Well, I also made the Mermaid Fin/Tail from ruffle fabric (that a friend of mine bought at HobLob-then brought it with him on the plane). This skirt/tail was actually really easy to make, and pretty quick to whip up for a costume.
Here is what I did:
-measure child's waist, then added 6" (ex: 21"+6"=27")
-measure child's height from the waist to the floor (I don't remember Widget's measurement for this)
-cut ruffle fabric (make sure the ruffles are running horizontal to the waist measurement) (ex: 27"x?")
-pin the sides together...easiest way to keep the ruffles all running the same way (and lying flat) is to put a pin on every row of ruffles
-sew up the side seam (I used a zigzag stitch because the fabric is stretchy
-then flip the fabric right-side-out
-wrap elastic (for waist band) around child's waist for measurement...you can use your previous measurement, but I find that different elastics stretch differently.
-cut elastic the width needed, then sew the ends together
-attach waist band to skirt (with band seam on inside of fabric)...I use this technique, and it works well. You wont have as big of a difference between the width of the fabric and the waist band as the tutorial, so it's even easier to stretch-and-sew
-now you have a skirt...I tucked the elastic waist band into the skirt so it wouldn't show, and it also means she can probably wear this skirt next year because I now can add 3-4" in length by just unrolling the waist band.
-cut tulle into circles (my circles are about a 18" diameter, you can do larger for a larger size costume)...I used my handy dandy cardboard tabletop, and since tulle is see-though I could cut following the line on the board.
-separate tulle circles into two even groups. I used 3 colors of tulle and ended up with 8 or 9 circles in each group. Arrange colors in the same order for both groups (ex: 2 glitter blue, 4 lavender, 2 turquoise).
-fold a group of tulle circles in half, then make a running stitch down the fold (close to the fold, but make sure to catch all layers) thus creating 1/2 circles. Repeat with other group of tulle circles
-pull bobbin thread to gather tulle 1/2 circles. Pull thread gently so as not to snap the thread, if that happens you will need to make a new stitch. How tightly you gather your 1/2 circles depends on your taste and how big your skirt is. (I gathered my 1/2 circles too tightly-pictured-then had to space it back out to fit the skirt)
-mark the middle of each tulle 1/2 circle, then line it up with the side of the skirt. Remember to place the middle of the tulle higher than the bottom of the skirt. When you attach the tulle, you will slope it downward, creating the 'fin' look.
-find the middle of both the front and back of skirt. Pin tulle on sides of skirt, then pin tulle sloping downward to match the 'corner' of the tulle with the center of the front. Repeat for other side, then flip skirt over and repeat with the other two 'corners' of the tulle.
-once the tulle is all pinned, run a zigzag stitch to attach the tulle onto the skirt...be careful not to catch any other fabric in your seam, like I caught the bottom edge of the opposite tulle circles in part of my seam. My mini scissors were my best friend at the time, as we worked together to remove many a seam (slowly so as not to rip the delicate fabric).
I found some awesome trim at a craft store here in Puerto Rico, which is what I used to pick the colors for the entire costume.
-glue the trim onto top part of fin (sewn edge of tulle) to hide the zigzag seam. I used Fabric Fusion (because it was the fabric glue available at Walmart). The glue works well, but definitely let it dry for the suggested time frame (2-4 hours). I pinned the trim down, after setting it on the tulle, so it wouldn't move before the glue set.
-once glue is dry, take pins out. Step back and admire your work (stepping back is optional, but admiring your work is required)
-let child try on completed skirt/fin/tail, note their smile and excitement
|Sorry about this pic...it was taken with my phone, so I wouldn't miss this smile :)|
This process was really easy, and fun to do...if you want or need to make a mermaid fin, do it! Just jump in and make one...I think you'll enjoy it. And, the finished product will always be fun (come on! who doesn't dream of being a mermaid at some time or another???).
Thanks for reading :)