How to Make a Buccaneer Pirate Hat

Things You'll Need

  • Black or brown double-sided, heavyweight fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Red lightweight cloth
  • Tape measure

Pirates are all the rage these days, particularly given the popularity of Captain Jack Sparrow and others. Renaissance Festivals often have entire weekends devoted to pirate lore, and many libraries, schools and shops around the country celebrate all things swashbuckling. Part of the fun of events like this is the costume aspect - after all, who doesn’t want to dress up like their favorite scalawag? In addition to the fancy coat, a big sword, and some high boots, one of the most important parts of the pirate costume is the hat. Because the golden age of piracy was in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, most pirate headwear can be simply adapted from a tricorn hat. Here's how to make your own.

Measure your head with a tape measure. If you don't have one, use a piece of string or ribbon. Loosely measure the circumference of your head, making sure you leave room for your hair -- you don't want the hat to be too tight. This measurement will be measurement A.

Make the inner headband. The inner headband of the buccaneer hat is very important - it's what the rest of the hat will sit on. This should measure A + 1" in length, by about 2" wide. Once you've measured the headband and cut it out of the black or brown material, sew the ends together, using about a half-inch seam. Before you go any further, slip this around your head, and make sure it's going to fit comfortably. If it doesn’t, go ahead and adjust it now, because you won't be able to later on.

Make the top of the hat. To make the top, circular part of the tricorn hat, you'll need to make a circle out of your black or brown fabric. The circumference should be about A x 2. In other words, if your A measurement is 22", your circle should have a circumference of 44" or so. Cut the circle out. Gather the edges and paste into place, so that it will fit into the headband.

Sew the gathered edges of the circle onto the headband. Make sure you adjust your gathers evenly, so they are spread out at equal distances. What you'll have now is a mushroom-sort of shape hat, with the round part on top for your head, above the headband.

Measure and draw the brim. To do this, stand the mushroom on top of your remaining black or brown fabric, so that the bottom edge of the headband is sitting on the material. Trace a circle around the bottom edge of the headband. Then, move out about four to five inches from the headband, and trace a wide triangular shape around the headband, to form the brim of your buccaneer hat.

Cut out the brim. Cut out the circle in the center, and set it aside. You won't need it. Cut out the triangular edges of the brim. Angle the corners so they aren't pointy.

Sew the inside of the circle to the inside lining of the headband. It's a good idea to pin it in place first, and then try it on (carefully) to make sure it still fits.

Fold up the outer edges of the brim. Fold each of the three sides up and whipstitch them in place above the headband. This gives you a tricorn hat.

Wrap the red fabric around your head, tying it in the back to form a bandanna. Place the hat on top of the red bandanna, and now you're ready to go out and conquer the high seas!


  • If you're handy with a needle and thread, you can attach a gold ribbon or trim around the edges of the hat brim.


  • Be sure to use a fabric that is heavy enough. This hat will be floppy if you use a lightweight material, so buy some craft-grade felt or upholstery fabric for the best look.