My daughter told me while in the bath a few months ago that when she grew up she wanted to be a mer-mer-maid. She then put her fish wash mit on her feet and pretended it was a tail and tried singing a beautiful mermaid song, the song was more like an awful screeching that hit some notes that only dogs could hear but she was right she was our beautiful mer-mer-maid. As time went on she got a barbie mermaid bath toy which is now regular in the bath with her even the odd shower and I have been subjected to the barbie mermaid films but thankfully she also loves the little mermaid.
It was her love of the little mermaid film that got me thinking, I saw many costumes for children some good…
Some well… ummm… judge for yourself
So I decided to have a bash and make my own one. Over the next few weeks I will document how I made it so you can feel free to have a bash at making your own. My little mer-mer-maid is very excited about this new project and I just hope I can do it justice. So keep you eyes open there will be more to come as am on a deadline to have this completed before her birthday.
I actually have completed this now, so rather than update as I was doing it like some of my other posts I’m going to try to write up how I did it. Was pretty lazy when it came to photos as I was doing it but hopefully this will all make sense.
I wasn’t sure what kind of fabric would work for this little project but what I ended up with I was very happy with. I got a spandex fabric in pink and green, both with different reflective patterns. The green was a tighter print and was used for the base of the skirt, the hot pink (chosen by Roslin) had a more broken up reflective pattern and was used for the to and trim. Lastly I also got a simple green mesh with sequins to be used for the tail.
My only other investment for this costume was some elasticated sequins to use as a strap for the top and wadding to use as stuffing for the tail.
Overall it didn’t cost much and everything can be picked up easily so this is a great little costume cost wise as it’s only as expensive as the fabric you use and even then for a child half a meter of each was plenty for what I needed.
Going to start at the top and work my way down.
I started off making two shells out the green fabric and stitched them onto the pink fabric. I used a little of the wadding to fill them but only enough to make them curve rather than look like fake breasts.
Next was to stitch it into a tube by hemming it and then stitching together the back.
I started off planning to make this a tube top but when I saw the roll of trim I finally used I decided to make it a halter neck.
The halter strap was then attached to the inside of the top. I actually attached it behind the shells as I wanted to make sure it had more support than just attaching it to the hem.
To make the tail and skirt I did this in two stages, firstly make the skirt then the fin of the tail so it could be attached to the skirt when being sewn together.
The skirt comes quite simply in two parts a tube of rolled wadding covered in fabric, and a tube of fabric to make the main body of the skirt.
The tube at the waistband was relatively simple. I rolled up some of the wadding making it thicker in the middle narrower at the ends, I tied this with thread to hold it’s shape. The middle I again tied with thread and pulled it tight. I then took the pink fabric and cut it to roughly the same size and shape as the wadding. This would then me pulled tight around it and stitched together leaving at the back a little excess fabric for attaching it to the skirt.
Next up is the skirt. I again just hemmed and stitched it together. Due to the fabric being expandable I wanted it to be a little on the small size when it came to width so it would stretch over her. I decided since she is just a toddler that rather than making an enclosed shirt I would make a split in the back to allow her movement. The other option would of been side splits and putting fins on the front and the back of the skirt but that sounded like too much work.
Next up I attached the pink waistband to the skirt.
I wasn’t too worried about any bunching on the waistband and most of it was just at the centre where it was pinched in the middle.
May I also add that I also attached a couple of strips of green fabric to the centre of the waistband where it pinched to dangle down. As due to Roslin’s small frame having something to break up the plain skirt was needed.
I also decided that I needed a little give in the waistband for dressing and undressing, I would make a band at the back where the two sides of the band join and use less padding, I used a bit of the spandex from the end that didn’t have the mirrored print that was very expandable. This allowed the band to look tight when worn but able to expand for movement and dressing.
Now that the skirt is complete, it’s time to make the fin.
This was probably the most complicated part but I think I pretty much made it overly complicated for myself.
I started off with the wadding and made a big triangle. to act as a template. I used several layers of the wadding to give the fin thickness.
Next I scalloped the bottom of the wadding and cut my sequinned mesh to just slightly larger than the wadding to allow for folding to stitch it all together. I also planned on giving it a pink trim at the scalloped bottom so I had to include that in the layers for stitching it together.
Now that it is all stitched together I decided to add a little detail to the tail fin and give it a little definition. At the points where it scalloped I stitched in two lines at either side of the point. The stitching ran through the entire tail and pinched into the foam giving definition.
Next I wanted to attach the tail fin to the skirt. I cut the front of the skirt into the shape of the tail (slightly smaller) and stitched it in between the layers of the tail.
So the fin should be attached to the skirt and you should have something that looks a bit like this.
And that should be it, you should have a skirt with tail fin and a top and your mermaid costume is complete.