I have a close friend, April, who scours flea markets in Miami for things to send to Foos, and occasionally, me. A couple of months ago she sent me a super sparkly knock off of those Herve Leger bandage dresses, which looked great, but I don’t have the type of life that calls for such a dress. To the bottom of the laundry basket it went! Fast forward to Foos’ recent obsession with mermaids. For a week or two she walked around pretending all sorts of things were her “mermaid tail.” I resolved to make her one, but was being super lazy about driving to JoAnn’s. Then I remembered the sparkly green dress at the bottom of the basket. So here, my friends, is a tutorial of sorts on how to turn the clubbing dress of the life you don’t have, into the mermaid tail of your kid’s dreams.
1. This is the dress. I’m pretty sure the devil made it (forever21). It was made of super scratchy/stretchy fabric. Perfect for play clothes you’ll only be in for minutes at a time, but not for a real dress you are expected to function in.
2. I was only going to be using the “skirt” half of the dress for the mermaid tail, so I separated the skirt half of the dress from the top half.
3. I measured Foos’ waist. I turned the skirt upside down and roughly sketched out the shape of the tail with a piece of chalk, making sure the intended waist of the tail was at least an inch wider than foos’ waist. As you can see, I did not bother to make the sketch perfect, or even symmetrical. It’s play clothes, not couture, it was fine.
4. Cut out the sketched shape of the skirt.
5. Sew it together! I have a beginner’s sewing machine, which isn’t very good, but mostly does what it’s supposed to. This was a knit fabric and I did not have the right sewing needle attached to my machine. The needle broke three (!) times while I tried to sew two feet of fabric. This was super frustrating, but in the end, I won.
6. Admire your handiwork.
7. For the mermaid fins I took apart these little iridescent play skirts she already had but did not fit. They can be got at the the dollar store. You can use any piece of tulle or fabric you find suitable though. I even considered using the top half of the dress as the fins, which that would have worked fine, too.
8. I cut the iridescent skirts into two pieces that wrapped around the “v” shape at the bottom of the mermaid tail. I sewed them on. Tah dah! Skirt is done!
Foos is super happy with the tail. Last week her cousins slept over and they were fighting over who got to wear it – success!