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A Rosie the Riveter costume DIY that’ll make you feel like a total badass

If you’re looking for a badass, pro-feminist Halloween costume that costs little-to-no cash, here it is, in all its glory. The iconic Rosie the Riveter costume has a great story behind it, as the ultimate emblem of female empowerment. Good ole’ Rosie was the star of the government campaign used in the 1940s to recruit women into the workforce after the men had gone off to war, and she’s still going strong and inspiring women today.

More: 20 hilariously awesome group and trio Halloween costumes

To be all the woman you can be this Halloween, you’ll only need a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, a denim button-up top, a red bandanna, and, of course, some red lipstick to get you started:

What You’ll Need*

  • Cardboard: $1.97
  • Sharp-pointed felt-tip marker
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Polka-dot bandanna/fabric: $2.29
  • Denim button-up: $13.88
  • Jeans
  • Tennis shoes
  • Red lipstick: $5.50
  • Bobby pins: $2.66
  • Round pencil holder
  • Brown belt

*Prices may vary


1. Tracing the pin

Tracing the pin for your Rosie the Riveter Halloween costume
Image: Audrey Luzader/SheKnows

For this very first step, you’re going to be making your “We can do it!” shirt pin. You’ll need your round pencil holder (or any round object you can easily trace around), felt-tip marker and cardboard piece. Place the pencil holder on the cardboard and simply trace a circle onto your cardboard.*

More: An open letter to the ‘loud’ women who I wish I was more like

Tip: Trace your circle in a corner of the cardboard, so if you mess up, you have plenty left to start over.

2. Cut away.

For this step, you’ll need a safe surface upon which you can easily cut through cardboard. Take your scissors or knife and cut out the circle you just traced. It’s easiest to put the scissors all the way through a point in the cardboard and drag them the rest of the way around the circle. Once you’ve cut the circle away from the rest of the cardboard, go back and clean up any messy or lopsided edges with your scissors.

3. Write it out.

Create the pin for your Rosie the Riveter Halloween costume
Image: Audrey Luzader/SheKnows

All you have to do for this step is write. Rosie is associated with the quote, “We can do it!” and that’s exactly what you write on your pin. (Separating the quote onto two lines will help it fit best.)  Let’s face it, some of us just don’t have beautifully scripted handwriting, so if you fall into that category, don’t feel guilty printing the phrase out in a nice, bold font and gluing it to your pin!

4. Perfect pattern

Fold your Rosie the Riveter bandanna
Image: Audrey Luzader/SheKnows

This isn’t your typical paisley-print bandanna, so check out your local fabric store to get the exact Rosie the Riveter pattern. You’ll only need about half a yard of the fabric, enough to be able to tie it around your head. Once you have your fabric, fold the square in half and then into a triangle, and then start with the point and fold the fabric up to the opposite end. You can make the bandanna as thick or thin as you want, to cover more or less of your hair.

Next Up: Tying your bandanna

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