Sustainable project #9: Mermaid Costume for a doll.

What a month!!

I have sewn more items this month, than I sewed all last year.

One of the things I sewed at the last minute was a fun little, easy, slightly different from most variations, mermaid doll costume. The main difference is this pattern does not use stretchy fabric.

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This little get up is so easy, you could whip it up in 20 minutes. It took me 2 hours, due to drafting.

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Too long, too skinny.

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Just right. After the first tail, I learned it is best to make mistakes on muslin, instead of the fabric you are going to be using.

You will need:

Decorative elastic, 1/4 elastic, non-stretch fabric a large remnant would do (I used a sparkly satin), a bit of stiff interfacing and a large piece of paper. Typical sewing tools of varying format will be necessary.

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First lay your doll on the large piece of paper. We have an American Girl doll, but any doll would do.

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Trace around your doll, but when you do, make sure you are about 3/4 of an inch away from her body. Do a second tracing around your first tracing that is a 1/2 inch away from your first tracing, this is your seam allowance, cut along this line. In the end, your pattern paper will be 1 1/4 inches away from the body of your doll.

Why so big? The fabric we are using (ahem the stuff I had on hand) has no stretch to it at all. You want to allow all the extra space you can give without losing form so you can actually put it on the doll. Beware of calf muscles and posteriors on these dolls.

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Here are the sketched out measurements for my pattern. It was a little easier to show on paper, then the actual pattern. The length of my pattern was 17 inches from top to the very bottom point of the fin. These measurements have the seam allowance included.

Once you have your pattern, use it to cut two pieces out of your main fabric remnant.

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Then cut a piece out of the interfacing that matches the bottom of the tail.

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Pin right sides of the tail together, with the interfacing on the wrong sides of one of the fins. Sew around all edges with the 1/2 seam allowance.

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Clip corners and curves and turn inside out and try the tail on your doll. To finish the top of the tail, do a simple elastic casing. Sorry I don’t have pictures, there are many great you-tubes and tutorials on this subject.

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Now for the top of the costume. Cut a rectangle of fabric, 6 1/2 x 3 1/2. Hem the short ends and then fold the piece in half lengthwise and sew.

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Turn inside out and grab your decorative elastic.

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Tuck 1/4 inch of elastic into the band and pin. Then wrap the elastic around the back of the doll, stretching it slightly as you go, measuring the amount you will need including the tucked amount, then cut.

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Sew the ends of the band straight down along the hemlines with the elastic encased.

Try it on your doll to make sure it is snug enough.

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Next cut a smaller rectangle, 2 1/2 x 1 inch.

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Fold lengthwise and sew. Then turn inside out and press.

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Scrunch up the middle of the band and wrap the small rectangle around it. You will need to hand sew this down or glue it.

There you have it!

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Your doll is all ready for the sea!

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Or some sun on the beach.

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A couple of fun things about the interfacing in the bottom of the tail, your doll can still stand and it keeps the fins form.

Happy Sewing!

P.S. This is one of my first sewing tutorials, so if I accidentally left something out or if anything is worded in a confusing manner, please let me know in the comments and I will be sure to fix it or clarify. Thank you!

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