Even if you have no idea how to sew, it can be easy to make a mermaid costume. All you need is patience and a good eye. And if you can sew, you can really go to town!
The Appeal of a Mermaid Costume
Long before Ariel and A Little Mermaid, mermaids have held a strong appeal in the cultural psyche. They have a quality about them that is romantic and yet also a bit dangerous - remember, mermaids were once said to lure sailors to their deaths with the power of their song. A mermaid is certainly sexy and yet by their very nature, out of reach. The idea of magical creatures deep beneath the sea, whether benign or a bit vicious, has enduring charm and pull. It's is no wonder that mermaid costumes have been a part of fancy dress for a long time.
How to Make a Mermaid Costume
The most common sort of mermaid costume to make is the one that encases the wearer's legs in the fishtail, while obviously allowing for mobility to walk. If you have further craft skill, you can make a more elaborate tail that only drops to your knees and then swings out behind you. By attaching the fins by a wire to a shoulder harness, you can seem to swim as you move - or just sit and swish your tail.
Each costume requires a certain amount of effort and consideration before beginning, but the latter definitely demands a few more steps. If you're just starting out with craft work and want something simple, stick to the basic steps to make a mermaid costume.
Since the tail is the most crucial and attention getting aspect of the costume, it's where you'll want to concentrate your energies first. The absolute simplest option is to go to a thrift store and look for long fitted dresses in either blue or green shimmery or sequinned material. You might be amazed at how easy these are to find - there were a lot of glitzy bridesmaid dresses in the 1960s and 1970s. If the dress you find is a bit small in the waist, all the better - you are going to cut it in half at the hips. You'll need to run some stitches around the top to prevent unraveling and for safety's sake should use some body glue to hold it in place. Add some filmy fabric for fins and you have a tail.
The top can be as simple as a bikini top and you can glue flowers or even plastic seashells to it. if that's too much work, get a plain top and use fabric paint to draw on the shells.
Another tail option is to get some shimmery fabric and wrap it around the thighs up to the hips. Tuck in the end like a sari. Then use more fabric, gather it via basting, and attach it to the knees. Again, add some filmy fabric for fins.
Hair and Accessories
Once you know how to make a mermaid costume, you can go further and make a headdress by adding some of the fin fabric to a headband. With silk flowers and a string of seashells, and maybe some more sequins, you will have beautiful hair. If you like, you might get some temporary dye and color your hair blue or green to match the tail.
Accessories can include a lei or a seashell necklace. Anything nautical will do.
For warmer weather, consider using some blue or green glitter or body paint on your arms and torso. If it is cold, you may need to invest in a body stocking. Dress it up with a few more sequins or glitter or paint.
For shoes, flower adorned sandals are great. If you want to sparkle a bit more, look for matching glitter shoes.
Have a fin-tastic time!