As you wish…



Heather Ruggles


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Model - Heather Ruggles, Photographer - Dave Ruggles (hubby)

Outline the story …

One of my favorite books is the "Princess Bride" by William Goldman.

I wanted to recreate Wesley's The Dread Pirate Roberts as a female, The Dread Pirate Roberta.

DPR is described as wearing black from foot to head, so I re-imagined his iconic outfit as a black half-circle skirt and an 18th Century-style pirate shirt. As it is also the season of Covid and masks, I decided that the Dread Pirate Roberta would be wearing a black mask over her mouth, not her eyes. I used black eye make up as a nod to the original DPR character's eye mask.

Outline the construction…

The shirt is 100% linen from my stash, completely hand-sewn with Burnley & Trowbridge 50/3 black linen thread. I paralleled my design on Bernadette Banner's video of hand-making a pirate shirt.

I drew threads to create my cut lines in the linen (my first time ever doing this), using measurements that were meant to result in gathers in the body and gathers in the sleeves. All the main construction seams are back stitched, whip stitches for the seam finishes. On the cuffs I attached small buttons that were from my mother's stash, and hand stitched the button loops on the opposite sides to close them.

My biggest challenge was when I first put together the body pieces with the collar. I accidentally gathered both the back and front panels into the collar. I didn't realize this until after I had back stitched all the gathers down. I had meant to gather the front panel into the shoulder seams instead. I tried unpicking my stitches, which didn't work, so I cut an inch off the top before redoing it correctly. This reduced the size of my neck opening, which I had already finished, but it still worked.

The skirt is cotton twill and completely machine sewn, except for hand finishing the waistband on the inside. It has pockets in each side seam (of course) and a zipper with hook and eye in the back center seam.




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    I’m loving the shirt- you needlework is beautiful

  2. Andrea Painter Andrea Painter on March 12, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    Yarrr Heather, this be some grrrrrrreat sewing! (Ok, i know DPR doesn’t talk like a traditional pirate, but I couldn’t help myself!!)

    I love that you made the pirate shirt in black, and now I kind of want to make one in non-white too:) I’m so impressed that you hand stitched it!! Are the white strips in the photos what you attached the gathers to? I love that the only non-black element is associated with your mom, too!

  3. Avatar Leora Wambach on March 13, 2021 at 2:45 am

    Oh man, your seams are PERFECT!!! I just sat here staring at them in awe and admiration. You must have the patience of a god.

  4. Sophia Khan Sophia Khan on March 13, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    What a great shirt. I love your mask reinterpretation.

  5. Avatar Lena Scholz on March 14, 2021 at 11:09 am

    I really really like this one. It is so well made, and look at them drapey sleeves!
    I also love the intensity you give off in the photos <3

  6. Avatar Rebecca Whitten on March 15, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    I love the drape of the linen sleeves. They have such wonderful flow from the gathers at the shoulder.

  7. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 26, 2021 at 5:54 am

    Wow, very nice. The linen is beautiful. I love it all! Thank you!

  8. Avatar Monica on April 3, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    My favourite movie ever! such a great idea!!!!! Love the flowy top!

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