My older daughter Salem is turning four soon. She has been telling me for months now that she “NEEDS“ a Mermaid doll. She is really into ocean life. She loves movies about fish or swimming. Recently she has been telling me that the dog is her pet fish. At the Gym daycare she was introduced to Disney’s The Little Mermaid and now wants the doll.
The problem is that The Little Mermaid really is the most undressed disney princess and I don’t want my daughter playing with a doll that is wearing literally nothing but seashells. I had no problem buying the $19.50 plush Ariel doll and then making clothes for it, but the doll really is creepy looking. I mean it she is an ugly doll. I thought of making her a mermaid rag doll from scratch, but once again I didn’t want the doll to give her nightmares.
So, I decided to buy a rag doll with a pretty face and make her into a Mermaid. I found this little blonde Ballerina at Toys R Us for $14.99. She was perfect. I really had no idea of what I wanted to do with her. I figured I could leave the top part as is and just add a tail, but that was as far as I got. So I went to Joanne’s to see what there was to work with.
Here is what I came up with. I got two aqua colors for the fin and some matching sequins to accent. Then I figured I could put a small amount of the doll’s tutu on the tail to tie in the colors. Red was a little to harsh a color, so I bought a pink yarn for the dolls hair and to pin back with some kind of a flower.
Step One I removed the doll’s legs. I took a seam ripper to the seam around the waist and removed the legs and tutu. At this point it occurred to me that if I don’t pull this off, this poor little Ballerina will meet quite a gruesome end.
Step Two Using the doll’s legs as a measuring tool, I cut out a tail in the greener fabric. I cut four pieces so I could double the fabric. I putt them together and sewed and zig zagged along the edges as shown in the picture.
Step Three Using the bluer fabric, I cut out two pieces for the fin. Not having a pattern, I just did a little guess work on shape and size.
(The third one I cut ended up being good.) I also cut out some batting in the exact same shape and sewed them all together, zig zagged the edges, and flipped it right-side-out.
Step Four I took the fin and sewed some straight vertical lines across it. This not only strengthened the the durability of the fabric, it added some pretty texture.
Step Five I pinned the fin onto the tail with a little piece of the purple tutu tucked in to tie in all the colors. I then sewed it together by hand.
Step Six I stuffed the legs that I removed earlier into the tail and sewed them by hand back onto the doll.
At this point, I had been working on this project for over 6 hours and I was only half way done. I decided to call it a night and finish the thing the next day.
Day 2 I started off day 2 with the scariest part of the project… the hair.
Step Seven Using my seam ripper and being extremely careful not to damage the fabric on the doll’s face, I pulled out the seam that attached the hair. At this point, the stuffing was exposed and she was basically scalped. I took the yellow fabric from her head, ironed it out, and used it as a pattern to cut out the new scalp that matches the doll’s new hair color and sewed it back onto the doll’s head.
Step Eight By hand I sewed on the hair strand by strand. There was probably an easier way to do it, but I was kind of making it up as I went along and I am often a glutton for punishment.
Step Nine I attached the belt by hand. Originally the belt was just going to be the sequin thing, but when I went to attach it, it looked plain so I added some of the fabric matching the fin as an embellishment. Then I sewed on the necklace.
Step Ten Finally the last step was to styled the hair. I had sewn it in very long so I could cut and style it what ever length I wanted. I swept the front of the hair back and sewed it down. Then I took a purple silk daisy and and sewed it down where the hair was pulled back. Then I added some braids with some stringed purls woven in. The last step was to cut the hair. I chose to leave it some what long since my child is really into hair these days.
Green Fabric $1.36
Blue Fabric $0.98
Hair (Yarn) $4.39
Total $23.52 (11 hours of my life)
I paid a little more for this doll than the doll at the Disney Store and spent way more time that I thought I would, but I think we can all agree that this little doll was well worth it. This really is a true testament that I will do most anything to make my kids dreams come true. I can’t wait to give it to her. Click here for more sewing project