Style & Sea: DIY Ariel Mermaid Dress

Who doesn't want to be a mermaid princess? Most girls dream of becoming a mermaid at one point in their fantasy-filled livesthanks to Ariel's flowing red hair, carefree adventures and an underwater kingdom full of magic. So when Storybook Parade rolled around the corner at Ariana's school, she naturally wanted to be Ariel.

But spending $20 or more on a poorly made costume is not really Mommy's style. So what's a crafty (translation: cheap) mom has to do? But of course, take out the sewing kit and do it herself! 

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Step 1: Find an old costume or dress you can recycle. Ariana happened to have an old Elsa dress which she wore until its seams were all tattered. I was ready to toss it out to the bin when I realized I can salvage a few pieces of its fabric to recreate the Ariel costume she needed for her Storybook Parade. I disassembled the pieces and decided to use the top while its cape and organza lining were recycled as part of the mermaid tail. If you don't have an old costume to recycle, get creative. For instance, a plain white shirt will easily make a base for your top.

Step 2: To create the illusion of a skin tone, I cut out the spandex inner lining of Ariana's old swimsuit. Because I don't have a sewing machine, I had to manually sew the lining on to the top. Whoever said motherhood is easy clearly hasn't tried hand-sewing their kid's costume on a Saturday afternoonI can't tell you how many times I've pricked my finger doing it!

Step 3: Now here's the only purchase I made. I bought a half yard of the metallic foil green fabric at Walmart, which cost me about $2.75. The fabric made a perfect mermaid tail. Living close to the beach means we have sea shells laying around the house, which I used as accent pieces, so zero moolah was spent on those!  

Step 4: After I've measured Ariana for her tail, I folded the fabric in half and cut out a slight V-shape in the back to create the illusion of a tail. I then attached the fabric which used to be Elsa's dress cape. At the bottom, I used the organza fabric that layered the old Elsa dress to create a full tail.

Step 5: I cut out two sea shell-shaped fabrics and attached on to the top. I added a sea shell in the middle of the top and used the pink sea shell as an accent to Ariana's hand-made headpiece. I opted to make the matching headpiece after reading all the ingredients in those temporary hair sprays sold in stores, which had all the nasty ingredients, including formaldehyde. So uhmm, no thank youthis mermaid is not wearing a red hair!

All in all, this was such an easy projecteven easier had I actually had a sewing machine! It took me a quick Saturday afternoon to put together this costume. But what was most priceless was that this labor of love was rewarded with a shrill of joy after Ariana saw the finished Ariel dress!

How about you? Have you ever recycled an old princess costume? Let us know in the comment box below.