Friday, May 29, 2015

DIY Fleece Mermaid Tail Blanket

Hello happy crafters!

It has been an incredibly slow process, but I'm happy to say this project post completes my one year of craft-blogging!  52 craft posts down, and I can't think of a more fun project to end this little journey for now!

Let's get to it.  :)

I have a fabulous niece who just hit the double digits by celebrating her 10th birthday a couple of weeks ago. She and I spent some time in the most magical place on Earth a few months ago, so I know she has a fondness for  a certain Little Mermaid. :)
See? :) She's the coolest 10-year-old I know!

My sister came across this Etsy posting on Pinterest, and I knew I needed to try to make my own version for my sweet niece.  Check it out:

What little girl (or grown-up girl) doesn't want to flip her fins every now and then while reading a book or watching a good movie?

.... I even found a crochet grown-up version on Etsy....
Now I just need to work on my crochet skills!

Anyways, on to the project!

Materials I used:
  • 1.5 yards of aqua-colored fleece
  • 1 yard of bright green fleece
  • 0.5 yard of a sparkly, sheer fabric.
  • 0.5 yards of loft batting

To make the tail.....

  • To determine the size and dimensions of the tail, I folded an old fleece blanket lengthwise and sat on top of it.  I loosely marked the outline of my lower half with pins, pinning both layers of fabric together. 
(I wanted to make this blanket my size so that my niece would have a lot of room to grow in it.... Like I said, I have a feeling any grown girl would still love to have a mermaid tail for snuggly couch time.)
(With the help of my always-present-assistant, Jolene)

  • To make sure I was on the right track I got in the practice "tail" and adjusted some of the pins. 

  • I used masking tape over the pins to make the shape a little clearer and adjusted the tape to make the tail shape symmetrical.

  • After getting some measurements, I transferred the same design to the aqua-colored fleece, which was folded lengthwise. 

  • I pinned the layers together and cut out the front and back pieces for the tail.

  • This next step is totally optional, of course!  I decided to embellish the tail a bit by adding some "scales."  I made a scale template with card stock and cut enough scales from scrap fleece for several rows on the tail.

  • You can use a repeating or random pattern, whatever you have the time and energy to do!  I pinned scales into rows, then sewed them in place with two straight seems near the straight edge of the scales of each row.

  • I decided to make a "waistband" for the top of the blanket.*  I didn't want to put elastic or a drawstring in it, but I just wanted it to look a little more finished. 
*To be honest, I didn't remember to do this until I was sewing the whole blanket together, but for future reference, I think it makes more sense to do it at this point of the process! :)  (Trial and error at work!) 

  • I folded the top, straight edge of the front piece and the back piece ~2 inches down (towards the wrong side of the fabric), then used a zig-zag stitch along the edge. 

Now for the fins...

  • I folded the green fleece and lined it up next to the bottom point of the tail template.  I used masking tape and lots of trial and error to come up with the shape of the fins.

  • When I had a shape I was happy with, I cut a front and back piece for each fin.  If your fabric has a "wrong" side, be aware of the direction of the fin you are tracing or using as a template.

  • Once I had my four fleece fin pieces, I traced a right and left fin from a sparkly, sheer fabric.  (The sheer fabric will cover the front of each fin.)

  • To give the fins some substance, I cut one layer of batting for each.  Each fin basically became a small quilt.

  • I assembled a "quilt sandwich" to sew all of the layers together at once and be able to turn it right side out. (With this method, you won't need any binding because there won't be any raw edges around the fin.)

  • Here is the order:
1.) Batting on the bottom:

2.) Green felt, right side up:

3.) Sparkly fabric, right side up:

4.) Green fleece, right side DOWN

  • Pin around the edges, being sure to secure all 4 layers.  

  • Sew around the curved edges of the fin, leaving the straight edge open for turning.  

  • Trim fabric and turn each fin right side out.

  • I sewed one curved line in the middle of each fin to quilt it (secure the batting and fabric layers), and add some dimension to each fin.
*This was super thick, so it helped to go slowly with the sewing machine!

  • Repeat for the second fin, then DONE! **At this point, you can sew the fin closed, if you like.  I did, thinking it would make sewing the blanket a little easier.

To assemble the blanket:

  • I laid out all of the blanket pieces, right-side-up, to see where each piece should go.  

  • Once you're happy with the layout, pin and fold the fins into the tail. (The sparkly fabric is touching the fleece scales.)

  • Next, place the fabric for the back of the tail on top of the other piece (right-sides-together), and pin around the edges.

  • Carefully, sew along all of the curved edges, leaving the straight edge open for turning.  Be sure to back-stitch several times along the waist, since it will be pulled and stretched a lot over time.

  • Turn the finished mermaid tail inside-out!!  

Hooray!! It's done!!

I have to admit I tried this on and sang a few verses before forcing myself to take it off and wrap it.  :)

I think it suits her. :-)

I hope you have a wonderful day!  
Make something fun for you or someone you love!

Have a beautiful Summer! I know we will :)
Thanks for reading along!