FO Friday – Ariel the mermaid - mermaid costume

The big day is here … time for the Halloween costume reveal!

As I mentioned, our daughter decided she wanted to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid this year.  I’m not surprised that she wanted to be a princess, but happy to report that she won’t be one of the thousands of Queen Elsa’s (Frozen) running around tonight.

First thing to tackle was the red hair. - Ariel's hair

I made a hat using a 2×2 ribbing pattern so it would be extra stretchy.  I then woven in strands of varying lengths of yarn to create “hair”.  Not the refined and flowing hair that Ariel has, but it works for a one-day event.

I had hoped to sew the hair to the hat so it would stay better and wouldn’t pull out.  I found that extremely difficult to do without sewing down parts I didn’t want so I gave up.  We’ll see how long this lasts before we find all kinds of yarn pieces all over the house!

Pattern: basic 2×2 ribbed hat
Designer: me
Yarn: Red Heart Shimmer
Colorway: 1929 Red (has gold sparkles)
My Ravelry pattern page - mermaid costume

As I mentioned last week, I was inspired on my drive to the store to try and find some mermaid fabric.  Actually, I think the picture of the fabric I showed last week was the wrong one.  Unfortunately, you don’t get a nice sheet when you purchase from Hancock as to what fabric it is (unless it’s on the receipt and I’ve never noticed!)  Next time I think I’m going to snap a cell photo while I’m still in the store!

Keep in mind, all except the very first seams in the sequined skirt were hand-sewn!  (I’ll repeat what I said last week…)  I didn’t realize that the odd texture of the fabric was actually a sticky substance that kept gumming up the sewing machine needle, causing the thread to stick and then break.  Probably a lack of experience about fabrics on my part, but if I’d known that I would have gone looking for a different fabric.

The t-shirt was store-bought but only cost $5.  I wanted a long-sleeved shirt because Halloween around here always seems to be cold, rainy – or both.  Today we’re expected to only reach 41ºF.  Only die-hard football fans wear swimsuit tops in that kind of weather.

The seashells were the most mentally challenging.  I couldn’t wrap my head around how I was going to sew scallops!   On Saturday I was done with the tail and knew that I finally had to jump in and work on the top.  Fortunately, when I went to the craft room to hunt for purple fabric I spotted our wonderful supply of felt.  What a great idea – then I don’t have to worry so much about the scallop edges as they aren’t going to fray.  I found a scallop seashell image on the internet that was simple, printed it, and cut out the shape.  It was then a simple plan to trace onto the felt, cut it out and then do a running stitch around the edge to tack it to the shirt.  The lines on the shells are marker and may wash out the first time we wash it, but I don’t care.

Now for the pièce de résistance – the tail.  A couple of days after my big fabric-store purchase (which actually was < $20), I realized that the sequined fabric was much thinner than I remembered.  Our daughter is not yet 4 years old so we felt a bit of modesty was in order – even though it will be cold tonight and she’ll be wearing pants.  The main part of the tail is a simple skirt with some teal knit fabric underneath for a lining.  It’s hard to see but there is also a black iridescent stretchy sequin belt around her waist.

The tail is basically an apron; a double-layer thickness of the material that is tacked inside the skirt and hangs down below.  I cut fin shapes and sewed them to the sides of the apron.  To give the tail a bit more of a 3-dimensional look and to add a bit of weight, the bottom of the tail and the fins were lightly stuffed with polyester filling.  Once they were filled, I sewed some “ribs” to make them look even more like a tail.  Oh, and did you notice that Papa won the “argument”; I did end up having the tail in front so she could kick it.  I think it will show up better that way.

Our daughter has some sparkly turquoise shoes that she’ll wear with the costume tonight.  We don’t have a coat that goes well with this costume, but that’s not surprising.  What mermaid needs a coat?!

Was this worth the time and effort it took?  Absolutely!  I know it looks hand-made but that also makes it unique.  I think it all cost $20-25 for the whole costume.  Last year we found her a Princess Sofia dress for $15.  That didn’t have hair but did come with a tiara.  She’s worn that Sofia dress so often that it is literally falling apart and is beyond repair… again (I think I’ve fixed it at least twice).  The fabric and sewing in this costume should outlast the store-bought one if she should so choose to wear it out.

Pattern: n/a
Designer: me
Fabric: American Knit Sequins Teal Fabric from Hancock Fabric (item 2104230). The belt is a stretch sequin but I don’t see it on their website.

These pictures were taken last Saturday as we were both excited that the costume was done (a full 6 days early – unheard of for me!).  I’m planning to get some more pictures tonight before we head out for trick-or-treating.

3 Replies to “FO Friday – Ariel the mermaid”

  1. Aw, what a sweet, fish? Crustacean? LOL. She’s a doll. I took my cousin’s little girl to see that when it first came out. One night at church we had a praise service and I sang a solo. When I went back to sit down next to the little one she turned to me with awe in her voice and said “Christy, I didn’t know you could sing like Ariel”. Made my night!!!

  2. Oh, she is such a sweet Ariel! Lucky girl that has a mother that can make her such a costume!

  3. Awesome! It looks like you had to do a lot more hand sewing than I did.

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