Corsair (Ottoman Pirate) Cosplay

Corsair (Ottoman Pirate) Cosplay

(initial posting 5/22/2019)

It was early 2018 when I became involved with the Ottoman Encampment for our local Ren Fest. That following Autumn, they were invited to be part of the Boynton Beach Pirate Fest, and although they did it as regular Ottomans, and I attended as a regular pirate, it did suggest the idea of doing an Ottoman pirate. Ottoman pirates were more commonly called Corsairs, and the most well-known of them were probably the Barbary pirates.

Sherry R in Ghawazee costume While preparing to do Ren Fest with the Ottomans again in 2019, I decided to do a Ghawazee-style costume, which I assembled from a newly-purchased Ghawazee coat made from old sari fabric, along with the blouse I used for pirate costume #3, and other harem pants, hip scarf, and headpiece I already had. I was really pleased with the result (shown at left).

pic of inspiration Ottoman costume I hadn't liked the simple tie closure at the top that the coat came with, so I replaced it with a "Chinese zipper" type closure made from gold cord. I think it was largely that closure that made me think this would make a good Ottoman pirate coat. It would be easy to blend the Ghawazee costume with pirate costume #3 to get a whole Ottoman-pirate-y outfit. Except for the hat. I thought my original pirate hat didn't look particularly Ottoman, and the headpiece I wore with the Ghawazee didn't look very pirate-y.

So, I'd need something new to cover my head. Of course, a turban was always a possibility, but I was curious if there might be some other hat style that would work. So, I did some research, looking thru old pictures of Ottomans and corsairs, when the one at right caught my eye, mainly because the outfit, especially the coat, resembled mine. Plus, she has an interesting hat. It looks kinda like a fez, and hey, I have a fez (previously worn with my Doctor Who costume). In fact, I have more than one fez. I also have a "girl's" fez, which I believe I brought back from Turkey along with the regular one. I decided I preferred to use the girl's one because a) my character is a woman, b) I didn't want to mess up my Doctor Who cosplay in case I needed to make mods to the hat, and c) I thought its design was more interesting to start with.

(extra section added 6/5/19)

After my first posting of this, I happened upon this pic of the Barbary pirates (led by Ammand) in the 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and observe that the fellow front-right has a similar style hat on.

pic of Barbary pirates in PotC

(end of section added 6/5/19)

So here's how the making of my hat went:

pic of basic girl fez The basic "girl's" fez; notice the fun jewelry-like dingles from the top instead of the usual tassel. Mine was a bit small for my head so I used my hat stretcher (initially gotten for my Harry Mudd costume) to make it fit better. (That's the pale thing the you see under the hat in in the pic.) But I still had an issue with my hairline being too high; I'd need to add something around the rim of the hat, which would be similar to the inspiration pic anyway.
pic of fez with scarf tube I tried wrapping various scarves around the hat, similar to the inspiration pic, but wasn't having much luck. So this pic is the next thing I tried: taking a scarf, sewing it into a tube and stuffing it, then tying it around the bottom of the fez as a sort of turban-headband. This pic shows it on the guy's fez--while it looked pretty good there, it was really too big for the girl's fez because it hid most of the dinglies. I considered re-sewing it to make it smaller, but thought I'd try something else first.
pic of fez with braided headband Besides the tube style, another style of "turban-headband" I've seen/done is braided. Interestingly, tights or pantyhose work pretty well for making the braid with--the bit of stretch works well in the finished product. I managed to find 3 pairs of my old tights in 3 different shades similar to the red of the fez. After braiding them together I was really happy with the result, shown here.
pic of final hat Although the hat woulda been fine at this point, I rather wanted to have some additional decoration(s). I thought a proper Ottoman pirate hat should have some feathers, at the very least. So this pic shows the "final" result. I already had some assorted feathers (for various reasons), from which I was able to assemble a nice-looking bunch. I also added a small scarf that I'd tried putting around the brim earlier on. It didn't work there, but it did look pretty good just hanging down the back.
pic of final hat, front view Front view detail.
final hat, detail of feather pocket This is a detail showing how I attached a small "pocket" made from decorative trim to the back of the hat, into which I was able to stuff my feather bunch.
final hat, back detail Back view detail.

I'd been planning to wear the new outfit at Ft. Lauderdale Pirate Fest in April 2019, but alas I was unable to attend. But I decided to go to MegaCon in Orlando just 1 month later, and was able to wear it there:

Sherry R cosplay as Ottoman Pirate (Corsair)

Overall, definitely pleased. Note that the red shirt is a different shirt than in the original Ghawazee pic above; it's a new one I just happened to find on sale at Target a couple of weeks earlier and had to get because I thought it looked pirate-y. And I'll also note that, while it's OK, I'd prefer not to have the bulky black bag which I wore across the chest; it's there because I needed it for the Con.

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