Friday, June 28, 2013

Mermaid dress DIY

There are princesses, fairies and then there are mermaids .. I think these three categories pretty much summarize the world of any 4 to uhmmm 10? year old girl and beyond.

A few weeks ago I overheard a mom at LoLo's gym class talking with another mom about her 8 year old daughter's birthday and she was excitedly explaining how she bought a "real" swimmable mermaid fin for her on etsy. (Really??)  Who on Earth would want that???
Well, as my mermaid costume research before the Coney Island's Mermaid Parade shows, plenty of little girls would want just that! To my complete surprise, I also learnt that there are professional mermaid entertainers, there are people living (not sure how?) as mermaids and there are professional mermaid competitions to top it all! (I may find a career after all :).

Once in a while I contribute to a Hungarian magazine in Slovakia and about 5 years ago I wrote about the Mermaid Parade. I was fascinated by all the costumes, the energy and the atmosphere of the parade (the only one I've ever been to in NYC ... ). I especially loved watching families all dressed up pulling their little mermaids, crabs and fish in wagons down the street and sometime between drum rolls, taking photos and leaving my eyes on a dangling pair of painted bare boobs, I promised myself to walk in the parade with my future children one time.

And so I did ... and made costumes for it!

I promise, this is one of the easiest costumes you'll ever make ...

For the kid size you will need: 
1 tank top the size of the mermaid
1 cheap (but impressive :) sequin tank top
1/2 yard of shiny fabric (for the bottom ruffle)
1/2 yard of tulle  
clear sewing thread (not a necessity, but makes it easier to sew)

Kid size
1. Cut the tank top at the lines where you want the dress to start
2. Cut the sequin tank by the straps and aline the cutting with the back

Sew the bottom hem of the sequin tank to the botton of the white (top) tank. Stretch both materials while sewing, leaving the opening at the exact middle of the back. Sew the middle line to fit the little body and cut out the unnecessary part of the fabric ... 

The parts of the tank, where the straps were creates a fin look to the dress from the front and depending where your middle line will be sewn together at the back, a "V" shape from behind. 

Take your shiny fabric with the tull and ruche.
Once ruched together, saw to the bottom of the dress and voila!!! I used a clear thread, because it is stretchy and doesn't show through the fabric.

For the adult mermaid dress: 
1 well-fitting bra (I bought mine at Target)
2 cheap (but impressive) sequin tank tops
1.5 yards (or 2) of the cheap shiny fabric
1.5 yards (or 2) tulle
2 Michael's bags of shells
glue sticks and glue gun
sequin strip (or a cheap sequin collar - I bought mine for 6 USD at Forever 21)
clear sewing thread

For the bra, I started with cutting my collar in the middle and sewing the two parts to the top of the bra. Once that was done, I hot glued shells to the bra. This was so much fun! I could not wait to finish and try it on ...

I took the two tanks, sewed them together (while stretching them over my knees) with a nylon, clear thread. I cut one in a straight line, and the other I cut the way I did the small dress - with parts of the straps left. After the two tanks were sewn together, I stretched the straight top and sewed it on the bra. Initially, I was going to cut out the extra part at the back, but I decided that it looked rather mermaidish :) so I simplified my job and left it just like it ... Accessorize with pearls and hair fascinators (aso made from the same shiny fabric with shells glued on). 

And here they are ... mermaid Elvi and mermaid Lola ... 

A few fun photos from the day ... 

My instagramed little sailor who loves Lola ... 

And one more photo of the mermaid dress ... 

All I can say is, that now I know how Ariel feels in Disneyworld. Though we didn't make the paper, we did make it to numerous little girls photo albums, who wanted to take picture with "The Mermaids" and were all so jealous of mermaid Lola, who in exchanged smiled and gave away hugs as if she was one of those pro-mermaids. 

When I decided to do this, I said I will make this costume one time and will wear it again if we decide to attend in the future, but guess what??? My imagination is constantly working on my mermaid outfit for next year .. hahhh ... I see many more mermaid costumes in our lives (especially because we collectively had sooo much fun!)

Lolots of lo(lo)v(i)e to you all mermaids and merman! 

xox LV

P.S. Did you know that you can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and even Instagram? :) My Insta name is babocanyc, Facebook up there with the logo and you can also search for lolovie on Pinterest! I am all over the place :))   


  1. What a great, creative job. You and your daughter look wonderful and very mermaidish and happy.

  2. Thank you :) We had a lot of fun and can't wait for next year!

  3. :) Really cute. Love it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. A few weeks ago my little granddaughter told me she loves Mermaids! since then I have searched and searched for ideas on how to make a mermaid outfit. Yours is the absolute best and you gave such great info on how you made them. Thank you!!!!!

  5. amazing!! The mermaid dresses are sooo cute!

  6. Where did you purchase the sequin tank tops?

  7. LOcal cheap store - one of those that are a step up from a dollar store. I think it's called DII, but I've seen similar at Strawberry .. perhaps Forever 21. Good luck!

  8. I LOVE these so much and am inspired to make something similar myself (not to sell, just to enjoy)! Scouring thrift stores and junk heaps now! Tres cool site you have here, I'm so glad I found it! Blessings See real mermaid videos,mermaid video VISIT HERE