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Hello Make it & Love it readers! Crystal here, from Stitched by Crystal! I have been sewing up some fun summer accessories for my daughter’s dolls, including some really adorable mermaid tails! I have always loved mermaids, and I guess that love rubbed off on my little girl because she loves them too. So she was really happy to see some of her favorite handmade dolls outfitted with some new fins! Today I have a tutorial showing you how I made them so you can sew a mermaid tail for any size doll!
These tails look adorable on my daughter’s handmade dolls, but I will show you how to measure your doll and create a pattern to sew a mermaid tail for any size doll. Even a teddy bear or stuffed pig could become mermaid with this technique!
But if you need a doll, I used Ashley’s doll pattern (which is free!) to sew the big doll used in this tutorial and she makes a really sweet little mermaid.
These mermaid tails are a really quick and easy sew. They have an elastic waist so they are easy for little ones to get on and off their doll and the fin is tied in a cute little knot.
So grab some fabric and sewing supplies and let’s sew up some mermaid tails for all your little ones dolls!
Want to sew a mermaid tail for any size doll? Great! Let me show you how…
You will need….
- Fabric, the amount depends on your doll size, but 1/2 yard should be plenty. This is also a great project for raiding your scrap bin!
- 1/4″ or 3/8″ elastic, enough to go around your dolls waist.
- The doll you want to make a mermaid tail for so you can get her measurements
- Basic sewing supplies.
- Paper and pencil to draw your fin pattern
Start by getting your doll’s measurements – you will need to measure around her waist where you want the tail to sit and her length from the spot you want her tail to sit to the tips of her toes. You can see below, my dolls waist is 9″ and her length is about 12″.
Next, we will be drawing out our pattern.
Take your waist measurement and add 4″ to that number for ease and seam allowance (so for my doll, 9″ + 4″ = 13″). Then divide that number by 4 (so, 13″ / 4 = 3 1/4″). Draw a line that length across the top of your paper.
Next, add 2″ to your length measurement (so for my doll, 12″ + 2″ = 14″), draw a line that length down on the left side of your first line. Then draw a 1″ line at the bottom. Finish your tail pattern by drawing your mermaid tail shape on the right side. My dolls have skinny legs so I drew straight down at the top and curved in to meet my 1″ line, if your doll has bigger legs or large feet, you may want to flare out a little before curving in to meet the bottom line. This will make your tail pattern and you will place the length line on a folded edge of your fabric when you cut.
Next, your will need to make a pattern for the fins. Start with a 1″ line to match the bottom of the tail. Then, draw a line perpendicular to it for the length of your fin (I made both my mermaids fins the same size, 7″, I probably wouldn’t go any smaller than that, but you may want them a bit bigger for a larger size doll). Then draw a curve for the fin on top. The straight length line will go on a folded edge of your fabric when you cut.
Next, use your pattern pieces to cut your fabric, you will need 2 tails cut on the fold and 4 fins cut on the fold.
Place your fin pieces right sides together and sew around the curved edges with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Trim your seam allowance and clip the corners. Turn your fins right side out and press.
Lay your fins one on top of the other and baste them to the bottom of one of your tail pieces.
Place the other tail piece on top right sides together, and sew around the tail with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving the top of the tail open. Finish the seam with a serger or a zig zag stitch.
Turn the tail right side out. Fold the top edge of the tail 1/2″ towards the wrong side then another 1/2″ towards the wrong side. Sew along the folded edge to create a casing for your elastic, leaving a 1″ opening at the back.
Cut your elastic the same length as your dolls waist. Using a safety pin, feed the elastic through the casing, sew the ends of the elastic together and then stitch the hole closed.
Tie your fins in a tight knot.
And your mermaid tail is complete!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
***ALL contributor posts by Crystal, can be found HERE.
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For more homemade toy inspiration check out these ideas you can make right at home: