30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial


30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

If your little girls are obsessed with all things mermaid, this is THE tutorial for you.  There is just something so enticing and mysterious about mermaids and my girls could play “mermaids” for hours, how about yours?  Whether your daughter likes dress-up or she’s searching for the perfect Halloween costume, this 30-minute mermaid skirt tutorial is sure. to. please.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

To make this mermaid skirt, you will need a stretchy knit – it looks super cute with a regular jersey knit, it can also be made with a lycra/spandex/swimsuit material for a great costume effect!  You will need just a small amount of fabric – less than a yard for most children’s sizes.  For the quickest construction, use a ruffling foot to gather the fabric for the bottom skirt ruffle and a serger to sew the three seams.  Of course, you can gather the skirt ruffle without a ruffling foot and you can sew the seams with your regular machine – and still finish in less than 30 minutes.  (be sure to use ball-point needles on your machines and a zig-zag stitch if you use a regular machine)

Are you ready?  Let’s get started!

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

You will need two measurements to make the skirt – your child’s hip measurement and the length from her waist to her ankle.  Cut one piece of fabric into a rectangle for the main skirt portion.  The width (the direction of the most stretch) should be the hip measurement – 2 inches.  The length of the rectangle should be the waist to ankle measurement – 4″.

Also cut:

a strip for ruffling that is 4″ by 2X the width of the skirt rectangle (or 2 x  hip measurement-2″)

A waistband piece that is 4″  by the width of the skirt.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Begin by cutting a curve along the ruffling strip and the skirt piece.  Fold the skirt in half lengthwise.  Fold the ruffling strip in half, bringing the short ends together.  Now cut a curve along the bottom (non-folded) corner of both of these pieces.  Just eyeball it so that you have a smooth curve rounding off the corners (about 4-5″ up the side of the skirt piece).

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Now ruffle the long strip.  Feed it through your ruffling foot for super speediness.  Be sure to leave the threads long on each end of the ruffle to redistribute the gathers to fit the skirt if needed.  If you do not have a ruffling foot, stitch a long basting stitch down the length of the ruffle, pull the bobbin threads to gather the strip.  Either way, the gathered strip should be the same length now as the bottom of the skirt piece.  Match the gathered side of the ruffle strip to the bottom edge of the skirt, right sides together.  Pin in place (or don’t, just check to make sure the length is the same).  Stitch or serge the ruffle to the bottom of the skirt.  No need to hem!

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Turn down the attached ruffle.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Fold the skirt in half with right sides in and match the two sides.  Stitch or serge from the top of the skirt down to where the ruffle seam is – do not stitch the two ends of the ruffle strips together.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Set the skirt aside for a moment and grab the waistband piece.  Match the two short ends, right sides together and stitch (or serge!!!) to form a tube.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Fold the tube in half along its length to form the waistband.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

With the skirt right side out and the waistband on the outside of the skirt, match the seamline in the waistband to the center back of the skirt.  Pin the waistband to the skirt, matching raw edges (the folded edge of the waistband will be facing down toward the hem).  The waistband should be the same circumference as the skirt, but be sure that the two are pinned evenly around the whole waistband.

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Serge together (or stitch – be sure you’re using a zigzag stitch)

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

And that is it!!  Wasn’t it quick and easy?

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

30-minute Mermaid Skirt Tutorial

Mermaid perfect in no time!

Gold and White Polka Dot Fabric can be found at Michael Levine, here.

Blue and Grey stripe knit can be found at Girl Charlee, here.

Teal knit from my local Joann.


  1. says

    These are amazing and are officially on my list to make – along with a 100 other things! Your princess dresses are next up!! Where is the gold and white polka dot fabric from? I adore it!!

  2. says

    What a brilliant idea, I adore your fabric choices. Makes me want to rustle one up right away. The gold on white is gorgeous!
    Thanks heaps for visiting my blog Stefanie and for leaving the sweetest comment on my “Pony dress”.♥

    Katie (am-I-a-dreamer.blogspot)

  3. says

    Oh this is about the cutest thing, ever! A matching tank and some shell jewelry and some kelpy type hair crown, and you’re in business for a mermaid. Another winner. And I’m thrilled to know that I’m not the only reader who’s WAY behind on making the ideas you feature that we love… thanks for that, Katie! lol I don’t have quite 100 to make, but not so far from it.

    Great tutorial!
    Hugs & Hope,
    Rachel of OddModicum

  4. Momma Bain says

    I had an itch to use this amazing mermaid fabric I found at Joanns. I made a pair of tights with ruffles but then saw this on FB! I’m so excited to make it. thank you for such a easy tutorial!

  5. Darlene says

    What an adorable skirt. I no longer have little ones. However, I am thinking of making one for my tall, skinny young adult daughter. She could definitely pull this off. You could make it very boho casual or very formal or very costumey, depending on what material you use. LOVE IT!

  6. Karen says

    My granddaughters can also play mermaids for hours. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I will be making two of these beautiful skirts.

  7. says

    Yep! I have three girls and they would love this! One loves Ariel and already has an adorable Ariel costume, but I’m sure the other two would love this. And . . . I could even do it! Thanks for the tutorial!

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Sheree! I hate it when that happens! You can try spraying it with a little starch and ironing – that helps tame the curling some. Also, try not to pull on the fabric at all once you’ve cut it. I always notice that it curls if I’ve pulled on it at all. Good luck!

  8. Heather C says

    I just finished my daughter’s mermaid skirt from this tutorial! It turned out so cute in purple knit with rhinestones! She loves it, now to chase her down and get it off :)

  9. says

    I am on my fourth birthday gift from this pattern! I love it, my daughter adores it (of course hers is the only one that has yet to work out, and is needing some serious seam ripper action!) but alas all the gifts are awesome. Thank you.

  10. Holly says

    I literally just finished making one of these adorable skirts for my 5-year-old daughter. She loves it. It was my first time sewing with knits – a learning curve for sure! I see more of these in our future. Thank you for the great tutorial.

  11. NACOLE MCGHIN says

    Im gonna try this in a cotton woven fabric. I cant seem to master a knit. :) Have you ever tried this ?

    • girlinspired says

      You could probably use the same technique for adults, though the waist and hip measurements are typically quite different on adults vs. kids. Adults have a greater difference in those two measurements, so you’d probably need to curve the skirt piece to taper in at the waist so you don’t get bunching.

  12. Angela says

    Love this tutorial! I appreciate the simplicity of the design and steps and attention to details such as type of needle. It truly was a 30 min project! I added a layer of lace to the ruffle and a little lace ruffle to the waist for additional texture, turned out so cute!! Thank you!

  13. Trayne says

    Four summers ago, I did the costumes for Peter Pan…. I had 5 small girls who played mermaids… and I made skirts just l like this , did not see anything on the internet that would allow them to walk so this exactly how mine looked…. Just thought that it was strange/unusual to find this now.

  14. Sarah Helene says

    CUTE-AS-CAN-BE MERMAID SKIRTS FOR YOUNG GIRLS! Your “30-minute Mermaid Skirt tutorial” is FAB! Thanks for sharing . . . it’s certainly UNIQUE, CREATIVE and VERSATILE! Sharp photos to accompany you clear directions. From numerous previous comments, looks like this is CERTAINLY an inspiration for many Moms of young girls who sew. Sarah in Minneapolis

  15. Molly Brown says

    Pardon my ignorance ….. and I do sew and quilt! The directions say “hip measurement “minus” 2 inches? Is that so the mermaid skirt is stretched tight around the hips? I understand you would take 4″ off the skirt piece to account for the ruffle, correct?

    Thanks for your help. Trying to make one of these for my grand-daughter’s 5th “Little Mermaid” birthday party!

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Molly!

      You got it! As long as you’re using a good, stretchy knit, subtracting the 2 inches from the waist measurement will give the skirt a nice fit around the hips and waist! Have fun! Your granddaughter will love it!

  16. lauren says

    Absolutely love this…but question about measurement and cutting of fabric….is it hip measurement -(minus 2) or what does the “-” sign mean? I’m a little confused… Newby sewer!


  17. Linda says

    EAGER to make this but just wondering before I cut if I understand the measurements correctly. So I measure around the hips and cut the fabric LESS two inches? It just seems as though this would make it extremely tight after stitching together. THANKS

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Linda – as long as you’re using a good, stretchy knit, the 2 inch LESS measurement will be snug around the little ones’ waists and hips – and when they’re transforming into their mermaid selves, they’ll love it!

  18. Erica says

    I made this skirt this weekend for my daughters Under the Sea 5th birthday party. I found the perfect green foil stretch to use and paired with a purple bikini top she looked the perfect part! Thank you for such an easy and complete tutorial!!!

  19. Denise says

    Thank you so much for this. I love it and will be making this for my granddaughter. Looking forward to following all the other untutorials you share!

  20. Angie says

    I just made three of these. The first one was a fail because I had inadvertently rotated the fabric so the stretch side was up and down. It will make a cute mini dress for a baby. The second one went so well, I even finished it within the 30 min (odd for me, because Im always getting interrupted. The third one was by far the best. I added extra ruffle length and used velour (or something like it). Man, what a great pattern! Thanks so much!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *