Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho--A Felt Pirate Crown Tutorial

Our Family Creates! from Code Name: Mama and Living Naturally With Children


Our theme for July's Families, Create! Make and Play Carnival was "Swashbucklers." Check out what our participants created this month:

With cat-like tread, upon their way they steal, Zoie at TouchstoneZ's sons are inspired to perform a little dramatic piracy as captured in pictures.

Brittany at Mama's Felt Cafe shares a tutorial for making an easy hand sewn felt pirate crown. No fancy stitching required!

Argh, mateys! Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written ye a tutorial to make easy pirate eye patches.

Lauren at Hobo Mama presents parrot play (sprinkled with humor) for your petite pirates.

A trip to a local botanical garden turned into a dinosaur safari at Living Peacefully with Children.

Shiver me timbers! If you have a pirate lover, check out "How to Make a Pirate Treasure Hunt Plus Other Fun Pirate Crafts and Activities" from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Be sure to join us for August's carnival, our theme is "Weird and Wonderful."


We are fans of pirate related items at my house. We even went so far as to give my son the initials ARG. Asher had a pirate themed first birthday party last year, which included some great felt pirate hats I stumbled upon at Target for a dollar a piece. 

This year, I was inspired by a felt crown my son received as a party favor a couple months ago. The crafty hostess had made a crown for each of the party goers. She made this pirate one with my son in mind:

Here is the sea of felt crowns she made for all the kids at the party:

I looked around online, I found several tutorials for felt birthday crowns but all were machine stitched. In case you don't own a sewing machine like yours truly, here is an easy hand sewn version made mostly with super simple running stitches. 

The Ingredients: 

-2 felt crown pieces. I used gray but the colors are up to you. These pieces measure 13 inches long by 6 inches to the tops of the crown spikes. How you cut the crown spikes is also open to creative license. My crown has 5 points--the two smaller points at either end are 1.5 inches wide and the bigger spikes are about 3 inches in the widest spot. 

-2 dark blue felt circles for underneath the stars. These are about 3.25 inches wide and 2.25 inches tall, just cut roughly freehand.

-1 black felt circle for under the skull and bones. This one is 2.75 inches wide and 3.25 inches tall. 

-2 white felt stars. I have a stencil I used for these, which are 1.75 inches at the widest spot. You can also free hand these or find a clip art star to trace. 

-1 white felt skull and bones applique. I'll post the image I traced to make mine below. 

-1 piece of elastic. I happened to have 1/8 inch wide elastic on hand but wider elastic, about a half inch, would work great. The crown needs about 6 inches of elastic, but I cut 8 inches to give me some extra to work with. 

-1 piece of felt for the elastic casing. Since my elastic is tiny, I wanted to cover it for durability. My piece is 12 inches long by an inch wide. If you are using wider elastic, you'll want to make your casing piece wider to fit. The length should be double the length of the elastic so that it bunches up. If you are using  half inch wide elastic, you don't need to make a casing at all if you don't want to and can just leave the elastic exposed. 

-Embroidery floss to match. I did a contrasting white thread for the appliques and matching gray for the rest of the crown. 

The Recipe: 

First, we need the skull applique. I'm not artist, but I am a tracer! I did a quick google search for free skull and bones clip art and found this guy. I down loaded the image, copied it into MS Word and sized it down just a bit, so that it took up the top sixth or so of the page. The image here is after my resizing, so you should be able to print it out and use it. I traced the outside and cut the eye and nose holes. They don't have to be perfect or even. Pirates tend to be an unruly bunch so perfectionism is not necessary for this project. 

Next, start sewing the stars to the dark blue circles. I just used two stitches per star point.

After the stars, sew the skull onto the black circle. Be sure to stitch around the eyes and nose holes, too. The ends of the bones hung off the ends of mine, which is ok.

Now, pin down the circles where you want them on the top layer of the crown piece. 

Add running stitches all around the circles to secure them to the crown. I kept my stitches contrasting but you can use matching thread if you like. 

Continue until all of the appliques are secured to the crown. I added a couple stitches to the bones where they overhung, too. 

Next, we want to make the elastic casing. Fold this piece in half and whip stitch it together to form a tube. 

After the casing was done, I safety pinned the elastic to the end of the felt casing and fed the elastic through. 

While pinned, I back stitched the elastic to the casing, ensuring the elastic wasn't going to come loose. Once it was secure, I scrunched the casing down until I got to the other end of the elastic. Since I had cut about two inches more of elastic than needed, I pulled until I had that extra exposed then safety pinned and back stitched the other end. Cut off the excess elastic. 

Here is the completed elastic casing. You can see it scrunches along the whip stitches nicely. 

Next comes crown construction. Sew a running stitch along the bottom edge of both crown pieces. 

When you round the corner of the crown, measure about a half inch up from the bottom and this is where the elastic will go. Put the casing about a half inch deep between the crown pieces then back stitch to secure the elastic piece. 

Do a second row of back stitches to ensure the casing piece isn't going any where. 

Continue to sew running stitches around the spikes of the crown. 

When you get down the far side of the crown, we are going to sew the second end of the elastic piece in just like on the other side.  Sew two rows of back stitches, with the casing a half inch deep and a half inch from the bottom of the crown. Make sure your casing piece isn't twisted when you sew it in. I kept the casing seam to the bottom. Finish the remaining running stitches down to the corner of the crown and knot off your thread. 

Our crown is now complete! This same basic idea can be used to make pretty much any themed felt crown by changing the colors and the appliques. Is your little matey the king of the swashbucklers and pirates? Yo-ho, yo-ho, it's a pirate's life for me!

Happy Felt Sewing!



  1. This will go really well with my booty.

  2. Very cool! The casing is an extra-nice touch.

    25. I made 25 different crowns for the party. The girls' crowns mostly got flowers, but the boys' were more creative. When I see the little ones wearing them even after the festivities it makes me a happy crafter. Thanks for the mention. This is a great post and a highly recommended addition to any dress-up box!

  3. This is such a clever and simple way to make a crown! And I LOVE all of the crowns she made as party favors - what a ton of work!

  4. Thank you for sharing this post. I am a bit intimidated by felt crafts (mostly because I haven't done them, yet) but since my kids are super into pirates, I'm going to give this a go for sure. If I can do it in time, this might be great for my second son's 3rd birthday in 3 weeks!


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