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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Newborn Mermaid Set

We have a variety of free patterns here on the blog that we have shared over the years, and today's design definitely comes in high on the list of favorites for me! I set out to create this newborn prop outfit awhile back and was blown away by how it came together:
Photo courtesy of Cherish Me Studios, used with permission.

Isn't she perfect?!  When my photographer friend asked me to make this newborn set true to the movie -- my absolute favorite childhood movie, by the way -- I couldn't have been happier! We wanted it to be comfy yet perfect. And I even made a little prince set to match:


Eeek!  For the prince set, I used Baby Noah's pattern for the pants, and Baby Charles' for the jacket, mashed slightly with Baby Finn's to get the bling just right. And for the mermaid set... well, for that I created the following pattern, which you can use absolutely free!

 I'm super happy to share it with you, first of all because it was so much fun and we love our fans, and also to give you an idea of how fun it is to sew using our CKC patterns. They all include step-by-step photos and instructions, along with neatly printed pieces. You can use regular paper to print so even if you're new to pdf patterns, you're all set and ready to go!  

Let's get started!

Supplies Needed: 

2/3 yard stretch fabric for fin
1/4 yard stretch fabric for shells
1/8 yard Flex Foam (or Fusible fleece or other "padding" for shell inserts)
1/2" wide elastic
Safety pin (for turning)

Cut out the fabric according to the instructions listed on the pattern pieces. When you're done, you should have the pieces shown above. 

First, we are going to start with the tail. Take the two tail pieces and match them up with right sides together. Pin or clip the curves together all around the tail, as shown in red above. If you're using delicate lycra fabric, we recommend using fabric clips because pins can leave marks in the fabric. If you need to use pins, be sure to pin inside the seam allowances only. 

Sew the tail pieces along the pinned edges using a 3/8" seam allowance. Be sure to use a stretch stitch as you sew! If you're not sure which stretch stitch is best on your machine, you can use this as a guide: 

Be sure to sew only the edges indicated in red in the photo! The top edges of the tail (at the waist) need to remain open. 

When you're done sewing, use scissors to clip the curves and corners all around the tail. You want to cut close but be careful not to cut through the stitching! 

Turn the tail right side out. Use a chopstick or creaser tool to get right into the points of the tail. You may use a warm (but not hot) iron to help set the curve edges. Be VERY careful not to melt your delicate fabric!  If you're not comfortable ironing with heat, simply press with cold iron or your hands.

Take the waist elastic that you cut previously at 14" long. Overlap the ends by 3/8" and sew them together, forming a loop, as shown above. 

Slide the loop of elastic into the waist of the tail and match up the seam with one of the side seams of the tail. Pin or clip the elastic in place, stretching slightly if necessary. 

Using a wide zigzag stitch, sew the elastic in place by stitching 1/4" from the edge, removing the pins or clips as you go. See photo above. 

When you're done, the top edge should look something like the photo above. 

Fold the elastic inward all around the waist, with the elastic right up against the top fold. Pin or clip the fold in place. See photo below as well. 

With the elastic folded inward, it should look like the photo above. 

On the outside of the tail at the waist, use your original stretch stitch to sew 3/8" from the top edge, all around the waist.  See photo above.  

Your tail is now complete! 

Now you're ready to get started on the shells. For all of the shells steps you will use the same stretch stitch as before, but now it will be a 1/4" seam allowance on all steps. 

Take the Back Band piece and fold it in half lengthwise, with right sides together. Pin the long edges.  Sew along the long edge using a 1/4" seam allowance, as shown in red above. 

Insert a safety pin into the seam allowance near the end of the back band, as shown above. 

Turn the safety pin around into the tube you created and being pushing it through. 

Push the pin all the way through until it comes out the other end.  Remove the pin.  You should now have a long tube. 

Flatten the Back band with the seam at the bottom edge.  Topstitch both the top and bottom edges all along the band, by sewing 1/8" from the edge.  Be sure to use a stretch stitch! 

Set the back band aside for now. 

Take the two shell pieces and match them with right sides together. Pin or clip in place all around the edges.  Then using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew around the edges as shown in red above, being sure to leave a 1" opening on each side. Backstitch at the beginning and end so the stitches won't tear open in a later step. At the center points, be sure to rotate with your needle down so you can get a nice point.

Turn the shells right side out. You may need to use the safety pin again, or a dowel, whichever is easiest for you. 

Take one of the shell inserts and put it through one of the side holes and slide it into place. You may need to curl the insert a bit to fit it through the hole. The pointed side should go toward the center. Then insert the other piece into the other side. When you're done, you inserts should fit nicely in place, as shown above. 

Fold the shells in half at the center, creating a small fold.  Sew across that fold 1/8" from the end, as shown above. 

Open up the shells with the new fold hidden in "back. The front of the shells now have a neat crease, as shown above. 

Take the back band piece and slide one end of it into the opening on one side of the shells. Make sure it is overlapped underneath the insert piece, by about 1/4". Pin or clip in place. Then fold the edges of the shell piece under 1/4", just so they curve around neatly in shell shape, enclosing any raw edges.  Topstitch all the layers in place, securing the band in place.  Note: This is definitely the most difficult step of the project. It may help to use an iron or pins, or you may find it easiest to tuck under as you sew. Do it as neatly as you can. When you're done sewing, check to make sure you enclosed all edges on the back side of the shells as well. 

Repeat the previous step to insert the band into the other side of the shells. When you're done, it should look something like the photo above. 

Now you're ready to add the contoured topstitching, which give the shells their 3D appearance.  To do this, slide the shells onto your machine and start at the center and sew in a curved direction near the top of the shell, following the top until it curves back down toward the outside of the shell.  Do the same for the bottom curve, working from the center to the outside. Then move inward a bit and do another line. Don't worry if your topstitching is not exact. It will look good as long as they all curve gently outward, beginning and ending at the center points.  You may use four curves of topstitching on each side as we did, or more if you need, for it to look balanced. You can look at the photo above several times as you sew, if necessary. 

When you're done, your shells should look something like this.  Great job!

What an adorable newborn set you just made!  Now all you need is the baby!  

Here's another one that our fabulous tester, Melisa H., made for her little cutie:

So precious! You can use all different mermaid themes depending on what you want. You can leave the fins flat as Melisa did here (so pretty!) or you can add some extra dimension by adding a little poly-fil in the fins like the green version below.  And of course add all the bling you want!

Now it's your turn. Be sure to come join our group for more fun sewing inspiration, and share your photos when you're done!

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 


  1. Sew CUTE! Do you just wiggle her into the top band? What about lengthening the strap and putting a little square of velcro on one side so you can wrap it around and stick it with the velcro square under one of the shell sides? Otherwise, is it hard to get the band on or does the stretch in the knit accommodate ease in doing so?

  2. The knit should stretch enough to slip it over the head or the bottom.