Calling all mermaids! This post will show you how to make a mermaid tail for pool season! These are so easy to make and will turn any girl into a bathing mermaid!
These skirts are not really swimmable mermaid tails although if you use a swim fabric they can get wet. The skirt is cut pretty high above the knees on the sides so it won’t limit movement too much, however I still don’t recommend actually swimming in these. I think they are best for lounging in the shallow end or on the chaise lounge, because limiting movement in the pool makes me nervous. Be sure to supervise your child at all times.
This mermaid tail skirt pattern has a cute little fin ruffle and an easy shape with an elastic waistband. It’s simple to sew and makes a great gift! I love it as a mermaid skirt, too! Perfect for everyday wear in the summer or to dress up for a mermaid birthday party!
Mermaid tails are easy to slip on before or after swimming. This easy DIY mermaid tail is simple to sew and really easy to pull on and off for a day at the ocean! I love these as a cover-up and they double as a great piece for a dress-up box!
DIY Mermaid Tail Materials
- 1-1.5 yards spandex stretch fabric
- I’m using this printed liverpool fabric(affiliate links), which is not a swim fabric but dries quickly. I love the drape and shape of liverpool fabric for this project!
- If you want a true swim fabric to get wet, search for mermaid or fish scale swim spandex. Here are some options:
- 1″ elastic
Kids Mermaid Tail Free Pattern
This free mermaid tail pattern comes in 4 kids sizes, from extra small to large. They will fit these approximate children’s sizes:
- XS, 4-5
- S, 6-7
- M, 8-9
- L, 10-12
Download the mermaid tail template and print at 100% or do not scale.
These pages will fit on regular computer paper (8.5″ by 11″) or size A4 paper. After printing, trim the edges of the paper along the dotted lines and tape the pattern together as shown below:
The pattern includes the front/back tail piece and the fin pieces.
Waist Elastic Measurements
Use your child’s waist measurement plus 1″ as your elastic cut size or use these general measurements below:
- XS – 22″
- S – 23″
- M – 24″
- L – 25″
Easy DIY Mermaid Tail Instructions
Cut out 2 front/back pieces. These pieces are the same so it doesn’t matter how you cut them out, you just need two of them.
Use the fin pattern piece to cut out 4 fins. Two of the fins need to be cut mirror-image, so flip the pattern piece over to cut them or cut 2 out with the fabric folded wrong sides together twice.
Use a basting stitch, or a 5mm stitch length to gather the straight edge of the fin. You can do either 1 line of stitching or two, depending on how easily your fabric gathers.
Pull the ends of the threads to gather the fabric.
Pull the threads until the width of the fin matches the width of the v-shaped side of the skirt.
Pin fin in place face down on the skirt and sew to mermaid tail using a zig zag stitch.
Repeat on the other side of the skirt to get the mermaid tail shape!
Press seam allowance away from ruffle fin and topstitch along the skirt about 1/8″ from the ruffle.
Repeat with the back of skirt.
Assemble Mermaid Skirt
Place front on top of back skirt with right sides together. Sew side seams.
Overlap the ends of the elastic about 1″ and sew together using a zig zag stitch. Go over the stitching a few times to hold the elastic well.
Turn the skirt inside out. Stretch the elastic to fit around the waist, pulling elastic as needed.
Zig zag along the top edge of the elastic and skirt.
Then flip the elastic down to the inside of the skirt and pin.
Topstitch along the top of the tail, about 7/8″ from the top fold of the mermaid tail.
And you’re done! The mermaid tail is ready to wear! The bottom of the tail does not need to be finished since the knit fabric won’t fray much.
This long skirt looks super cute with heels or sandals!
This pattern could also work as a fish tail costume, or maybe even a shrimp! My girls love their new skirts and I hope your little mermaids love them, too!