Introduction: Swimmable Mermaid Tail
Welcome to my swimmable mermaid tail tutorial! This will show you how to make a tail that is ready to be taken in the ocean, pool, lake, water park, bathtub, etc! Lets get started! This project will cost about $100 dollars or more depending on your monofin choice and fabric. It is a great project for the summer and the simple sewer!
Pencil or pen
Monofin of choice (Lets talk about monofins) A monofin is a type of swim fin that looks like two fins fused together with foot pockets. It is used in the sports of free diving and swimming and of course mermaiding! They come in different shapes and sizes and is made by several companies, one of my favorites being Finis. I am using a Finis Wave in this tutorial, but you can use whichever monofin you prefer, the tutorial works for all.
The Finis Mermaid Fin, fits girls 1-7, but they have several mermaid shape fins now. It was my first monofin and is great for beginners. The Finis Wave is larger, I have a photo below and fits girls size 2-8 The Finis Rapid fits girls size 9-13
Finis has a wide variety of monofins so make sure you read up on what type would be the best for you.
Large roll of paper such as packing paper or wrapping paper to make your pattern, both are available at the dollar store.
Fabric - Lycra Spandex or Poly Spandex, also known as swim fabric or performance knit fabrics.In terms of fabric you want to use a polyester spandex or lycra spandex. You can find tons of options online on Etsy, stores like SpandexWorld.com or StretchWarehouse or your local fabric store like Joann Fabrics. They come in all sorts of types, matte, shiny, holographic, scale printed, etc. Some of these fabrics will not hold up well in chlorine, always give your tail a thorough fresh water wash after every swim. Holographic fabric or prints will fade over time and may scrape off on things like the concrete of a pool or the sandy bottom of the beach. They make wonderful tails, you just need to be a bit more careful with them. Some fabrics only stretch in two directions, for the best fit and comfort, I recommend using a fabric that stretches in four directions.
How much fabric you need depends on your height. I got away with one yard, folding it on its length so the full sixty inches of the fabric was laid out. Doing this prevented me from having extra fabric to add flow at the end of my fluke. I should have gotten two yards. Make your pattern first with the monofin and add any additional shape you want at the end before buying your fabric to prevent you from running into my same problem.
My fabric was a Yaya Han cosplay fabric for $24.99 a yard from Joann Fabrics. Its poly spandex with four way stretch in a white color with a slight dragon scale print.
Sewing Machine (you only need something simple with a zigzag stitch.)
Step 1: Lets Make Our Pattern!
Lets break out that roll of paper or wrapping paper. Lay it on the floor and put heavy things on the edges to keep it flat, then lay on the paper so the narrowest part of your waist is on the edge and your lower half of your body is on the paper. Put your knees and ankles together, ankles just a smidge apart and have a friend trace around you. Add an extra inch all the way around making a line where your heels are. Then put the edge of your monofin foot pocket on the line where your heels were and trace around the monofin. If you are adding extra length past your monofin, draw it in now, adding any extra shape to your fluke that you want. I didn't have enough fabric to do this so I don't have a picture.
Then cut the entire thing out.
Step 2: Cut Out Your Pattern
Lay your pattern on the fabric with the fabric folded with the right sides of the fabric together. This means the print of the fabric will be on the inside. Trace around your pattern, adding a half inch for seam allowance and cut out.
Step 3: Sew the Tail
Using a small zigzag stich, stitch carefully around the entire tail, leaving the waist open and a gap at the end of the fluke to insert your monofin. Once the tail is sewn, flip it the right way out. Insert your monofin through the gap in the fluke and hand stitch closed with a ladder or invisible stitch. Congratulations! You've just made yourself a swimmable mermaid tail! Enjoy!