Learn how to make a mermaid tail skirt! It’s perfect for a handmade costume or just dress up time, and it’s easy to run and play in!
My daughters love dressing up and do any chance they can. It makes Halloween costumes extra exciting! Currently one of my daughters wears dress-ups as her clothing. I love adding pieces that they can play with like this mermaid tail skirt!
My daughters love mermaids so much I even made them a mermaid stocking for Christmas!
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I made my daughter a handmade mermaid costume and a mermaid dress a couple of years ago with a very simple how-to, but this is an in depth tutorial of how to make the skirt. Especially since I have two daughters that both love to be mermaids!
This is the original skirt that I made. I used a scale print stretch fabric that was white and gold. I had the “point” of the tail go down in the front and up in the back. The gathered tulle tail is a pretty mint. I made the point go down for the look of a mermaid tail, and up for the ease of movement and running. (She ran to each house when we were trick-or-treating!)
I had extra scale fabric so I made a rash guard that she actually wore all summer for swimming. It’s a great addition to this costume though and makes it look seamless!
This is the new skirt that I made for today’s sewing tutorial. I used a scale print stretch fabric that was black and gold, and the gathered tulle tail is white. I made the “point” of the tail go up in the front and down in the back. This look is more like the classic mermaid silhouette style, but moves just as well as the other version.
The sequin top was the original top I made for the first Halloween costume. I used sequin fabric with pale stretch fabric underneath. Then I added a tiny gathered tulle skirt to the hem of the shirt.
How to make a mermaid tail skirt
- Scale print stretch fabric* (how to sew with knit fabric)
- 3 or more yards of tulle*
- 1 inch elastic* here are some ideas for finding elastic to reuse
- Sewing tools
Measure the hips of you or your daughter. This will be the width of the skirt. Divide it in half to cut it out on the fold.
Measure from the waist to the knee for the upper point of the skirt. Measure from the waist to the mid-calf for the lower point of the skirt.
Whichever point you want to be in the front should be cut on the fold. The point you want in the back should be cut on the seam.
Cut six to eight pieces of tulle that measures from the knee to the floor. I used the width of the tulle for maximum volume.
Pin the skirt seam right sides together and sew with a zigzag stitch or serger. Finish the raw edges if desired.
Lay out all the pieces of tulle matching up both short edges. Pick up one side and match it up with the other side and pin.
Sew with a straight stitch and 5/8 inch seam allowance. This will form a giant tube.
Cut elastic to fit your waist or your daughters waist snugly. Overlap the edges 1/4 inch and sew to form a tube.
Pin the elastic to the top edge of the skirt distributing evenly. Zigzag the elastic to the skirt.
Fold the elastic over so that it’s enclosed in fabric and zigzag in place.
Sew two or three rows of basting stitches along one long edge of the tulle.
Pull the bobbin threads to gather the tulle. Gather it until it’s a smaller circle about the size of the skirt.
Divide the bottom of the skirt into four equal sections. Divide the tulle into four equal sections. Match up the four sections of both skirt pieces. Distribute the gathers evenly.
Sew the two skirt pieces together with a zigzag stitch. Be careful while going around the points. Finish the raw edges if desired.
Turn the mermaid tail skirt right side out for the perfect skirt! You might need to trim the tulle shorter so that the tail lays evenly on the ground. Make sure you do this while you or your daughter is wearing it.
If you make something using this tutorial, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!