Mini-Me the Mermaid- McCall’s 3566

In September of last year I took Mini-Me to an ASG (American Sewing Guild) meeting with me while I taught on bodice fitting.  Mini-Me is totally in tuned to these types of conversations, however, during this meeting she was into the “iPad” games she was playing.  As the meeting came to an end, I was engaged in a conversation with another member about a “mermaid” costume she had made for her granddaughter.  OOOH boy!!!  Mini-Me’s ears peeled up and before I knew it she was standing beside me looking at the digital pics, exclaiming that “we” must make one for her.  Needless to say, she was not happy to hear me tell her to wait until next year, a concept not known by your average child…”next year!!” really Mimi?  “Yes dear, I will get it done for your birthday.” I exclaimed. 

Fast forward nine months and Mimi has come through on her promise…whew!  It was a close call.  Although I got some input from my fellow ASG member and the fin pattern she made, I still wanted the ensemble to be convertible and easy to take off for swimming.  Thus, the three piece was designed. 
 

Someone was really happy!!!  And so was I.  It was a big hit at the birthday party.  She was able to jump into the pool a couple of times before removing the overskirt and swimming in the suit alone. 

The details:
Pattern Description:  McCall’s 3566(OOP)  Two-piece bathing suit and cover-up skirt. There are several variations for the tube/bandeaux/tank top, and one bikini top. The bottoms are for shorts or bikini bottoms.

McCalls 3566 Swimsuit/Mermaid costume http://www.sewtofit.com

Pattern Sizing: She may have fit into a pattern size 4 with alterations, but since I only had a size 10-14, I pretty much re-drafted the pattern or you can say “severely” graded it down since it was a straight grade across sizes. Compared to the RTW grading system I learned in school, this is a straight grade.  That just means there is a set measurement between sizes no matter how large are small the sizes range. I explained this in a little more detail in “Making the Grade.”

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  I made a few modifications to get the mermaid look, by adding a sequin trim to the front of the tank top and adding the shirring to the waist of the tank.  For the bottoms, I added a 2inch band to make sure it went high under the tank top. (for some reason, I did not write down her bodice length) 

Skirt:  I made the skirt using the basic pencil skirt drafting technique. I measured 4 places- waist, hip and knees and ankles with the measurement for each point in order to determine the the cut.  Then I just slit the back up the middle and inserted the modified “godet” fins with ruffle trim insert.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I did not follow any instructions. The insertion of the elastic was done on my Bernina 234 serger first, and then I folded over the elastic to the inside and finished the hem with a regular zigzag on my Bernina 640 . I stretched the elastic slightly under the rear-end to get it to “cup” under. For the straps, I included elastic inside to keep them taut when wearing. I learned this in my knits class in school, and it seems to work very well for all my swimwear. All elastic used on this suit was 3/8″ swimsuit elastic. I buy this stuff in bulk!!! because everybody likes me to make their swimwear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love everything about this pattern. I have been using it for a long time. It’s a great versatile base pattern to own.

Fabric Used:
This is swimwear Lycra from Hancock.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As I have found for me when using McCall’s, the pants crotch is “always” too short, and this was the same for even my GD.

Tank top: I added a sheered band around the bottom to match the skirt as part of the whole ensemble. I could have left that part off, but without the skirt, it would not have still looked “mermaid-ee”

Skirt- was just a pencil skirt made from her measurements and the “fins” inserted as a “godet” inset in a slit up the back.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I have sewn this pattern multiple times over the years, either as panties, or swimwear. Mostly though as a bandeaux and panties (view G with modifications) A really all-around pattern for the entire family. 

Mini-Me strikes again!!! Simplicity 1510 Review

Did I ever mention how much I enjoy teaching sewing to my grand-daughter?  Have I ever mentioned the amount of intense satisfaction I receive from watching her complete each step of the construction process?  I am not sure if I shared that with you all yet….so I will begin again.
I present to you my grand-daughter…better known as “Mini-Me.”

 To all the ladies who met my granddaughter at PR Weekend inAustin, TX….”Mini-Me” was elated to be around so many people that sew!!!! My goodness she was so excited and just booming with excitement meeting all of you. This little girl here could have hung and chatted with every level of seamstress there…!!! She would not have missed a beat understanding “every concept and detail of construction that was discussed.

Pattern Description: Simplicity 1510This dress is listed as special occasion in three lengths with a bolero. She chose to make dress C, w/o the bolero.
Fabric Used: She chose a cotton quilting fabric from our local Its-A-Stitch. I tried a “quilting” fabric from JoAnn’s when she was younger for a dress I made…and needless to say, “Never again.” With all the work I personally put into that dress to have it fade, I decided to buy the best quilting cotton, quilters use. From now on I want the dress last through multiple childhood washings.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This is a really nice rendition of the picture on the pattern, yet, much more casual. I like our version better.. It seems if you use a dressy fabric for her age, then it would not be a “sundress” or play dress and just might be age appropriate.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Of course the reading of the instructions were done by me, she can read some, but these instructions are for Greek majors.. Thus, I circled the easy stuff for her, and she was able to complete “ALL” the straight stitches and even used my Bernina 640 to make the buttonholes on the straps. (One touch buttonholes—“a wonderful invention”) She also cut out the entire dress. I only went back and checked to make sure the cutting was “O.K.” to achieve success and not deter her with being too nit-picky.

She also sewed her hem, the straight sides of the zipper (after I setup the machine and placed the needle) She was able to help mark all the pleats and learned about the importance of marking and pressing.

She was so very proud of her work and so was I. Before we have only used the “Kids Can Sew” program which I used to teach some years ago. This is why she has her own garment labels to adhere to her creations.

Pattern Sizing on envelope: The sizes are listed for children up to a size 16 (34″chest) on the pattern…and are sold in plus sizes as well up to 16 1/2 (36″chest) That is a very generous size range for one pattern, considering the big four usually only give just a few sizes. We cut a size 14. Afterwards, I realized that they are fitted the same as for adults and thus I should have gone down a size and cut the size 12, because it was just too roomy, and showed too much for it to be a sundress… I guess if it was closed up on the shoulders and sleeves then a larger roomier size would work. I had to then remove the excess from the side seam.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: My granddaughter is quite the designer, however, since this was her first time out using a “big girl” pattern, we did not make any changes.

I did make sure to shorten the straps substantially for coverage.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The dress is really nice. I love it. I feel it is about time we get so many nice “girls” patterns for the in-between kids.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend this wholeheartedly and without hesitation we will sew it again. Best way to learn for her is to do another one just the same.

Conclusion: I love teaching my Granddaughter to sew. I think every child should learn to sew, it helps with following instructions, math and reading a ruler…which she knows from sewing.