Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Mermaid tail

This is my gorgeous girl in her mermaid tail. I made it as a costume for a party she went to recently. She looked at some mermaid pictures on Google and found a very realistic or rather, sophisticated, image of a woman with a huge tail, swimming underwater with huge breasts. And said to me, Mummy I want to look like that! I tried to explain the obvious and said I would try to make something just as good. This is the result of a lot of labour over a few days, through baby naps and night times. It is essentially an apron tied on the back. It means you can take it off if it gets annoying and still be wearing a lovely dress underneath. So maybe its more of an accessory than a costume.

First I drew a tail shape, (constant alterations until it looked right). You can see that I drew a rough scale pattern onto it. This was to work out roughly how many I would need to make.

Then I drew up my scale pattern with a full cm as seam allowance and got to work cutting out about 120 pairs! Very monotonous, reminded me of the bunting. But small curves are a lot harder to cut.

Each scale was stitched and pressed flat using a card insert.

The tail was cut in calico and silk and then wadding added to the fins.

Each scale was placed into a row and each row was stitched, one at a time, until it filled the whole tail and looked like this......

When the light hits it, its gorgeous. The colours are so rich and the tiny bits of sparkle just make it look more fun.

I added the sparkle to the tail fin and then cut the same pattern using fine tissue paper which I had drawn the tail fin lines on. This was then carefully pinned on and sewn on top of.

Here you can see the stitching on top of the tissue paper. Then you peel away the tissue paper and you are just left with your perfectly spaced stitch lines.Looks like you are just great at sewing!

Here is the front and back piece of the tail, ready to sew together. I added two long ties to the top in a coordinating silk, right sides together and bagged it out. I hand stitched the top waistline to finish it off. I then pressed the hole thing under weights and books overnight as I didn't want to iron it and ruin / melt it!

First thing in the morning my girl tried it on with excitement and I'm happy to say, it looked great. Phew job done. Five days of work for three hours of wear! Sigh! Hopefully it will get worn again.

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