Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Little Mermaid

Vera was a little mermaid for Halloween! Here's a rough how-to for making your own mermaid costume.

1 yard costume satin
white cotton onesie
3 tea bags
little boy's snake/dragon/lizard? swimsuit (optional)

Total cost: $8

For my patterns, I printed out seashell and star shapes I found online and free-handed the shape of the fin. For size 3-6 months, the fin pattern should measure about 15.5" at the waist and 26" long. You want to make sure there is plenty of width in the the fin so baby can move around, especially if your little one is as squirmy as mine.

When looking for a onesie at Goodwill, I came across this pair of boy's swim trunks and thought the scale pattern would be perfect for the fin.

There wasn't a lot of fabric so I had to be creative. I cut up the back side of the swimsuit and pieced it together to create the front of the fin. I pinned and sewed the scale fabric onto one of my satin fins; I cut around the scales at the bottom and sewed them onto the satin with a narrow zig zag stitch. If you are just using the satin, you can follow the steps below:

Cut two fins out of the costume satin, one for the front and one for the back.

Pin both fin pieces right sides together, and sew around the edges. Cut off any excess fabric with pinking shears. This will help prevent fraying, since costume satin frays easily. (you could also use a serger). Turn right side out and press.

Cut a rectangular piece of satin, long enough to go around the top of the fin. Fold in half, right sides together, with short ends touching. Sew along the short ends so you have a loop. Turn right side out, fold lengthwise and press. Pin the folded loop around the top of the fin, with the raw edge toward the top. Next you will need to hem the top to hide the raw edges and make a channel for the elastic. Fold over the top of the fin 1/2" and press. Fold over another 1" and press again. Sew along the bottom of the hem, leaving a 2" opening to thread your elastic through. I used a pair of Vera's pants to determine how much elastic I needed. Run your elastic through the hemmed waist and sew both ends together. Tuck inside and close up the opening in your hem.

For the headband, I sewed a narrow tube of fabric out of costume satin and ran a piece of elastic through it. Next, I traced a star on to a piece of magenta felt and embellished it with sequins. Then I sandwiched the headband between my star (still not cut out) and another piece of felt, sewing along the outline of my star. To finish I cut off the excess felt around the star, being careful not to cut the headband.


For the top, I tea dyed a white onesie to make it flesh-toned. It's a pretty simple process: bring a pot of water and three family sized tea bags to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and soak the onesie for about 15 minutes, depending on how dark you want it. Stir occasionally. Rinse the onesie in the sink then run it once through the washer and dryer.

The last step was to cut the seashells out of felt, embellish them with sequins, and sew them onto the onesie.

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