The girls chose to be mermaids this year for Halloween. Specifically, “Fairy Tale Mermaids”. I aimed for a simple skirt with a tail that they could easily walk in. Here’s how I made their mermaid skirts!
- Shiny stretch fabric, about 1.5 yards
- Cotton fabric, about 1/2 yard
- 1 inch elastic for waistband
- Decorative elastic (such as foldover or ruffled) for the wrist band
- Measuring tape
- Rotary cutter, straight edge, ruler
- Coordinating thread
- Sewing machine
- Washable pen
- Glitter paint, paint brushes
Directions Measure your kiddo at the waist and hip. Also, measure from the waist to ankle, waist to knee, and knee to ankle. Add 3 inches to the waist measurement (width), and 2 inches to the waist to ankle measurement (length). Cut 1 rectangle out of the stretch fabric in this width and length measurement. Then, double the length (length2) and cut 2 rectangles out of the stretch fabric, widthxlength2. The back of the skirt (i.e. the tail) is lined so that’s why you need to cut 2. The reason it’s lined is because the tail is carried on the wrist, so the underside of the fabric can be seen when it’s lifted. Next, we’re going to cut the back of the skirt at an angle on both sides to resemble a tail tapering down to the fin of the tail. Place the 2 back of skirt pieces right sides together. Measure from the top of the skirt to the knee measurement, and mark that point in the middle with washable pen (the white dot below). Mark the center at the bottom hem as well. Then measure about a 5 inch section in the center of the bottom hem (i.e. 2.5 inches on either side of the center mark on the bottom hem). Place a straight edge on one of the 2.5-inch marks up to the side hem to the knee line and use your rotary cutter to cut off that corner of fabric, through both pieces. Repeat on the other side. See the dotted lines below. Sew both pieces together along the sides, leaving the top edge and bottom edge open. Use a zig zag stitch and 1/2 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out and press. Set aside. Then, lay the front skirt piece on top of this back piece that you just sewed together. Sew the side seams. Next, we’re going to cut a triangle in the front so it’s easy to walk. Measure from the top edge of the front to the knee again but this time on the front skirt. Using scissors, cut at an angle from the bottom corner of the front skirt up to the center knee mark. Repeat from the other bottom corner to the center knee mark. Now it’s time to sew the tail fin. Download and print the Mermaid Tail Fin Pattern below on cardstock. Cut 2 pieces of the cotton fabric on fold. Cut 1 piece of batting on fold. Set batting aside. Pin the 2 cotton pieces together and sew, leaving an opening where shown. This will be a turning hole as well as where the tail fin will fit over the skirt tail. Turn the tail fin right side out, clipping the inward curve at the bottom. Insert the batting into the cotton pieces like a pillow. You may need to trim the batting a little bit. Next, quilt the tail fin by drawing some wavy lines along each side of the tail. You can free hand this. I did 4 lines on each side. Be sure the stitching doesn’t go up too close to the opening as you need to leave room for inserting the skirt tail. Then, stitch through the batting along the lines. Fold the turning home seam inward and press, clipping as needed to maintain a curved shape. Insert the skirt tail into the opening, plus the wrist elastic on one side, folded in half. Stitch the opening closed, making sure you catch all of the skirt tail as well as the wrist elastic. Last thing is to sew the casing for the elastic waistband and inserting the 1-inch elastic, and you’re all done sewing. If desired, paint the tails with glitter paint. Wish you could see the glitter in the picture. They wore the skirts over leotards and leggings. The wristband allows them to walk without the tails dragging, and they don’t have to hold up the tail fin…it just flops over but you can tell it’s a tail still. Then I used $1 crowns and painted some sea shells with glitter paint, and hot glued the shells to them to make mermaid crowns. Finally, I made some sparkly necklaces with a shell and starfish pendant I had in my bead stash. The necklaces are in lieu of shell appliques aka shell bras, which they didn’t really like. My mermaid skirts are far from perfect and part of me wishes they were fancier. But the girls love them, which is the most important thing.