Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mermaid Tail

I have a friend in California who (finally) updated her's been 6 months since the last time, right after they visited Ohio and I got to see her. She just posted a ton of pictures and I noticed her 5 year-old-twins had a mermaid-themed birthday party, so this blog is for her.

A few months ago, sometime in the summer, BonnieBlue was into The Little Mermaid. So I made her a mermaid tail. I found a video tutorial on youtube by Sasha ( (The young lady is very concerned that others will post tutorials using "her" instructions. As an aside, I'm quite amused about this whole "ownership" issue on the 'net. Being in academia, I'm all about giving credit where credit is due, but some of these folks are kinda' creepy in their intensity about "their stuff." I think it's fine to just link back to the original post and give credit, but if you want to do your own thing and post your own thing after that, WTH, I think that's all you need to do. And I don't mean to be disrespectful when I don't link back to the original; sometimes I just can't remember where I saw it and then can't find it again. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.)

It's been well over 4 months since I've seen Sasha's video, and I'm not doing a video one or step-by-step photo one, so I'm going to go ahead and give a synopsis of how I made the mermaid tail. But if you're going to make one, do go look at Sasha's video; she's very thorough as I remember.

First, lay a big ole' piece of butcher block paper or something similar on the floor. Have your child lay on it, face up. Make sure there is enough room at the bottom (her feet) so that you can draw in the fluke (tail). Trace around the lower half of her body, allowing a generous seam allowance. I did about an inch. Draw in the fluke adding it where her feet were, but going further down...BonnieBlue loved having a longer tail to 'flap about.'

Cut it out. Get swimsuit fabric and a thread that matches. The same kind of fabric is also used for dance and gymnast outfits, if that helps you to find it. Very stretchy stuff. How much will depend on how big your kid is. I think I used a yard and had a bunch left over. 

Fold the fabric in half. Pin the butcher block pattern to the fabric and cut out around the pattern (or if you're more patient than me, trace around the pattern, then cut on the lines you traced) so that you have the 2 sides of the tail.  Leave about 4-6 inches of fabric above the want that extra fabric to turn down later. I had plans to do some nice finishing work on the waist, but I ended up just folding it down; that worked quite well.

Turn right sides in, pin around the edges about just less than the seam allowance you left (I pinned an inch in from the edge all the way around). Sew halfway between the edge and the pin. Backstitch frequently. I'm going to make another one next summer and will double sew (I don't know the technical term) because the stitching ripped after a few uses. (Perhaps my sewing friend, Mama Pea, knows of a there a 'stretchy' thread?)

Don't sew the waist closed. Turn the tail right side out. And this is what you get...

I had the grand intention of putting something in the tail so that it would be stiff, but by the time I got around to it, she didn't want me to. One time, she asked me to put her in the bathtub with her tail on, which I did because it's swimsuit fabric! Cool, huh?! She loves that tail. I bought a yellowish-greenish fabric when I bought this and will make her a new one next summer. I need to buy a bikini top or halter top or something, too.

1 comment:

  1. That's so great! And I love how she wore it in the tub. Just fantastic! I don't sew many clothes or sew with stretchy fabric much, so I'm not sure. I know my machine has a stretch zigzag stitch that you can use for sewing on stretchy fabric, so maybe that would be the way to go. I quickly googled elastic thread, and they do make such a thing. I would probably ask at JoAnne's or something. Sorry I can't be of more help. I will not be showing this to Sweet Pea, or she'll make me make one!!!! haha


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