It’s my first Halloween season having a kid of my own and since we have a little girl I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do a really fun Mother/Daughter costume this year. OK, who am I kidding, it’s basically the only year that I get to pick what she is because she’s too little to care at this point … might as well take advantage of that, right? Sooo, mermaids it is!!Supplies:
– 2 yards stretch scale printed spandex fabric for Baby and Mom’s skirt (I got mine from JoAnns but this looks really similar)
– Mermaid shells template – 1 yard stretch green shimmery knit for Mom’s skirt
– nude bodysuit for Mom and Baby – iron-on glitter sheet
– pink wig for Mom
– straight pins and fabric scissors
– kraft paper roll
– 1″ elastic
– 1″ foam roll for fin (check your sewing or craft store for some but should be like this)
First you’ll want to make a pattern for your little mermaid tail. Place your baby onto some rolled out kraft paper and trace loosely around their body, drawing your tail fins at the bottom under where their feet stop. Use a measuring tape to measure around and make note next to their their rib cage, hips, and knees (leave their knees in a comfortably open position when you measure so they aren’t too restrained). Draw your fin shape at the bottom of the pattern under their feet and make a mark to indicate how high you want the tail skirt to come up on the baby’s ribs.
Adjust your pattern shape as needed to correspond with your baby’s measurements. Since you measured all the way around the baby you want your pattern to be half that circumference in those spots (so if they measured 20″ your pattern should be 10″ wide in that area), and add another 1.5″ of length to the top of your tail for the waistband seam. Fold your paper down the middle of your tail (so you have a perfectly symmetrical shape when you cut it), and cut out your pattern. Fold your spandex fabric in half and lay your pattern on top, pinning it lightly in place while you cut out your fabric.Place your tail skirt pieces right sides together and sew all the way around the edges (leaving the top open) with a 1/2″ seam allowance. I used regular thread on my machine but chose the “stretch stitch” option that my machine has and it worked really well. Just look in your machine manual if you aren’t sure which stitch that would be for your model, but most all machines have one.Once I had sewn all the way around the skirt, I laid the tail part onto my foam and traced around it with a marker. Then I cut out the tail about an 1″ smaller than the tracing so it would fit into the bottom of the tail easily with a little “V” shape for her feet to sit above.Before adding the foam into the tail, I clipped out a few “V” shapes on the indents of my tail fabric so the fabric would lay smoother in those spots once it was flipped right side out. Flip the top 1.5″ of your waistband over and sew all the way around the edge with a .25″ seam allowance (leaving a 2″ opening to add the elastic through later). Thread your 1″ elastic through the opening and sew your elastic loop closed. You may want to safety pin it closed and try the skirt on your babe to make sure it’s not too loose or too tight before sewing it together. Once your elastic is in, close up the opening in your hem so the elastic is completely enclosed. Turn your baby skirt right side out and it’s time to work on Mama’s skirt!Repeat the process of making a skirt for Mom the same way you did with the baby skirt (elastic waistband and all), but leave the bottom open and end it right at the knee instead of making fins (Mama needs to walk, so we will make hers a little differently). It should basically look like a pencil skirt with an unhemmed bottom.So, now we are going to cut a giant donut shape of fabric for the bottom piece of your skirt. You basically want the diameter all the way around the bottom of your pencil skirt to be the same diameter of the inside circle of your donut (the donut “hole,” so to speak). To find the right size circle, you’ll need to cut, measure the width of the bottom of your pencil skirt (laying flat) and multiply that number times 2. Then, divide that number by 3.14 and that should be the diameter of the circle you need to cut. So, to make it a little more clear, if your pencil skirt bottom is 15″ wide, you’ll multiply that by 2 and get 30″. Then you’ll divide 30″ by 3.14 and get roughly 9.5″ inches and you’ll cut a 9.5″ wide circle into the middle of your fabric.
Since you want your skirt to just hover above the floor, you’ll also want to try on your pencil skirt and measure the distance you need to cover from the bottom of the skirt to the floor. That number will be how thick the actual donut part of your fabric will be. So using our pretend numbers from above, if you needed 20″ from the bottom of your pencil skirt to the floor then your total donut shape diameter would need to be 49.5″ wide (20″ on one side + 9.5″ in the middle + 20″ on the other side = 49.5″ total width). Make sense?
If that feels like way too much math, you can guestimate and cut a giant circle with a small circle in the middle and just keep widening that inside circle bit by bit until it’s the same as the bottom of your pencil skirt. Sew them together and then hem off any excess on the bottom if it’s too long.
OK, so however you got your donut-shaped piece figured out, turn it so right sides of the fabric face each other and pin your inside donut edge to the bottom of your pencil skirt. Use your stretch stitch to sew all the way around the bottom so the pieces are connected. Now your skirt is done!To finish the look, print out your shell template from the supply list and trace the shapes onto some iron-on glitter sheets. Cut out your shells (resizing them larger or smaller if you need to for your bustline) and iron them onto your bodysuits in the appropriate locations. Now you’re ready to put it all together!Since Lola is a bit too small for a matching pink wig just yet, I made her a headband from the tail spandex and I think that works a lot better for tiny babies. You basically just cut out two pieces of loooong rectangle shapes with rounded edges, sew together leaving an opening, flip right side out, hand sew or glue that opening shut, and tie into a knot. So cute!AGGGGHHHHHHH!!! Probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever made and I’ll treasure these pictures for a long time to come too. It’s nice that not only does she look adorable, but she can wiggle around pretty freely in that skirt and since it’s spandex it allows her to move quite a bit. Of course, if you have a baby that can’t stand not walking around for very long, I would skip the fin part and make them a mini mommy skirt instead so they can walk too. Can’t wait to take her out in this for Halloween, and since she can’t eat her candy quite yet, I can also definitely help her with that part. xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Todd Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.