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DIY Pocahontas Costume for Under $5 Tutorial

Posted Sep 06 2011 9:11am

So the last minute Pocahontas costume that I wore for the Disneyland Half Marathon was a hit! Here’s a step by step photo tutorial for you.


1. 1 adult XL tan colored t-shirt (the longer the shirt, the better because you’ll want some length in your skirt)

2. A pair of fabric scissors


1. Lay your shirt on a flat surface.

2. Cut off the sleeves from the armpit to the neckline. Do not cut off the stretchy collar around the neck. That is what will make your halter stay on!

3. Cut about 1/3 of the shirt off on the bottom. You can increase or decrease this length based on how short you want your skirt and how long you want your top. Getting a longer shirt is better so that you can make both longer and cut to desired length later. Remember that even if you think your skirt is long here, it will get short because of your butt and hips! So be generous. If you have to, get 2 tan shirts.

4. Cut off the bottom seam of the shirt. But do not cut the stitching of the seam. This will be your belt so you want it to be as strong as possible. Once you have a huge loop, cut it in one place so you have a long belt instead of an “O”. Next, cut mini slits about 1” down from the edge of your skirt. I made the distance between each slit about 1.5” a part all the way around the waist. After you do this, “sew” the belt through the loops. Because I wanted my bow tie to be on the side, I started “sewing” by a side seam so that the belt could end by the side too. When finished, loop knots for the ends of the belt.

The best way to make slits is to fold your material in half along the edge and cut small half slits. When you open up you will have full slits.

5. Start cutting off thin strips from both of the sleeves you removed earlier. This will be your fringe. I cut parallel to the sleeve’s edge so that I had a ton of thin O’s. Then cut the O’s in 1/2. Next, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you hold onto the edges of each strip and tug as much as you can. You want the strips to get thin and for the edges to curl in. It is nice that jersey cotton does this. Also, this makes the fringe look more suede-like in my opinion.

6. About 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of the skirt begin cutting double mini slits 1 inch away from each other. A double slit is basically 2 mini slits right next to each other. Do this all the way around the skirt. Then “sew” the thin strips through each double slit. Double knot. Done.

This is what your skirt will look like!

7. Next, fold the back if your shirt in half and cut about 3” in. Make each cut about 1” away from each other. Start the first cut 2-3” from the neckline and go all the way down. Then open up the shirt and cut right down the middle so that you have a bunch of loose ends to tie.

8. Next try the shirt on and have someone tie the loose ends together. This allows the shirt to now fit the shape of your body. Make it comfortably tight as the shirt will most likely stretch a little afterwards. Double knot each tie. 

9. Create fringe around the edge of the shirt as well. Use the same technique as you did for the skirt. I thought I was done until I noticed that the costume needed a little bit “MORE”. Then came the idea for a fringe bib “necklace”. Cut double slits about 1/2 inch away from each other along the curve of the neckline. Then loop long strands through and double knot. When done, cut the ends of the strands so that it looks like a “V”. Long in the middle and shorter as you move up the sides of the V.

Also, if the shirt does not fit correctly, you can make adjustments by tying 2 knots at the sides of the crew neck. This will help lift up the arm pits if they sag too much. These last 2 knots will also work as part of your fringe bib. Can you see it?

The final product! A gorgeous one of a kind DIY Indian Princess costume project that requires no thread and needles for under 5 bucks. 

Tie your hair in braids and wear your costume with some moccasins or tan sandals. 

I encourage all of you to make your own costumes this Halloween! Not only is it more satisfying (like cooking your own food), it also helps strike up a conversation with a “beautiful stranger” if you’re ever in need of a topic at a costume party.

If you make this, I wanna see!

<3 Cassey

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