A fabric mermaid tail is usually the easiest kind of mermaid tail to make. Do you want to make your own mermaid tail? Then keep reading!
Making a mermaid tail: what you’ll need
The things you need to make your own mermaid tail are:
- a sewing machine
- basic skills with a sewing machine, or someone who can sew for you
- stretchy fabric used for bathing suits; lycra, spandex, or something similar
- thread in the same colour or slightly darker
- an elastic band of around 1 meter
- pattern drawing paper
- a pencil
- a needle
- a measuring tape
If you want to make flukes on your tail, you will also need:
- organza fabric that’ll look good with your tail (make sure to get something synthetic, not cotton or silk)
- a small flame, preferably from a tea-light
Drawing a pattern for your tail
Start by checking how much stretch your fabric has. Usually, lycra has around 20% stretch to it, but you may want to work with 10% just to be sure you have enough room to begin with. Remember, you can always cut away fabric, but you can’t add it!
Measure yourself. You’ll need the following measurements:
- mid-waist: around 10 cm below your waist, fullest part of your abdomen
- from your waist to the widest part of your bum (usually around 20 cm below waist)
- from your waist to your knees
- from your waist to your ankles
- hips: widest part of your bum
- circumference of both your knees together
- circumference of both your ankles together
- length of your monofin
Now what you’ll want to do is divide all these measurements by 4 (you’ll only be drawing a quarter of your tail to save time and make sure that it’s even). After that, subtract 10-20% (depending on the stretchiness of your fabric). So make a new list; if your hip’s width was 100, and your fabric has 20% stretch, write 20 (because 100/4 = 25, 25 * 0.80 = 20). Do this for all horizontal measurements, not the vertical ones! When you’re done, start drawing your pattern.
Start by setting out the waist (the “new” measurement of your waist) on the side of the paper. Move down to mid-waist (measurement 2) and mark the vertical measurement (so from waist to mid-waist). Then, mark measurements 3, 4 and 5. You should now have a straight line (prefereably along the side of the paper) that’s as long as the distance from your waist to your ankles.
Add the length of your monofin to this line.
Now you can begin to set out the ‘new’ horizontal measurements. Start at the top (waist) and draw a line, in a 90-angle degree, that has the length of the new (small) measurements of the waist. Do the same for mid-waist, hip, knees and ankles.
Connect the dots; draw a more or less fluent line from waist to ankles. Put the monofin halfway onto the pattern and draw the rest of your fin onto the pattern of your legs.
You should now have a pattern that is suitable for one leg and half the monofin (don’t worry, it’ll turn out okay, I promise).