Monday, June 20, 2011

Tails o' the Sea

This may prove to be my most ambitious project yet - Well, there was the pool table pirate ship...and the working guillotine (sans a real blade)....and of course the yurt, the drop weight loom....Oh, nevermind all that! Okay, let's just say it may be my oddest project with the most potential for going completely wonky - but since when has that ever stopped me...

I give you.....A Mermaid tail. And not just any mermaid tail, but one which can me worn to swim with in water. You don't believe me? Well, do not take my word for it...go ahead, ask Helga! (20 points if you got that) But I digress...There actually exists a community of people who do this sort of thing from professional mermaid tail makers like Eric Ducharme of Mertailor, who caters to the rich and famous and the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee, to little girls in their bedrooms uploading videos to YouTube on how to make a mermaid tail out of Lycra and cardboard.

But the best source I found for what I wanted to do was somewhere in between; The Mermaids and Mermen Costuming Forum on Yuku. Oh, yes, you truly can find anything on the Internet. After browsing around the site for a while, I found the Holy Grail of MerTail tutorials thanks to a wonderful woman named "Missfit1023" on DeviantArt. I had my starting point and basic list of supplies I would need.

First, I would need a "Monofin" - Several people on the forums were debating the merits of this brand over that, homemade over store bought - I went for convenience and price and found a Finis Wave on ebay for about $40. Afterall, I'm not going to be a professional mermaid and be swimming with it for 3+ hours a day, every day, so I didn't need the stiffer "Rapid". This will be fine for my porposes...This goes "inside" the tail so you can truly propel yourself in the water.
Next - Neoprene....ya know...wetsuit material. I explored a couple of sources and was going to go with Stretch House, but I actually found some at my local.....JoAnn's has Neoprene?! Not only did they have it, but they had it at a JoAnn's in my area, which, if you knew where I lived, we have NOTHING....and the price was as cheap as I'd seen it online, $18 a yard...BUT it's also 60 wide so you can get away a little cheaper - Of course, stupid me, didn't take into account the length of the fluke (I should have made my pattern FIRST and THEN bought the Neoprene) and I didn't get enough, so I'll have to go back and get some more. Note to self: Make the pattern FIRST, THEN buy the material :-)

I then made my pattern. Years ago....and I do mean probably 20....I bought a roll of butcher paper at a Price Club store. I have used that paper for countless patterns and craft projects, and I STILL have most of the roll left. It was the best $25 I ever spent! I rolled out some paper, lay down on it and "traced" myself with the Monofin on, getting the general shape and size of my legs from mid-abdomen down and around most of the Monofin. I then made my tracing about an inch and a half bigger than where I traced for sewing and fudge factor, cleaned up the lines, added a tail fluke and cut it out. This is how my pattern turned out.
Stay tuned...more to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


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