Mermaid Costume

I made my daughter’s Halloween costume this year.

She is going as a mermaid.

Or she might be Bette Midler.

You be the judge.

The resemblance is striking I know.

Caroline loves mermaids so this was a natural choice this year for her costume.

Beware of this tutorial – there are many photos and only rudimentary sewing instructions.

I first started with a long sleeve shirt which was given to us as a hand-me down.

I ultimately decided I would make her costume into a dress since it would be easiest for her. Plus, bikini tops on little girls creep me out.

I cut the sleeve off of the shirt and cut the collar to make it a little wider.

Next, I took purple cotton fabric and cut out two semicircles of material to try and make some cap sleeves.  I then sewed some purple flower trim onto the long edge. The trim was quite delicate so I had to sew it with a needle and thread.

I then gathered the top portions and held it with pins so I could use my machine to sew.

This gave the sleeves a curved shape.

When my six year old saw these he said, “Oh, are those for Caroline’s chest?”

The sleeves also received another line of trim on the gathered side. Once the sleeves were finished I hand sewed them onto the shirt.

Feeling that one more layer of flowers was needed I hand sewed the third line of flowers. I was very worried at this point. I was worried I had the “more is better” syndrome and would ruin the costume.

A little sequin sparkle in the center of the top and that section of the costume was complete.

Here are the materials I decided on for the tail. I know, low key. Nothing flashy here.

I folded the sequin material in half so that once I cut around my template (not the actual template in the photo, can’t figure out where it went) I would have two full tails.

I sewed the tail together, turned it inside out, and stuffed it.

It is about this time where I realized I was making a slightly deformed mermaid. The size of the tail should probably belong to a mermaid which is 7 feet tail. But I was this far into it and not about to turn back.

I left an opening on the side so I could sew in some elastic for her to wear around her wrist in case she wanted to hold the tail up. I should have sewed it in when I initially sewed the tail.

This actual bottom portion of the costume I pondered for days. I looked at mermaid costumes online and watched the Little Mermaid intently (not!), I finally decided on a side tail for her. I thought it would be fun for her to have something to drag but I also needed her to be able to walk. Here’s what I did.

I gathered the material (have no idea how much) and made it come to a rough point at the bottom. I sewed the edges down and sewed across the whole bottom.

My next challenge was to figure out how to get the bottom section attached to the shirt.

I finally settled on cutting the side of the shirt about 8 inches and then pinning the shirt and green material together.

This is the costume after sewing the two major pieces partially together. I left one side of the costume open in order to add the middle trim.

My idea was to sew the purple sequin trim by hand.

I tried and failed. It was cumbersome and the thread kept getting caught on individual sequins.

Instead, I brought out the trusty glue gun. Normal sewers are gasping at the thought.

Glued the tail trim on as well.

Finally sewed up the side of the costume

You can see the arm elastic on the tail here.

The final result:

My Little Mermaid!

Showing off her mermaid swimming skills

One costume down, four to go.


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33 thoughts on “Mermaid Costume

  1. This is awesome and hey the shirt looks way better than it did before 😉 Love the poses that Caroline did. She is such a ham!!!

  2. I am so proud of you for making your daughter smile this much and for taking the time to sew her costume!

  3. This is lovely and the pictures do a great job at explaining things. She must be super happy with her new costume; I know I would be.

    I found this post through Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts.

  4. This is a great tut! Thanks for sharing. This is getting pinned to my sewing board (pinterest) Now to see if the kids can decide what to be so I have enough time to make all the costumes. (Sounds like we are making the same amount of costumes this year)

  5. Oh my gosh, that is adorable! I like how you added the elastic so she can hold the tail up when she walks. I don’t know if you’d thought about this, but if you have a wagon it would be cute to decorate that to look like a rock so she could be like Ariela the little mermaid on the rock.

    We have decorated our wagon the last few years because my boys are little and get tired easy walking between houses.

  6. This is one of the coolest costumes I have seen yet. What a great job and your daughter looks thrilled. Thanks for linking to Success U @

  7. This is adorable! And brilliant! A few years ago my daughter wanted to be a mermaid but I had to tell her no bc it’s simply too cold here to go trick or treating in most mermaid costumes. Your costume would probably work in the cold though. I just found you through Embellishing Life. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Super cute and she looks like she’s having a great time!! Thanks for linking up at Tuesday Tutorials!


  9. Hi Jen, what a clever mummy you are. I’m sure your little one is thrilled to bits with your talents and such a lot of detail and hard work. Great job. I found and am following you through Bloggeritaville and will have to visit often. Please pop on over to my blog also and perhaps you could follow me. I would love that. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

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