Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to make a sun protection pirate shirt

I rented a small Sunfish sailboat a couple of months ago at a local lake (Spofford lake in NH). To get ready for a day of full sun on the water, I decided to make a shirt to protect me, but also be cool.

I found a light colored and light weight old dress shirt that was too small and got a large pair of scissors.  I just made four cuts in the shirt. I cut each sleeve, the collar, and the bottom.

To cut, I just twisted the sleeves tight and cut through with a large scissors in one swoop. I cut the collar off at the fold-over point so there was still some collar left for neck protection, and the bottom like the sleeves. It worked like charm to protect my body, elbows, and neck (along with my Tilly hat of course). I kept only the top button buttoned to increase ventilation.


Here it is in action. Next, I need some pirate pants next to protect my knees. Cutting an old pair of light colored pants or white light weight sweat pants right at mid calf would work great.

This all made me think that maybe those pirates made their clothes tattered at the ends on purpose?! The cuffs of normal shirts and pants could get caught in ropes easily and are not good when swimming, but tee shirts and shorts don't protect elbows and knees from the sun.

I sniffed around a bit. According to Cindy Vallar, on her The History of Maritime Piracy, Pirates and Privateers site, it's somewhat true about short hems, and they liked tight clothes to keep out of ropes, but also lots of lowly crew just had old clothing.