We have a big fan of mermaids in our house. We've now seen the mermaid Barbie movies about 1,000 times, and Merliah is my Girl's favorite character. And Ariel. For Christmas I looked at dress up mermaid tails for her, and was shocked at the prices and the extremely cheap quality! I quickly decided that this was something I could easily make myself, for less money and then my Girl could help pick out the materials. She has been so excited!
I took a few pictures and made a (very) basic tutorial. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! I was not very specific with these directions because, well, I didn't exactly have a plan. I was truly winging it! I was also trying to sew with an infant clinging to my arm trying to grab at the fabric full of pins. The Dude was so excited to see what I was doing, but danged if he doesn't make it ten times harder to take pictures and measurements!
You will need:
Two big rectangles of stretchy fabric (I used cotton/Lycra jersey so I can wash the tail) about 15 x 20 inches, and two small rectangles of the same fabric about 10 x 12 inches. You will also need a little bit of tulle, about half a yard would be plenty. I used some scrap tulle I had from a different project, it was pink and sparkly...perfect!
In addition you need a sewing machine, matching thread, etc. The sewing basics.
1. Measure you child's waist. My four year old girl has a 20 inch waist, and this is considered pretty standard.
You will trim the small rectangles down to 8 inches high by 1/2 your child's waist measurement. so you will take your child's waist measurement (x) divide it by 2 and this will be your length for the smaller rectangles. The Girl's small rectangles were 10 inches by 8 inches.
2. Measure around your child's hips with the big rectangles, and check for length. The big rectangles for my four year old ended up being about 11 inches across by 20 inches long.
3. Sew the small sides of your rectangles together with right sides facing. You will want to use a zigzag stitch, and I also highly reccomend using a jersey needle. They are amazing and you don't end up with ugly holes in your jersey!
4. Fold your waistband over in half on itself to create a yoga waistband. Pin the long sides of your big rectangles together, and taper the end into a point. Sew together.
5. Sew your yoga waistband onto your tail. If you stretch out the waistband as you sew you will end up not having to gather the tail to fit the waistband at all. And because it's jersey it doesn't matter if your seams end up on the outside (like I accidentally did!). It won't fray and I used my pinking shears to make a more "fancy" edge.
6. Try the tail on your child to make sure it fits so far!
7. Take your tulle, cut it into two big rectangles, about 12-14 inches x 12 inches. I just pleated it a little bit by hand and pinned it to the inside from the triangular point in the front to the one in the back. Pin in both rectangles, and sew it in using a zigzag stitch.
8. Cut your 'fins' into whatever shapes you like, I cut big half circles at the length my daughter needs to comfortably use her tail. You're done!
This is my little mermaid "sitting on a rock." She was so excited to have a play tail, she pretended to "swim" all over the living room floor!
And of course, no mermaid could resist laying in the sand swishing her tail around!