Our daughter is newly obsessed with mermaids and wanted to be one for Halloween. My husband and I agreed on these design criteria: it had to be age-appropriate (no shell bikini bras for our 3-year old!), it had to allow for free movement (she’s very active) and there could be no references to Ariel of Little Mermaid fame. I couldn’t find a tutorial online for a mermaid costume that we both liked, so here’s what we came up with by winging it:
Step 1: The base
The base of the dress was a printed blue cotton fabric with a shirred top. It was a quick shortcut to get the basic shape and structure -- the scales were sewn directly to it. (It happened to be Little Mermaid fabric, so I had actually had to cut Ariel off the print at the bottom...we took some pleasure in this)
Step 2: Making the scales
The scales were made on a laser cutter in a ‘skip tooth’ pattern that could be assembled in a phased way so that each adjacent scale was different. We cut 3 different fabrics (various shades of blue with different textures) to create 1 strip of multi-colored scales. Tulle was sandwiched between each layer to give the strip some extra dimension; the layers were glued together.
With 1/2 yard of each fabric, we only had enough fabric for creating ~22 complete strips of fish scales; 30 would have been ideal.