Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Londa’s Sunroom Sewing Studio
These days find me doing some really FUN sewing in preparation for an up-coming Doll Sewing Class for kids. Oh my heart aches to be able to snap a picture of my 2 1/2-year old granddaughter and her 'dolly' in what I've created, but alas she lives a days' drive away and her Mommy is just a little busy packing up the house to move even further away.
Sew...here is a picture from the original designer of these great Mermaid Tail Blankets.
These directions are adapted from those found at https://www.madeformermaids.com/mermaidtail/ . I give full credit to the Blog author for the pattern pieces and basic directions. I have added a casing at the top of the band to keep the blanket ‘on’, and also refined the fit so that when sitting, the blanket doesn’t pull down at the back.
In addition, I’ve altered the attachment of the Tail to the Body so that one (or their Doll) can ‘walk’. So you choose - warm toes, or walking.
Please go to the links shown below under Cutting Directions to download the patterns for printing.
SUPPLIES - these supplies will yield ample for both a child AND an 18” doll.
Top Band and Tail: 1 1/4 (1.25) yard of 60” wide polar fleece.
Main Body (middle): 3/4 (.75) yard of 60” wide polar fleece for a young child. An older child will need 1 1/4 (1.25) yards. This could also be a 44-45" wide cotton print but it wouldn’t be a warm nor as stretchy. A smaller print is better than a great big one, especially if being used for the smaller scale doll.
3/4” wide elastic in length comfortable for waist of child, or 11” of 1/4” wide elastic for an 18” doll.
NOTE for teaching children: ALL parts of polar fleece create quite a bit of bulk that many machines cannot handle. I suggest making either the Top Band and Tail OR the Main Body of a lighter weight fabric: for stretch: even a ponte double knit, or without stretch: quilting cotton or flannel. This is experience 'talking'. :)
Go to this link to ‘purchase’ at zero cost the pattern pieces.
Then, print them out on your home printer and tape them together.
1. Offset fold along the selvage 15” deep in order to cut out the TWO Mermaid tails for the Child Size on the fold of fabric as shown in the photo below. This will give you plenty of room to cut the Top Bands AND the Doll Size Mermaid Tails (nestled in on fold as shown).
2. Cut the Top Bands: (It is best for stretch if the longer length is along the width of the fabric)Cut two Top Bands for Child Size: 18” x 23”. Cut two Top Bands for Doll Size: 7” x 8 3/4” (8.75).
3. Main Body: Cut two pieces 36” x 23” for a toddler/young child OR for an older child, cut it longer: 45” x 23”. For 18" Doll: 14" x 8 3/5
4. Shape the Main Body pieces at one end using the ‘Cut Out’ Pieces from the downloaded pattern.
Polar Fleece is very lofty, thick fabric. Use polyester thread, a Stretch Needle, and a LONG stitch length - like 3.5 to 4.0.
1. Wrong sides together (WST), stitch both long shaped sides of the Main Body using a 1/2” seam allowance. Pin these seam allowances OPEN.
2. SHAPE the Main Body by scooping out the FRONT 2” at center front for girls, 1 1/4" for 18" dolls, curving up at the sides as shown at the right below. Define this 'Front' by putting in a safety pin so you know this is the Front. You can see WHY I decided to do this in the picture below showing the doll in a sitting position - the BACK needs more length than the FRONT.
3. Stitch the short sides of the Top Band WST in 1/2” seam allowances. Press seam allowances OPEN.
4. Fold this in half so that it is now 9” wide (3.5” for doll size) and machine baste at 3/8” around the cut edges as shown.
5. Pin the Top Band to the Wrong SIDE of top edge of Main Body. When stitching, either stitch ‘inside the tube’ at the machine as shown in the picture below.
OR make use of the free arm of your sewing machine as shown below.
6. GRADE the seam allowance as shown to eliminate bulk. The very widest seam allowance should be the one belonging to the outside of the Top Band. The shortest seam allowance should be that of the Main Body.
7. Fold the Top Band to the outside of the Main Body, rolling the Top Band a bit to the inside.
8. Stitch through ALL layers about 1” from the uppermost fold. This keeps the Top Band down, and also will create a ‘casing’ through which to feed the elastic. This is OPTIONAL, but especially for playing with the Doll, I think this is needed to keep it ‘on’.
To insert the elastic, carefully rip an opening in the side seam of the Main Body on the inside.
CREATE & ATTACH THE TAIL
1.WST, stitch the outer edges of the tail pieces using a 1/2” seam allowance. Trim closely and turn right side out.
Press the edges, getting the seam to lay on the edge.
2. ’Quilt’ stitch the layers of the Tail together as you desire. You may use straight or zig zag stitching.
If this is just a blanket, and no walking is needed, the rest is simple, just turn under 1/2” at the bottom of the Main Body part and baste.
Stick the Tails up into the Main Body and pin.
I feel hand whip-stitching the tails to the Main Body is the nicest look, as trying to topstitch it all together will look fine from one side, but not so good from the other side.
For a ‘Walk-Able” Garment, follow these directions so that the Front Main Body (one you marked with a safety pin) is open, and the Tail is attached to the Back Main Body.
3. Lay and Pin the Tail unit to the outside of the BACK Main Body and stitch exactly from side seam to side seam. Trim this seam allowance and zig zag to ‘finish’.
4. Turn under the Front Main Body seam allowance 1/2” and zig zag to hold in place from one side seam to the other.
Have you made Mermaid Tails for dolls? Girls? Yourself? Add your comments and pictures!