Have you ever needed a mermaid towel? What about a sun lounger blanket? With a hidden compartment? That folds up on itself? AND looks like a mermaid tail?
You might not have known you need a mermaid beach blanket until today!
I am SOOO excited to share this with you…. I know I always say that… but this is amazing.
Disclaimer… this project involves lots of sewing! It might not be your typical Sunday afternoon craft project. However, it is well worth your time!
Also, when I sew, I work in inches…
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What you need to make your mermaid beach blanket:
- old mermaid tail (that’s beyond repair) – all my tails are FinFun and I had one that I had just retired
- LIGHTWEIGHT old towel OR lightweight towelling fabric OR reverse French terry (my piece was large approximately 70 inches x 48 inches)
- 1 inch wide elastic (I used 15 inches)
- sewing machine (use a zig zag stitch)
- quilting/sewing clips OR sewing pins
- ruler/tape measure
- needle (for hand sewing/basting)
- serger (overlocker)
- snaps/poppers – I use KAM snaps*
- KAM* pliers
- rotary cutter*
- quilting ruler*
- cutting mat – like this one*
How to make your mermaid beach blanket…
There will be lots of steps, so take things slow and shout (in the comments) if you have any questions!
- Prep your towelling fabric. See how large of piece of fabric you have. Determine if it will wrap all the way round you. Is there spare? My piece worked really nicely as it wrapped around just over 1.5 times.
- Check it folds up relatively small (so that it will fit inside the tail fin). The mermaid tail will stretch quite a bit.
- Measure up – I did this by eye (not helpful for you, sorry!). I knew I wanted it to overlap by that extra 1/3. For this, I worked out my fabric was approximately 70 inches wide. I divided this into a back section of 22 inches, and two side sections of 24 inches (the easiest way to do this was to measure in from the edges 24 inches, whatever is left will be your back piece). Mark these points (24 inches in) as we will be attaching elastic to them later. I wanted it almost floor length so I could wear it as a dress or a skirt! It was slightly long, but I knew that by the time I had added a waistband and a bottom hem, it would be the right length.
- Don’t forget to ensure your fabric is even. Folding your fabric to check it is even works well, as does measuring at various points. I was lucky as the shop I purchased it from had done a really good cut!
- Next, I serged (overlocked) all my edges. My fabric had stretch to it – which made it a little harder to sew! My seams kept curing which was driving me crazy. You can skip this step if you don’t have a serger or if you are not using stretch fabric. If you are using an old towel, this won’t be a problem!
After that, I folded over the side edges 0.25 inches, then again and stitched. This gave each edge a nice clean line. I used a long zig zag stitch as my fabric did have stretch. (Using a long zig zag means the stitches will stretch and you can’t really see the zig zag stitches)
At this point, you can finish your bottom seam. I serged it, then folded it under and under again. If you don’t have a serger, fold under 1/4 inch, then another 1/4 inch. Mine does look really wrinkled as my sewing machine didn’t like the stretch fabric (and I haven’t invested in a walking foot yet!). However, I think it adds to the mermaid theme. Use a long zig zag stitch to sew this seam.
Where you have marked your fabric (mine is marked 24 inches in from each side seam), sew the elastic to either end by the markers, 1/4 inch from the edge. Do not stretch your fabric or your elastic. I used a 15 inch piece of elastic, stretched over 22 inches. Use a wider zig zag stitch and run over it a few times.
This shows where I’m attaching my elastic
Sewing the elastic – use a wider zig zag stitch.
Sew the other side
Now, fold under your seam 1/4 inch and then fold it over 1.25 inches. If you have serged your edges, you will fold that part under, then fold over 1.25 inches. Pin this down.
The tricky bit of sewing the waistband is doing this where the elastic is. Just work slowly and carefully. Don’t pin the elastic, but create a tube for it to go through with the pins.
I had some adjusting to do as I had made my seam too small – but this shows how to create the seam.
Sew the waist band! At this point, use a long zig zag stitch. Don’t catch the elastic!
Sewing your seam – don’t catch the elastic!
The video is a little wobbly… but it explains what to do and how to move the fabric around the elastic!
Sew the edges of the waistband down.
Finally, pop it around you, line up where you want the snaps to go and put them on!
I did this by eye… but you can line them up with the edges of your elastic.
Start by preparing your tail. I used a ruler to chop off the top (where the hole was.
Next, turn it inside out and pin the bottom seam. I use sewing clips as I am forever running over pins with my sewing machine!
Now prep the top edge. I serged the top seam and then folded under and under again. If you don’t have a serger, fold under 1/4 inch twice
Finish by sewing the seam edge with a zig zag stitch!
Putting it together!
Now you are going to baste together your nice finished edge of your mermaid tail with the bottom finished edge of your towel.
(Basting is just temporary large running stitches to hold it all in place. You could use pins/clips but because of the seams, it’s a bit tricky – plus, I gave up on pins once I’d stabbed myself one too many times. I did my basting stitches in red so they would stand out when I came to remove them later).
Stitch over your basting stitches on a sewing machine to pop it all together. Then remove your basting stitches.
WOW! This mermaid beach blanket is looking good!
However, I wanted a handle so I could carry it around.
Cut one long strip (1.5 inches wide) from any remaining mermaid tail fabric you have. I had already made my mermaid headband, so my piece was relatively short.
Ensure you cut down the mermaid tail so the scales are straight down. You might have to cut off a bit at the edge, (keep that bit – more projects are planned) but this will look better.
With right sides together, stitch the whole way down the long edge (I used my serger), you can use a zig zag stitch.
Next, turn this the right way round. This isn’t as easy as it looks! Check out my video for help.
This video will show you how to turn the long, thin tube the right way around.
Attach the handle to the inside seams on either side of the fin part of your creation. I hand stitched this, just because I didn’t want the stitches to show from the outside. You could use a sewing machine if you wanted.
How to attach the handle
Admire your mermaid beach blanket (and bag/wrap)!
Have a little walk around… show off!
Posing with my mermaid blanket!
Pose in the garden, on the sun lounger. Wrap it around your waist, or your hips. Check out yourself in the mirror.
I have been posing in my garden and generally showing off around the house – check out my instagram feed to sneak peaks of it in action!
Please tag me in any/all of your creations. I can’t wait to see them…
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Thanks for reading this far!