Ok, ignore Prince Eric and Grimsby for a minute. We’re looking at the little guys in the background here. We needed sailor costumes for 7 middle schoolers. My plan was to do a simple, open-collared shirt with knickers.

For the shirts, I purchased cheap, neutral colored bedsheets from Savers/Goodwill, and constructed them using the tutorial from Buns and Baskets here.  Most of the kids did fine at the 75% size, except one who needed a full sized one. My modifications were:

  1. I added an actual collar (I drew a pattern based on a collared shirt grabbed from the closet), then added it like the collar in the tutorial.
  2. Instead of buttons at the sleeves, I cut a 2″ strip of elastic and used it to hold the edges of the cuffs together. Since these kids need to do a couple costume changes, this makes it faster.
  3. Most of the kids were fine with the open V in the neck of the shirt. A couple were self-conscious about it, so I added buttons on one side, and loop closures made from hair-ties on the other end. Faster than doing buttonholes!

For the knickers, I just took black pants, chopped them off just below the knee, then gathered the new pants end a little bit and sewed 2″ of the bottom cuff back on. There’s a good explanation of this method here. I didn’t worry about finding actual pleated pants – any pants that fit the kids worked.

The kids wanted to feel a bit more sailor/pirate-y, so they dug in the costume closet and found bandannas and sashes for the waist. Some of the sashes are actually flowery scarves, but you hardly see them, so it works.