This year my children and I have been drawn to read stories about mermaids. We’ve been through traditional fairy tales and several contemporary books, including one very beloved series. As the fascination with mermaids and mermen hasn’t yet dwindled, I came up with this 10-minute project to satisfy my son and daughter’s desire to transform all of their dolls into merfolk. These wee tails can recast your child’s favorite dolls into fanciful summer playmates. They’re so easy to whip up that they lend themselves to a whole batch for birthday party favors. They’re readily stitched up by children, or could be pre-made and decorated by little ones with an assortment of beads, ribbons, buttons, or other baubles. Enjoy!
Fabric scraps, at least 10 inch x 10 inch
Doll for size comparison
Large Tail Pattern PDF (for approximately 10-12″ doll)
Small Tail Pattern PDF (for approximately 6-8″ doll)
Begin by placing a doll on the printed pattern to determine the appropriate tail size. You may wish to enlarge or shrink either of the two pattern sizes to fit the intended doll, or freehand draw a tail based on the pattern. You can also increase the tail size easily by placing the template on fabric and cutting a centimenter outside the perimeter of the pattern, just as you would add a seam allowance on a euro pattern. Don’t forget to leave room at the top for a foldover channel for the elastic.
Place the tail pattern on two layers of fabric, right sides together, and cut. Trim closely along the top edge of the waistline with a pinking shear to prevent fraying.
With right sides together, and leaving the top edge open, sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the sides and bottom of the tail. Trim the excess seam allowance with pinking shears, being careful not to clip your stitching.
With the sewn tail still inside out, fold the top edge of the waist outwards, toward the wrong side of the fabric, to form the waistband. This last step can be completed by machine sewing for the larger tails, but you may find that you have to hand-sew the waistband on the smallest tails. Either way, stitch close to the raw edge around the waist, leaving a small opening for inserting elastic. Use a safety pin to feed the elastic through the casing, and secure the ends together with a few stitches. Finish the waistband by stitching the opening shut.
Turn the tail inside out, and use a turning tool to push out all the edges and corners. Press to complete.
Bernadette Emerson is Co-Editor & Publisher of Rhythm of the Home magazine. She lives with her husband and two young children in the midwest. When she’s not working on ROTH, she enjoys singing in a band, playing music, drinking coffee, getting lost in books, and following artistic whims and creative fancies. You can now find her on twitter.