Costumes
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A Little Mermaid Dress For My Best Friend

All Photos by Rae Ellen Photography

All Photos By Rae Ellen Photography

My best friend Kayla is engaged!!! Well, she has been since May but still, its so exciting.

She loves Disney, she worked there for a few years and thats where the wedding will be so when she asked me to help her create a Little Mermaid inspired dress for her engagement photos, I was all in!

Kayla and her finance David decided to have an engagement shoot loosely based on the scene in The Little Mermaid when Ariel first grows her legs and gets to land, so we set to work creating a dress that was reminiscent of the sail cloth make-shift dress but was also not simply a piece of canvas draped around Kayla’s body.

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d share how we created the outfits with you!

I looked for tutorials and all of the ones I found called for two pieces, a bodice and a skirt each with elastic at the tops. They each had a few distinguishing factors, triangular shapes at the bottom, grommets along one edge, drawstrings made of decorative ropes, but they were too costumey. Perfect for Halloween or a costume party but an engagement photo shoot? No, it had to be classier.

I went to the library on my lunch break quite a few days in a row looking at indie patterns that might be the right shape but wasn’t able to find anything. At first I thought that the Sewaholic¬†Lonsdale Dress would be a good fit but most of what I read said that it look some real work to get the fit right, which I’m not against for a more every day garment but this needed to be perfect and where I had never worked with a Sewaholic pattern before I didn’t want to chance it.

I got really lucky and found a basic looking tube dress pattern in the Martha Stewart Sewing Handbook that the library had and I just knew upon seeing it that it had massive potential without too much chance of error!


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The dress itself was easy to construct and is really just four straight seams. The fun came from the decorative rope and Kayla’s amazing accessories from Etsy. The rope that I found at Joann’s is gold and lovely but its really true to the outfit because all Ariel has to hold the dress on is rope!I toyed with the idea of buying real rope that would be used on a sailboat so it would be authentic but then I went back to my original¬†thought that this is a modern day engagement shoot. She doesn’t actually have to crawl out of the water and dress herself in a sail!

Have you made any costumes lately?

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