How to Make a Pocahontas Costume

Four Methods:One-piece DressTwo-piece with PonchoTwo-piece with HalterAccessories

Whether it be for a play or just for fun, Pocahontas is a great character. Here are some suggestions for creating your own Pocahontas outfit and accessories. This costume is great for most ages and can be a cheap and quick one afternoon DIY project.

Method 1
One-piece Dress

  1. Image titled Make a Pocahontas Costume Step 1
    Find an earthy-colored material. Choose one made of cotton or other light plant matter, such as hemp or linen. Make sure you have enough material to create a dress for your shape and height.
    • You'll probably want a lighter or darker brown for an accent color, too. This will be at your waistline and as fringe on the top and bottom. Be less concerned with the texture of this accent color -- but for your dress, make sure it won't irritate your skin.
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    Make a Pocahontas style dress (see the photo for the shape). Basic patterns can be found online or at any fabric supply store. What's more, you can pick a pattern that you think will look best for your body type.
    • Don't forget to include the strips at the base of the costume and at the top half of the costume. To create the fringe, just cut strips in a wide layer of fabric and attach to the top and bottom seam.
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    Attach a cotton material belt. A thin rope would also work. Anything that is earthy and doesn't scream factory-made will do the job.

Method 2
Two-piece with Poncho

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    Buy two lengths of faux-suede material. Pick any shade of brown you like. If you don't know how much to buy, consult an expert at the fabric store. An average sized female will need around 2 yards (1.8 m).
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    Fold one piece of your material in half. One of the edges where it's folded over will be your head hole. Fold over that corner.
    • Cut your poncho to the desired length; remember to account for slits that will become fringe. This will depend on your height and your coverage preferences.
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    Cut the neck area. Turn your material inside out before you begin cutting. Cut across the corner you previously folded over.
    • Sew the open edge, creating a poncho-like shape. The other side is folded and doesn't need to be sewn. Turn it right side out again.
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    Cut the fringes. If you're not comfortable eyeballing it (or don't have a lined sewing mat), turn it inside out and mark lines down the sides with a ruler and pen. The fringes can be any length, but they should be about 1" (2.5 cm) wide and evenly spaced.
    • For a grown woman, fringes almost a foot long are appropriate if using a full torso-covering poncho.
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    Grab a second piece of material for your skirt. Use a skirt you have in your closet already for a rough pattern. The amount of material you need will depend on how long you want your skirt to be.
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    Cut out your skirt material. An asymmetrical edge is the quintessential Pocahontas look. Aim for around the mid-thigh and end around the knee. But again: remember to leave length for the fringe! Pocahontas' booty was not hanging out.
    • Sew the edges about 2/3 of the way down, depending on your skirt length. This is because you'll be cutting away at the material anyway for the fringe. You won't need an entire seam sewn.
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    Cut the fringe. You'll want fringe that looks similar to the one on your poncho. Use strips of similar width and length. They do not have to be perfect -- in fact, imperfect fringe may look better and not so geometrical.
    • Use an extra piece of fabric as a belt to keep the skirt up, if need be. The poncho should cover up the top of the skirt, so if you have an awkward issue, it can be easily remedied.
    • If you have more material left over, cut fringes into it and stick it into your shoes or boots! Footwear? Check!

Method 3
Two-piece with Halter

  1. Image titled Make a Pocahontas Costume Step 11
    Purchase a tan t-shirt that's much, much, much too big for you. You'll need extra length for the skirt, too. This will be your entire outfit, so go for length in addition to diameter.
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    Cut off the sleeves from the armpit to the neckline. But you need the collar, so don't touch it! That's going to be how your shirt stays on. This will be easy if you spread the shirt over a flat surface.
    • Also cut off the bottom 1/3 of the shirt. Eyeball how long you want the top and skirt. If you want a longer skirt, cut a longer bottom piece. Account for your butt and hips -- they'll make a long-looking skirt into a short one.
      • Two tan shirts are always an option. They're pretty cheap and can be found at most craft supply stores.
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    Cut off the bottom seam of the shirt. This will be your belt, so don't mess with it too much -- you are using it later. Cut one slice into the loop, forming a long strip.
    • About 1" (2.5 cm) from the edge of your skirt, start cutting tiny slits for the belt to be inserted into. They should be 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) apart and only big enough so the belt can go through the holes.
      • Thread your belt through these loops. You may start at the center, side, or back, depending on where you want your bow. Double knot the ends for securing.
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    Cut the sleeves into fringe. Take 1" (2.5 cm) wide sections and cut off strips of fabric. You should have a bunch of loops of fabric (and no semblance of a sleeve) once you're finished. Cut into all of them creating a handful of strips of brown fabric. When the edges curl in, don't fret: you want them to. This outfit is about the right imperfections.
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    Cut double mini slits into the bottom edge of your skirt. This will be what anchors the fringe. A double mini slit is basically two mini slits very close to each other with a very narrow strip of fabric in between. You're going to lace the fringe you just made into these slits.
    • Start about 1" (2.5 cm) from the bottom edge of your skirt. Each set of two slits should be about 1" away from each other. Once you've laced all the fringe into the slits, double knot them, securing them to your skirt.
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    Make slits in the back of your shirt. They should be about 3" (7.5 cm) across at the top and get bigger as the material gets wider. Start about 2-3" (5-7.5 cm) away from the neckline.
    • Cut one giant slice through the back of your slits so you have a whole bunch of pieces to tie together. Go right through the center so all your eventual knots line up.
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    Add fringe to the bottom of your shirt. Use the same method as you used with the skirt. If your neckline is looking a little bare, add fringe to it too, cutting double mini slits and using any extra fringe you have from the remaining sleeve.
    • If your neckline is looking too t-shirt-like, take two pieces of fringe and tie them each in a bow on the left and right sides of the front of your necklace. This will create more of a square shape and do away with the t-shirt vibe.
    • Have someone else tie up the back of your shirt. They'll be able to contour it to the shape of your body.

Method 4

  1. Image titled Make a Pocahontas Costume Step 18
    Wear bronzer on your cheeks to give yourself a tanned look. Don't go too overboard -- Pocahontas certainly wasn't orange. If your skin is pale, go for a sunkissed look with blushes and bronzers.
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    Wear a wooden beaded necklace. If you made it yourself, all the better! Check out images of Pocahontas online if you want to imitate the Disney character. Hers was blue with a white pendant.
    • The necklace is a good opportunity to add color to your costume. Consider armbands and bracelets as well, but don't go overboard. Pick one or two accessories. Less is more here.
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    Find a long flowing dark wig at a costume hire store or similar outlet. If you'd like to make it more manageable, braid it into one or two long braids. Pocahontas doesn't have to have dark hair, but it is the traditional look.
    • If you have long hair already, you may want to invest in a swimming cap to keep your tresses from sneaking out and putting a damper on your completed look.
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    Braid a headband. Use the same material you used to make your outfit. Cut three long strands and braid them together, starting with the end knotted.
    • Braid enough to wrap around your head, but leave loose ends to dangle. You can then attach beads or feathers to the hanging ends to spice up your outfit. Just tie at the base of your head and then again at the bottom of the strands.


  • Your fringes do not all have to be perfect in symmetry. Create a look that is purposefully a little haphazard. It'll work.
  • Do not wear heavy make-up; keep it natural looking.

Things You'll Need

  • Brown fabric(s)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (for methods 1 and 2)
  • Beads/feathers/embellishments
  • Dark wig

Article Info

Categories: Fairy Princess and Doll Costumes | Historical Costumes