Monday, April 28, 2014

Mermaid Costumes

One of my daughters was just in a middle school production of The Little Mermaid.  She had the role of a jelly fish.  I had the role of "the costume mom."  I was so excited to make mermaid costumes!!  I used this pattern:  McCalls M5498 


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I made only the skirt portion of the costume and had each of the girls bring in a matching tank top.  I added a zipper and an elastic waistband to each skirt.  During rehearsals, the director and the "mersisters" decided that each mermaid would have their own unique style.  So we had one that was "goth," our only non-colorful mermaid.




Here are some tips if you need to fit many of these at the same time.
  1. Make all the skirts in the size of the largest actress.  Note, this takes little additional fabric as the difference is width, not length with this pattern.  This also allows each actress to select her favorite color.
  2. This pattern makes REALLY LONG skirts.  So, my advice is not to add the darts at the top of the skirt until after you have fit the actress.  This way, you can simply remove fabric from the top of the skirt rather than hemming the fins at the bottom of the dress.
  3. Leave a 6-9" opening at the back seam (where the zipper will go) and bring safety pins.  This way you can pin the skirt closed while fitting the skirt.
Lessons Learned

  • If I were to make these again, I would taper the skirt to be more fitted at the knees. 
  • This pattern requires a lot of fabric - mostly for the "fins."  You can reduce the fullness of the fin without losing the affect.
  • Skip the zipper and the darts at the waist.  I wanted these to look nice and fitted, as if they were apart of the mermaid.  At dress rehearsal when the girls put on the tank tops, I realized the waistband doesn't show.  I could have saved myself some serious time if I had just  skipped the zipper and the fitting at the waistband!  Next time, I will just use some of the additional fabric at the top to form a casing and run elastic through the waistband.


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