Make a Mermaid Skirt – Free sewing pattern & tutorial

Learn how to draft pattern to sew a Mermaid skirt or fishtail skirt. Free pattern and Step by step instructions to sew mermaid tail skirt

mermaid skirt pattern

Mermaid skirt or the fishtail skirt as it is sometimes called is a very flattering silhouette, for most figures. Figure hugging and then flaring near the knees to the bottom edge beautifully – who doesnot want to be a mermaid

The flair in this skirt is acheived with godets sewn into the bottom part of the skirt.

Step 1. Make patterns and cut skirt pieces

Mermaid skirt sewing pattern

Cut out the skirt pieces – back and front – according to the pattern

Take the following body measurements

  • Waist round
  • hip round
  • knee round
  • the height of the skirt . Add 1 or 1.5 inches to this – this is the total length you need for this skirt for one piece (This is for a rolled hem; if you want regular hem add 1/2 inch more for turning)
  • Waist to knee length.


how to make mermaid skirt

For the back Mermaid skirt piece 

A-B = 1/4 of hip round + 1/2 “

C-D = 1/4 of hip round + 1.5″

F-E = 1/4 of Knee round + 1.5″ where E is marked at waist to knee measure

J-H = 8″
H-I = 2″ 

For the front Mermaid skirt pattern

A-C = 1/4 of waist round + 1 1/4″

A-B = 1″ This is for a slight dip in the front waist

D-E = 1/4 of hip round + 1 1/4″

F-G = 1/4 of knee round + 1.5″

J-K = 8″
K-I = 2″ 

Step 2. Mark the slit for godets

One both the front and back pattern mark a line from the center fold such that A-B is 1/8 of hip round. Mark the length of the line 18.5 inch from the bottom edge . Cut through the line

mermaid skirt pattern free

fishtail skirt

Step 3 Make the godet pieces.

You need 4 of these godets to stitch on to the 4 slits you have – 2 for front and 2 for back . Mark the godets on folded fabric like below and cut it out. You will have 4 triangular shaped godets

mermaid skirt pattern free

Step 4. Sew the godets to the skirt

Now you have to sew these pieces to the cut/slit you have made. Align the godet pieces on the cut space and see if it fits. For me I had to trim a little from the bottom

fishtail skirt pattern

Keep it on the edge right sides together and stitch the pieces to the slit

mermaid skirt pattern

mermaid godet skirt

On the back of the piece trim seam allowance and clip the seam allowances.

how to sew a mermaid skirt

Step 5 Facing for the front skirt top edge

Cut a piece of fabric matching the top edge of the front bodice with height of at least 5 inches. This is for the facing of the top edge of the front skirt piece. It is a good idea to interface this piece. I found this out late because the facing looks wrinkled inside the skirt. If the interfacing was there it could have given more structure to the waist edge of the skirt. A sew in interfacing would do or a self interfacing at least.

mermaid tail free sewing pattern

Finish the bottom edge of this piece. Then Keep it on top of the front skirt rightsides together and stitch the top edges together

mermaid skirt sewing pattern

Turn the facing to the other side. Understitch the seam allowance and the facing together so that the facing will roll easily to the back.

Step 5 . Elastic band for the back skirt.

Cut out a piece of fabric 2.5 inches wide and 1 inch more than the length of the top edge of the back skirt piece.

mermaid skirt sewing pattern

Keep this piece on top of the back piece right sides together ( On the left side the piece should over extend a little ) . Stitch the top edge together. Turn to the other side

mermaid skirt costume

Stitch the waistband casing.See the over extended piece . Trim this to 1/2 inch

mermaid skirt costume

Step 6. Elastic tabs

You have to make tabs for the elastic now. Stitch two pieces of fabric into two tubes . The pieces should be 1″ in length and 2 1/4 inches wide.

fishtail skirt pattern

Turn the tubes inside out to this

fishtail skirt pattern

Cut elastic piece of width 3/4 inch and length 1/2 of your waist minus 2 inch . Keep this on either side of the elastic piece you have cut out, insert the elastic inside and stitch in place

fishtail skirt pattern

Inser this tabbed elastic through the waistband with a pin. Stitch the sides securing the elastic on the waistband You can stitch through the elastic as well for double security. Now you have an elastic waistband without the bunching up on the side seams because of the tab you have made.

mermaid skirt pattern


Step 7 Hook tab

Make another tab for sewing the hooks. Fold a piece of fabric ( interface for added strength) 2.5 inch wide and 1 inch long. Sew the side and one top edge as in the picture below

mermaid skirt pattern

Turn to the other side and you will get a tab as follows

mermaid skirt pattern

Keep this tab on the extension you have on the back skirt one side. Use two or three stitching lines to secure this

mermaid tail skirt

Yes, the tab is ready.

mermaid skirt pattern free

Step 9 . Sew side seam of one side

Now sew one of the side seams of the back and front skirts together ( the side seam without the hook tab ofourse) The facing should be ideally kept up when sewing this side seam

fishtail skirt pattern

Now bring the facing down and Now stitch the facing as well. Looks neater this way

fishtail skirt pattern

Step 10 Sew the other side and attach zipper

Now you have to sew the other side seam. Mark some 7 inch from the top edge on the side seam. Join the side seam leaving this 7 inch distance unstitched. Here you have to attach the zipper

how to sew a mermaid skirt

To attach the zipper. You can sew ordinary zipper to the seam as well. But I have chosen to attach the invisible zipper here.

Keep the invisible zipper on one edge. You can attach the invisible zipper with an invisible zipper foot faster. The grooves will allow the zipper coils to pass through  easily when you sew close to the zipper teeth. Stitch the zipper to both side edges.

mermaid skirt pattern

When you have done this, turn the to edge to the back of the skirt and  hand stitch or machine stitch in place.


mermaid tail skirt sewing pattern free

Top stitch the zipper coil in place. Use the ordinary zipper foot for this, so that you can stitch closely to the zipper teeth.

fishtail skirt pattern

Step 11 Hand stitch hook and eye

Attach hook to the tab you have made and sew hooks on the skirt waistband

Step 12 Hem the bottom edge of the skirt.

I use the hemmer foot to do a rolled edge finish. 

mermaid skirt free pattern

You can wear it with a petticoat skirt like the one here for some  more volume or ordinary sari petticoats

Related posts: Sew a long flared elastic waist skirt; Sew a flared pants that look like a skirt; Make a full length skirt. 

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.