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glitzy mermaid costume (part 1)

My daughter was a mermaid for Halloween last year. Well, she wanted to be a princess, but I talked her into being a mermaid. It was easy to convince her when she saw the glitzy fabric I bought from JoAnns to make her costume! She was adorable, and I had lots of compliments on her costume. The other day, after many scoops of Nutella, I forced myself to sew another one, just so I could take pictures and post a how-to on it. And I’m considering having a giveaway for the one I just made, because we don’t really need two of them. Thoughts?

Sooo… if you want to make a glitzy mermaid costume, you’ll need this sequiny fabric (its called confetti-dot) I bought mine at JoAnns (and used a coupon!). Its great because it has some stretch, and it doesn’t really fray, which means less sewing. I was going for an “Ariel” vibe with my light green and purple, but a pink/orange combo would be cute too (like Barbie’s Mermaid Tale).

Start by measuring your child. You’ll need measurements for her waist, waist to floor, waist to knee, bust, and neckline to waist.

From there, figure out how much fabric you’ll need. My daughter is a tall and skinny 5 year old, and I used 1 yard for the skirt, 2/3 yd for the top, and 1 yard of tulle for under the “fin” part. You could use more tulle if you want it to be poofier. You’ll also need some elastic (1 inch width, for the waist).


1. Cut a rectangle (with fabric folded in half, so you get 2 rectangles). Use the waist to floor measurement, and add about 4 inches for the waistband casing. And then half of your waist measurement, plus 2 inches for seams and comfort.

2. Fold the rectangle in half again, and measure down the waist to knee length, and from there cut diagonally to the opposite corner.

3. Trim up your excess pieces, you should have 2 pieces from the sides selvage and 2 pieces from the bottom selvage. You’ll use these pieces for the “fin” part of the skirt.

4. Fold the tulle in half and then in thirds, so you get 6 long strips that are about 10 inches wide.

Now for some sewing, and more cutting.

5. Sew the sides of the rectangle together.

6. With the fin pieces, cut the two skinnier pieces in half, and sew one skinny half to each side of the wider pieces. (If you buy extra fabric, you can just measure two pieces that are about 10 inches by 40 inches).

7. Fold the fin pieces in half, and measure up a few inches (on the skinny side), and cut from there to the opposite top corner.

8. Now you can kinda see how the fin part will come together.

Now it really starts coming together

9. Sew a gathering stitch along the top of each of the fins (the pointed side, not the straight edge), and gather it.

10. Pin them to the skirt, with the skinny end in the bottom middle, and the pointed side matching the side. (Man this is hard to describe, hopefully I’m making sense).

11. Gather the tulle.

12. Pin it to each side of the fin.

Almost done!

13. Sew all layers together, being careful to make sure you catch all 3 layers.

14. Sew the bottom middle part of the fin together.

15. Lay the skirt out, and trim the tulle to be the same length as the rest of the fin (or as desired).

16. Make the casing for the waist band. Fold the top down twice and pin it.

Final steps!

17. Sew all the way around, leaving a 2 inch opening to slip in the elastic.

18. Slide the elastic through, using a safety pin on the end to make it easier.

19. Adjust the length of the elastic to fit properly, and sew it securely.

20. Sew the gap closed.

Your little mermaid is going to love it!

I posted the tutorial for the Glitzy Mermaid Costume top, plus a little peak at my craft room, next here. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram (@thehowtomom) or Facebook (, now would be a great time to start!

Oh, and comment and let me know if you would be interested in me doing a simple giveaway for this costume in time for Halloween. I would call it a size 6/8.

No more tangles, for real.
glitzy mermaid costume (part 2) and a peek at my craft room

Lindsey Johnson

Friday 4th of October 2013

So cute! I wish I could sew even more now. My youngest would especially be all over a mermaid costume.

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Saturday 5th of October 2013

I'm sure you would be a natural at sewing! You should get out your machine and start with some pj pants or something.

Stacy Rambo

Friday 4th of October 2013

sooo adorable...I would totally want to win this in a giveaway, just tell me how! fabulous!!!

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Saturday 5th of October 2013

If there's enough interest, I'll do it on Instagram next weekend. :)

Britney Mills

Thursday 3rd of October 2013

So fun! I loved the Little Mermaid as a kid and think this would have been so fun to have for Halloween! Thanks for sharing!

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