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A Pirates Life for Christmas (Free Sewing Pattern)

My siblings and I fought the giggles that were tickling the insides of our tummies. Thump thump thump….. Boom! My brother flew into the bedroom and slammed the door behind him. “Mom and Dad are still downstairs and there aren’t any presents yet! I almost got in so much trouble for peeking!” We all laughed and then went back to playing. The minor disappointment of the presents not being there didn’t ruin the excitement of what was waiting for us in the morning. It was almost enough to keep us up all night! My siblings and I made it a tradition to sleep in the same room on Christmas eve. Really I say sleep, but I mean stay up as long as possible waiting for Santa Claus to come. On Christmas morning the first one of us to wake would awaken the others, then run down the stairs with the rest of us on their heels. Some of my happiest memories were made during those times.

Christmas is always so magical as a kid. With Christmas on my mind and the holiday season coming up, I’ve been contemplating what would make a good gift. As I was looking around for inspiration and ideas, I discovered these adorable “Barnacle Buddies” from Made For Mermaids. It’s a free pattern and with two different versions, a pirate and a mermaid, I think these would make a perfect gift for any child in your life. Just look how cute they are!

The entire time I was sewing these little pirates, my two boys begged to have them. They just couldn’t wait until I was done making them. They also kept asking for particular colored things, a red hat, a blue shirt, and because I was sewing the pirates, I was able to give them exactly what they wanted. They were beyond thrilled when I actually let them play with them!


I couldn’t just stop with my boys though. I had to appease my inner child by making the mermaid version as well! And yes, I made two mermaids.. I couldn’t help myself. Especially with those mesmerizing sequin tails!

(Note: sequins are not required, they were just my choice.)

Not to worry though, dolly doesn’t have to be a mermaid all the time, she actually has legs! The mermaid part is something that you can slip on her. If you want her to have a wardrobe it just so happens that Made For Mermaids has an entire line of doll clothes. How fun is that?! As far as I understand it, all of their doll clothes have a size to fit these “Barnacle Buddies”.

For the pirates shirts, I used the dolly kourtney top. I opted not to do the knot version since that wouldn’t really suit a pirate. I also used the same pattern to make the dress for dolly.

Another perk of making clothes for the dolls is that it takes so little fabric that it’s great for some of those little scraps you’ve been saving!



I knew my boys were happy with the pirates, but I was surprised when they asked over and over again to have the mermaids as well. I guess the pirates needed mermaid friends to play with!

My boys loved their pirates so much they asked to take them to bed with them that night and I agreed. When I heard some noises coming from their room, I peeked in on them and they were both playing with the pirates in bed. While I wanted them to sleep, I was also thrilled that they loved their pirates so much and were having fun with them.

Obviously I’m not saving these particular dolls for Christmas. I think that would break my kids hearts. However, these buddies will probably be joined by more buddies on Christmas!


The Details:

The doll “skin” was made using this kona cotton in cream. I think it worked great as a skin tone!

For the Pirate pants/legs, I used this stretch cotton broadcloth in black

For the mermaid tails I used this gorgeous sequin fabric and lined it with the cream kona cotton for the middle section. It doesn’t actually call for a lining, but I wanted the extra layer since the sequins are on a mesh backing. For the tops and bottoms of the tails I used jersey knit scraps in this blue and this pink from my last blog post about sewing with jersey knit. The pink worked out perfectly, but the blue was pretty drapey and didn’t have enough structure. To remedy that, I used a fusible interfacing on it and that made it work great!

I also used the same pink for the doll dress as I did for the mermaid tail.

For the pirate shirts, I used a black and off white striped fabric, and this blue fabric. I’m not going to lie, when that striped fabric came in, it was so soft, I just wanted to make lounge clothing out of it.

For the hats, hair, and bikini pieces I used felt. One of the mermaids also had a bit of yarn for hair.

I used a black vinyl for the faces and the eye patch. and a white vinyl for the skull and bones on the hats. The pattern comes with free cut files for those things. However if you don’t have a cut machine, you can embroider the faces, or potentially cut your own felt faces and adhere them to the doll.

Thank you so much for reading! Good luck and have fun making these dolls!

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