This adorable pattern for a mermaid dress is from McCall’s, pattern #M7175. Although I ran into some difficulties, overall, I picked some fancy materials and the rest is mermaid history. I’ll let you know some tips and tricks, where we (the pattern company and/or me) went wrong and how to do a little maneuvering through the pattern. Here we go…
The costume I made is view B. I used sequin knit for the skirt, tulle for the sleeve ruffle, waist ruffle and top layer of the skirt bottom ruffle. Iridescent organza made up the waist ruffle, side bodice overlay, and under layer of the skirt bottom ruffle. Satin was used for the bodice and broadcloth for the bodice and skirt lining and skirt stays. I didn’t place the wider trim on the bodice, instead I placed it on the waist.
Here are a few steps which may be helpful to you:
# 1 LABELING PIECES and YARDAGE: The entire pattern was very confusing as far as labeling each piece. On the pattern cover, pieces were labeled with numbers and letters: contrast 1A, 2B, etc. It was impossible to figure out yardage or what type of fabric to buy for which piece. Very confusing! On the pattern instruction sheet, pattern pieces had different names: skirt front stay, ruffle, armhole ruffle, skirt front, etc. For complete accuracy, a person would have to pull out all pieces and measure how much of each fabric to buy. I was so frustrated. In the end, I figured it all out as I was sewing. But I do have a hint: don’t cut everything out until you figure out which piece goes where and what fabric you would like to use for that particular piece. Mine worked out in the end, but I wasted money on materials (iridescent organza is expensive)!
# 2 STEP SIX (UNDERSTITCHING): For view B, step 6 suggests you would understitch at this point. However, this is BEFORE the piece (bodice side front and back) is actually turned right side out. It’s impossible, of course, to understitch a piece that isn’t turned. However, scrutinizing the directions again, it does say to understitch the BACK NECK EDGE only. So I guess you could sort of lift up the the pieces to reach that back neck edge and understitch as far as possible.
Instead of understitching it this way, I decided to understitch the armhole seam as well, so I didn’t sew the side front and back seam just yet. I sewed the armhole seam, turned the piece right side out, pressed the seam toward the lining and THEN understitched that seam to help it lay smoothly. I turned the piece back right sides together, smoothed it flat as carefully as possible then sewed the side front and back seam, maneuvered under there and understitched the back seam as far as possible.
#3 FISHING LINE: I did NOT use fishing line to wave the edges of my tulle (upper ruffle). I tried. I have done this method before with success, but this time my machine (different machine) would have none of it. It wasn’t going to happen. So, I skipped it and I’m still happy with the results. Not doing this will save you heaps of time too.
# 4 THE SKIRT STAY: The skirt stay, (contrast 1, view B on the pattern back) does NOT fit on the dress. I had to make some major tucks. Since the bottom is all ruffly, I figured it would not matter. It turned out fine in the end.
# 5 LENGTH: This one is admittedly operator error. I didn’t measure my model and the length of the dress was perfect with just ONE bottom ruffle. It’s still cute, but the ruffle lover in me wanted both ruffles! Oh well, It would have taken quite a bit of altering and quite frankly, the lined dress skirt would have been very short. Or the ruffles would have been shorter, requiring more altering with the bias cut–no thank you!
#6 WAIST RUFFLE: I made the waist ruffle of tulle (one of their suggested fabrics) but it was barely visible, so I added organza by hand sewing it to the skirt under the tulle. Ugh! I had double the tulle knowing how colorless it is in single layers, but it wasn’t enough to make it visible. As an added touch, I hand sewed a sequin strip to the waist. (Hobby Lobby)
Bonus! I made a headband for my mermaid from the scraps of tulle and added some 2″ wide ribbon from my stash.
I hope this may have helped you in some way. Happy Halloween!