June 23, 2010

Favorite Posts: Mermaid Tails

I'm still alive, I promise. We're having a blast with our theme of the week, but I've been completely unmotivated to blog about it. I'll reveal the theme and show you all our great books and crafts next week. In the meantime, here's one of my most popular posts from last summer...


The Book - Mermaid Dreams by Mark Sperring

We got this adorable little book from the library this week. In the story Meriam hates getting ready for bed. As her mother brushes her crazy, curly hair strange things keep falling out. Shells, crabs and pearls drop from her curls. Meriam stalls bedtime - and explains the sea creatures - by telling of all the adventures she had playing at the beach and swimming in the ocean. You assume throughout the story that this is all in Meriam's imagination. The very last page reveals the truth - Meriam is a mermaid.


Little Page read this book to herself on the way back from the library (did I mention she's a crazy-advanced reader?) and cried out at the end "Mom, she's a mermaid!" with a look of pure joy in her eyes. The illustrations are colorful and fanciful, and the story itself would probably hold the attention of children as young as two.

The Craft - A Mermaid Tail Towel


I saw a mermaid tail towel in the Chasing Fireflies catalog, but unfortunately didn't have a spare $50 to spend on a towel for my preschooler. I searched Etsy, but those were only a little cheaper at around $40 a piece. So, being the ridiculously incompetent seamstress that I am, I decided to make my own! Here's how...

What you'll need:
  1. 2 towels
    Although beach towels would work best, being thinner, I couldn't find any plain colored ones. Instead, I picked up a couple bath towels from Walmart at $4 each. I chose a light pink and dark pink one, but you could use any two coordinating colors.
  2. bias binding that matches the towels
    You can buy bias binding from any fabric store or you can make your own. How do you make bias binding? Well, I used the tried and true method of calling up my mother-in-law to do it for me. If you don't have a MIL who loves to help you with sewing projects, then you can try this tutorial.
  3. 12' of matching 1.5" (or wider) ribbon.
  4. Sewing machine
The steps:
  1. Measure and cut the dark towel to be 41" long. The lighter colored towel should be cut to 26" long.
  2. Match the towel's ends and pin. Sew together with a 1/4" seam. Spread out this new long towel and fold over the seam, hiding it. Sew another 1/2" seam to finish off the edge.

  3. Lay the towel out on the floor. With a marker, freehand a mermaid tale shape (think whale) on one half of the towel. Cut along this line. Fold the towel in half, mark and cut the matching side. You now have a basic mermaid tale shape.
  4. Pin your bias binding around the edge of the towel. You can use one color around the entire tail or coordinate your bias binding with the two sections of tail. Since my MIL was doing most of this part for me (oh, the bliss!) I opted for two colors.
  5. Sew your bias binding around the edge of towel, eventually doing both sides so the entire edge of the towel is finished off.

  6. Pin the center of the ribbon to the center of the top of the towel so 1/4" to 1/2" hangs over the top. Meet the ends of ribbon together to create a giant loop and sew the ends together. Pin and sew the bottom edge of the ribbons onto both sides of the towel to finish off that edge. Sew the ribbons together as close to the edge as possible for the full length of the ribbon, top and bottom.

Congratulations! You have a beautiful mermaid tale towel for less than $20. If any of these steps didn't make sense to you, then simply ask your mother-in-law to explain. She might get really into the project and even make an extra tail out of the scraps!

7 comments:

  1. Super cute! I wonder if Princess would like one......

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  2. I love hearing about Little Page's excitement, I can imagine the look of joy on her face. Those are the moments that make everything worth it!

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  3. I think this is my favorite project of yours ever! I love it! Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

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  4. Beautiful! I've been making these as well and everyone asks for a tute! I'll link to yours if that's okay! :)

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