I’ve got a three, nearly four year old called Clover and over the last few months she’s been transitioning from Princess to Full Mermaid phase. She wants to be a mermaid, she wants to see swim like one, be unable to walk like one, look at pictures of them and so on. I do love making things for her (and necessity and skintness are the mother and father of invention) so I decided to make her a mermaid tail for Christmas (and breathed a sigh of relief at the bullet I had dodged which would have been the Elsa costume).
I had a vague idea of what I was going to make – sewn rather than knitted, and something blanket-like which she could snuggle into and lie legless in on the sofa. It had to be made of fleece, I decided, but after setting off for the local fabric shop full of enthusiasm and ideas, I came back empty handed. Nothing felt right, and the colours were all wrong (I was a bit vague about the colours to be honest, but I generally know what I like when I see it).
And then it came to me – Ikea throws! Made of fleece, cheap as chips and lots of fabric in each one too. I had a quick look at them online and found a greeny-blue one called Skogsklocka (£4.50) and a grey scalloped edge one called Polarvide (£3). The former would be the main body and the latter would be used for the tail and the scalloped edging cunningly cut and sewn onto the body as scales!
So one night last week I made a start as soon as the kids were in bed. I did some hasty measuring while she slept then dashed downstairs, laid out the throws and drew some chalk outlines then just started cutting.
The actual tail bit was a little trickier because I wanted it to look fairly realistic but also be possible for her to stick her feet into it. I also overstitched the top piece with some lines to make it more realistic.
Once the body edges were sewn and the tail attached, it was starting to take shape. I still have no idea if her legs and feet will fit comfortably into it, but I live in hope!
The final task was to cut off the scalloped edge from the grey blanket and sew sections of it in rows near the top to give the impression of scales. Now, looking back, I don’t know if I was getting bored or if it was a gin night, but I just cut sections and kept sewing them on in rows, blithely ignoring the lack of parallel relationship with the top hem.
And once I’d run out of pre-cut scales, I figured I was done and that it was Good Enough. I’m so gutted that I still haven’t been able to try it on her and so still have no idea if it fits or if it’s Mermaid enough for her. There’s another ten days to go and I can only hope that the mermaid obsession is still as intense then as it is now, as ten days is a long time for a preschooler.
And what of the offcuts, of which there are many? Well, whatever Clover has, her seven month old sister must have too, and so very soon I’ll run up a tiny version of Clover’s tail. I can only imagine the conflicting emotions Marigold will go through – the utter joy at being involved in her older sibling’s role play, coupled with the intense horror when she realises she can’t move her legs. Anyway, I’ll be back in a few days with a photo – just keep your fingers crossed that Clover has as much fun wearing it as I did making it!