How to Make Native American Dress Up


We are incapable of doing any kind of study without at least attempting to create some dress up.  I did keep it simple though and ordered five cheap t-shirts for just over £1 each.  I chose brown and a large size for all.  The older children could wear them as tops whilst the younger girls could wear them as dresses.  Ultimately I wanted to recreate the following Ojibwe dress I found on the Minnesota Historical Foundation:

Ojibwe beaded hide dress and belt by Minnesota Historical Society, via Flickr

We had t-shirts, large sharp scissors and beads:


We cut the hems off each of the t-shirts:


And cut thin strips upwards from the bottom:



We then threaded the beads onto each strip.  One bead per strip and then tied a knot to keep it from falling off.  This was a great activity because even my younger two could join in:


Here is a close up of the beaded hem:


And B3 modelling her half-finished one:


Next we cut off the sleeve hems, cut strips into the remaining hems and threaded beads, knotting each one to secure:


I used a scarf as a make-shift belt until we make one.  Here is the basic costume finished:



Over the next few weeks we will be adding bits and pieces to the costume to give it a more authentically Ojibwe look.  But even without these accessories this dress up has been a hit!

All Things Beautiful


  1. Love it! B3 is ADORABLE! Great idea and so simple. Your dress-ups are always so fantastic. I afraid I am not that creative.

    Have a lovely week, Claire. Hugs sent to you.:)

  2. Pingback: 100 Free Native American Resources

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