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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DIY Mermaid Tail for an 18-Inch Doll with Free Pattern


I have finally found time to give you the tutorial for the mermaid tail for the 18-inch dolls. I shared pictures of the first one awhile ago. I should mention that Hazel has of course lost the first one. Or at least misplaced it. I was hoping to tweak my pattern a bit but my tweaks without having the first one did not work well. 

I did some experimenting. At one of our favorite stores on Cape Cod there are some fun mermaid tails for the dolls and I actually got to talk to the maker and she shared her secret to the tail bottom. I tried to copy it, but it did not turn out quite like hers. Oh, well. Hazel also did not like that hers was one piece including the top. Hers did not have the straps on it, but I thought it might help keep it on. She also did the top decoration much better. I just did a bow.


Next I drew a new pattern trying to make the tail fins a bit larger. They however did not look good, so I covered them with the same method of the tail from the one piece.

So I went back to my original pattern and tried it again. Hazel decided this was her favorite one and is the one we will use for her mermaid playdate next week.
As I mentioned in the post I first shared the pink tail, I took the tail idea and pattern shape from a post at Peek a Boo Pattern Shop: Dressing Up Dolly: Mermaid Tail. I also loved the top she had made for her doll so I worked on one for Hazel's.

For the top I took a scrap of fabric and made it into a tube with right sides together. Then turned it the correct way and measured it. I sewed the ends in and added Velcro. Then I used a ribbon or trim wrapped around the center and knotted and then brought as a halter top and tied (more to make sure it stays in place).



My pattern is in two pieces which you have to tape. You can get Piece 1 and Piece 2. I saved them as pdf's so you can easily print them on regular printer paper and have the right scale. If you want it to be a one piece, add a few inches to the top. I would widen the thinnest part of the tail by just a bit. To make the tail, tape the pattern together and cut two of them from the fabric of your choice. Then cut just the bottom fin part out of batting (two pieces). Baste the batting onto the wrong side of each piece. Then with right sides together stitch the pieces together leaving the top open. 


I used my serger, so I did not have to finish the edges of the fabric, but if you do not have a serger and are using fabric that will fray, make sure to finish the edge with a zig zag stitch. I clipped the curves in three spots and then turned it right side out. Next fold the top down twice and stitch the band leaving an opening for elastic. I used 1/4 inch elastic but could have used 1/2 inch as well. Measure the elastic to the doll or use 10 1/2 inches (American Girl waist according to Doll Clothes Patterns). Put the elastic in the band by first putting a safety pin on it and feeding it through the opening. Then sew the elastic ends together and stick ends into band. Close hole. Your tail is complete. I have not made one for Hazel's BFC doll yet. I will have to adjust the pattern since that doll is so skinny!!

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