Lately I’ve been seeing mermaid themed jewelry and clam shell motifs which inspired this year’s Halloween costume. It does seem a little early to start planning but I’ve decided I won’t have the time or energy to work on a costume once the new school year starts. So this is what I’ve been working on for the past 3 weeks: Mission Mermaid~~~

*disclaimer: I am really bad at taking progress photos so most of these pictures are after I cut the original fabric. Also, this is in no way a tutorial though I do mention a couple tips, it is just a progress post for me to look back on.

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Since costume fabric is challenging to work  with especially for a beginner like me, I sewed everything together once using cotton thread so the fabric holds together and makes it easier for me when it comes to actually using the sewing machine.

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This is the body portion of the costume which went through a number of alterations because I kept running into problems and changing my design. SUMMER 2014 281SUMMER 2014 285SUMMER 2014 287

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No use of the sewing machine just yet, this is how the “tail” of the mermaid and body looks when put together.

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I originally wanted to make my bodice/bustier out of sheer fabric but sewing this kind of really slippery and smooth fabric is just so hard so I scrapped this piece and instead used my dad’s old work shirt to practice making the top.

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I think the top took about 4 tries to get what I really wanted, this is trial #2 using 4 pieces of (practice) fabric.

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Top and bottom pinned to get a general idea of what the finished piece will look like.


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I then made top #3 as an attempt to recreate my dummy version but then I realized how unflattering the waistline looked together because it was a simple straight line. I changed the design so the top dipped into a v right at the waist.


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I started making a slip to wear underneath the dress using the same sheer fabric I used to make the original top.

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Nothing is hemmed yet, I’m gonna need to borrow a special sewing machine for that. The pink ribbon you see at the top is just a placeholder for the actual straps I’ll attach later on. I’m still thinking about whether I want it to be a halter or a v-shaped neckline like the photo below.

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I haven’t taken pictures yet of how my dress looks currently, but as of now I’ve sewed everything using a sewing machine (except for the top) and also attached a zipper in the back. I’m proud of how much I’ve been able to accomplish this past couple weeks but it would not have been possible if my grandma wasn’t here to teach me. She visited us for a couple weeks in July and during that time she taught me techniques and the basics of sewing. In Japan she makes clothes by weaving scraps of traditional kimono fabric and also teaches classes to her fellow lady friends. I think I’ve come a long way since Day 1 of this project- just looking at the amount of fabric overwhelmed me and I had extremely high expectations of how this piece was going to look (not considering I am a complete novice and have never sewn silky fabric). The general body of this dress is done and now I’m onto making the slip for underneath the dress and adding all the little details.

Keep an eye out for future posts on this dress 🙂

xx Rino



  1. Pingback: ORIGINAL PIECE: THE FLOATER | Hangers and Hats·

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