy sleeves already, but we wanted to make the sleeves longer. I’m order to do this we created a second sleeve that we then attached to the existing sleeves on the outfit.

To add sleeves to existing outfit:

1.  Measure around existing elastic at bottom of sleeves (stretch it out first) to find the width of fabric you will need. Ours measured 12″, but we needed to double that to make a full sleeve – 12”x2 = 24”.

2.  Guestimate on the length of your fabric by where you want the next “poof” to be and how long you want the full sleeve to be. We went with around 18” for the total length.

3.  Measure down 9” to attach elastic for next “poof.”

4.  To attach elastic stretch it out to sew it on, but “tack” each end of elastic to each side of your piece at 9 inches

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

5.  PULL LIKE HELL as you sew on the elastic with a small zig-zag stitch. You need to stretch out your elastic so that it will stretch correctly after it is sewn on and the stitching won’t pop out.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

6.  Pin long sides with right sides together and sew down the side. This will give you a sleeve shaped tube with elastic 9″ down.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

7.  Turn sleeve right side out.

8.  Pin new sleeve to existing sleeve. Setting it on top of the existing sleeve bottom elastic. Make sure to pin your new sleeve to the INSIDE of the existing sleeve.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

9.  Pin the new sleeve to the old sleeve in 4 places. We first pinned it at the seams and then put the next pins halfway in-between those on the front and back.

10. Stretch existing sleeves elastic and sew new sleeve to it along the elastic using a small zig-zag stitch. If you need to put a tiny stuck in the new sleeve to get it to fit, that is fine since it will not show.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

11.  Try on your sleeves and see how the “new” elastic feels. it should sit right above your elbow and be just tight enough to create a “poof.” If your elastic isn’t tight enough, you can take in the sleeve some to make it tighter.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

If you don’t have a spare witch costume laying around, you can create a similar look by making separate sleeves and a corset tank top. This is also a good idea if the weather is going to be super hot or if you just don’t like the idea of the added weight.

To make separate sleeves:

1. Cut same sized pieces of fabric as above.

2. Finish top edge.

3. Put two strips of elastic – 1 piece 1” below top and another 9” below that. Attach as instructed above in step 4.

4. Finish as instructed above starting with step 5.

To turn a running tank into a corset top:

*Note: We used white and orange just so that it showed up on the tank for pictures. You would use colors to match the rest of your costume/skirt. We suggest gold or bronze buttons to give it that pirate look.

1.  Attach 6-8 small shank buttons to front of tank starting just below the bust, about 4 inches apart. You will end up with 3-4 row of 2 buttons each.  We recommend sewing the buttons on so that you don’t ruin your tank and they can be removed after. If you are in a hurry, hot glue will work just fine.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

2.  Using a thin ¼” or less ribbon and lace it up, starting from the bottom, and tie your leftover ribbon in a bow at the top.

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

And there you have it my friends – the top half of your pirate running costume is complete!

DIY Pirate Running Costume - Top Half

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