Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A DIY Mermaid Skirt

In a couple of weeks, there's going to be a fun Bubble Guppies birthday that we'll be going to and I thought it would be fun to outfit the birthday girl (my niece) in something befitting of the theme and the location at a beach. If you don't know yet, Bubble Guppies is an animated show about mermaid boys and girls- but that's about the extent of my knowledge that I can share with you. 

I wanted an outfit that would be great for the beach, to get wet and run around in and still fit the theme. At first, I sketched up a very complicated dress and then kept simplifying it about four more times before I went to bed at one in the morning. Then, at about 7am that very morning, while still half asleep, the light bulb turned on and I knew exactly what I was going to do. Inspiration truly does strike at the oddest moments for me!

I envisioned a bow bandeau, or bow-deau as I call it, with a knee length mermaid-esque skirt. I wanted to keep it a quick-sew project since I'll be making three of them so I decided a few randomly placed scales would be better than attempting to attach scales to the entire skirt.

And I came up with this adorable outfit that I think the girls will all love. I plan to make them in different color combinations for all three girls and this is the first version I made.

I put together a quick and hopefully concise tutorial so you can make one for your own girl. It's sized for about a 3T/4T but because of the elasticized waist, can fit even more size ranges. I'll put together a separate tutorial for the bow-deau a little later this week! Enjoy!

I used a stretch satin charmeuse in teal for the skirt with a matching tulle. I think the satiny fabrics work best for a shiny, oceany effect. I'm definitely making up a bunch of new words as I go but you totally get what I mean, right? All right, other than fabric, you will also need:

-3/4" elastic
-coordinating thread
-scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat

Ok- let's get going!

Cut your skirt fabric in a rectangular shape. Mine was 12.5"x33". I wanted the tulle to flare out right above the knee and still be roomy enough inside to walk or run in. Measure your wearer from waist to knee to make sure you get the right length.

Cut your scales out. Mine were various sizes (3"-4" wide) and I did not use a pattern for it. I was lazy so I just freehanded these. Once they're sewn, it won't even matter if they're cut crooked! 

Once you've got them pinned where you want them, sew them on.

Set your skirt aside and pull out the tulle. The tulle I used was folded down once already, creating a 27" width and two layers of tulle. I believe that's how it came on the bolt. So I just folded down the 27" tulle until it created the length I desired for the flared tulle at the bottom of the skirt. I wanted 6" of flared tulle and knew I would need to trim the raw edges so they aligned better so I cut it at 7". 

I don't have a picture of the skirt being gathered, but it is gathered at the bottom hem and should match the size of the tulle as well.

Pull out the gathering stitches in both the tulle and the skirt before moving on to the next step.

Pretty easy, right? If I was unclear about anything, let me know in the comments and I will try to explain as best I can. I do have to make two more of these so if I come up with something I forgot to mention here, I will return to update this tutorial. 

I gotta admit, she is pretty darn cute in this! I love the bow-deau but I think it's gonna need straps to go around the neck! Running around at the beach in it will surely cause it to slip! Stay tuned for the tutorial on that one!


  1. This is gorgeous! I pinned this and will probably HAVE TO make it for my own four year old daughter, she is obsessed with anything ocean related and mermaids especially. Great tutorial and such an original idea! I'm now a follower!


    1. Thanks so much! It really is quick to make if you don't get interrupted every 2 minutes like I was! =) Looking forward to seeing your version soon- and thank you so much for following.

  2. I absolutely love this idea - especially the extra scales you've added, they really set it off! I'd be thrilled if you'd come on over to Pink Recipe Box and link up at Creative Wednesdays: http://pinkrecipebox.com/creative-wednesdays-with-pink-recipe-box-2/

    1. Thank you Nicky, I will definitely come link up!

  3. Great tutorial! I love how you scattered the scales. This will come in handy some day...


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