I found a couple tutorials online as well, basically its swimsuit fabric and a Monifin. She's a strong swimmer and I'm always within arms reach when we're in pool, but alas, she and I are the only ones who think this is a good idea. So, in the interest of family harmony, I nixed the idea of a real mermaid tail. Much to her dismay, she will have to keep using her imagination when she pretends she's Merliah Summers in the pool. I am planning on making her a mermaid coverup, I'm sure you've seen it on Pinterest. But I'm still searching for the right beach towel. :) In the meantime. . .
I sketched a little mermaid and tried to make it look like my daughter(ish) my drawing skills are quite limited, so I couldn't actually draw her its basically her hair, long and curly like hers (well, maybe a little longer and curlier) and eye colour. :) I was delighted when I showed it to her and she squealed "Is that me as a mermaid princess???" Tee, hee!!
I used a tee shirt and about 3/4 yard of fabric for the dress. Muslin, crayons and embroidery thread (that coordinates with the skirt fabric) for the mermaid.
I did a basic ruffle skirt; and cut the fabric into strips for the ruffle skirt. For each ruffle (I wanted 3 rows of ruffles) I cut 2 width pieces at 3 1/2" and for each connecting strip was 1 width at 3".
Basically for each ruffle, you will gather two 3 1/2" pieces on to the one 3" piece. Then, starting with the bottom band/ruffle attach each band to the next and ultimately to the tee. It seems superfluous to add another ruffled skirt tutorial to the blogsphere :) so if you need detailed instructions on construction, check out this tutorial from Dana at Made.
Once the ruffles are attached and the skirt is complete, sew it to the bottom of the tee, just under the hem, sewing right over the hem stitch on the tee. Normally for a tee shirt dress, you'd cut off the tee a few inches below the arms or at the waist. But I wanted a mermaidy feel so I left the shirt long and sewed the skirt just under the hemline hoping for a mermaid-ish silhouette.
For the mermaid applique trace the mermaid on the muslin, colour it in with crayon and ironed it. (If you've never done hand stitching before, check here for detailed instructions.) Pin the muslin (with the design) on the tee where you want the applique to be and put both in the hoop. I'm sorry, I don't have a picture of this!! Remove the pins and start stiching!!
I used floss that closely matched my daughter's hair, eye and skin colour and then chose the rest based on the colours in the skirt. I did a basic back stitch except for her eyes which are french knots and her hair. For her hair I used a stem stitch, it was fun once I got the hang of it! (Remember, you are stitching through the muslin and the tee.) After everything was stitched the way I wanted it, I drew an outline around the mermaid with chalk and sewed over the chalk with my sewing machine, using small, tight stitches, again sewing through the muslin and the tee.
Then, carefully, cut around the edge of your seam, cutting only the muslin, not the tee! The chalk will wash away and the edges will slightly fray after a few washings, but I like that look.
I thought it was done and pretty cute. But my daughter felt it was missing something, something sparkly. After all, mermaid tails are sparkly. So I added a few sequins. . .
Can you see my mistake? I didn't notice it until I was posting these pictures today!! I forgot to stitch her bangs!!! See those poor,lonely, little pencil marks?? I pulled her dress out of the closet to fix it, but the pencil had washed away (she's worn the dress a few times already.) AAAAAAnd since my daughter is growing out her bangs anyway. . .I left it!
Its a simple, little dress, nothing super fancy or difficult, but super fun to make, and apparently to wear! :) If you'd like a template of the little mermaid to do your own stitchery project, please click here. Feel free to change the hair to reflect your little mermaid. :)
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