Easy DIY Mermaid Inspired Dress

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Learn how to make an easy DIY mermaid inspired dress that is perfect for a comfortable and playful dress up or a simple Halloween costume.

We have a disney trip coming up in the next couple of months, so I decided to make my daughter a simple DIY mermaid inspired dress. I never need an excuse to make a DIY costume because I love it so much!

I wanted to make a mermaid dress that was simple and comfortable to wear, but I wanted the inspiration to be quick to see. I also wanted the dress to be really, really easy to sew!

The best thing about this dress is that it’s only two seams, and the added elastized waist is optional. You can use any solid t-shirt you have especially one that needs a stain chopped off the bottom. You can also use any fabric for the skirt, but scale print fabric is really fun!

My daughter and I chose a light purple and a green as a nod to the Little Mermaid, but I’ve sewn lots of mermaid inspired items with pink, silver, green, and gold. It’s fun to customize the colors!

My daughters are loving their magical creature stage which means we talk about mermaids all the time. Here are some fun mermaid sewing projects:

DIY Mermaid Inspired Dress


Put the t-shirt on your child to find their waist.

Take the t-shirt off and cut across the mark to shorten it.

Fold the scale fabric in half matching selvedge to selvedge. Fold it in half at an angle matching the fold to the cut edge.

Use this free half circle skirt template to find the radius and the length of the skirt. Mark the radius at the waist and the length of the skirt.

Cut out the skirt.

Open up the skirt. Since we are doing a half circle skirt the print of the scales will be correct, but it changes direction as it goes to the back of the skirt. I didn’t mind the change of direction and left it as is.

With right sides together match up the straight edges of the skirt and pin in place.

Sew the seam with a zigzag stitch at 1/4 inch seam allowance. I sewed this knit fabric with just a sewing machine.

Divide the cut edge of the t-shirt into four equal sections. Divide the waist of the skirt into four equal sections.

Match up each section and pin the skirt to the t-shirt with right sides together. Make sure that the direction of the scales is matched correctly on the front of the t-shirt.

Sew the waist seam with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and a zigzag stitch.

Cut a piece of 1/4 inch elastic to snugly fit your child’s waist.

Overlap the ends of the elastic 1/2 inch and zigzag in place. This will form a big tube.

Divide the elastic into four sections. Divide the waist seam allowance into four sections. Match up the four sections and pin the elastic to the waist seam allowance.

Zigzag the elastic to the waist seam allowance stretching the elastic as you sew.

Turn the skirt right side out and you finished!

If you make a DIY mermaid inspired dress using this tutorial, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

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