Finished projects

Summer Mermaids and Feathers – McCall’s 5400 Bikini and Seamwork Mojave Cover-Up

OK you knew it was going to happen after I made my Little Mermaid inspired yoga set… behold… the Little Mermaid swimsuit in all her sparkly glory!


I’ve always wanted a mermaid bathing suit and I found a few on Etsy, but I still refuse to pay more than $50 for what basically takes less than a half yard of fabric to make. (I know labor is factored into price, but still!) Thanks to sewing, I now have the power to control design and cost. I also possess the power to make all of my childhood dress-up dreams come true. πŸ™‚

I tested my new bikini during my Las Vegas trip at the end of June and luckily it held up after sun bathing in 105+ degrees and multiple dips in the pool. I have to admit that it was a little awkward having my mom take pictures of me in front of strangers at the Luxor for the sake of the blog…


I had quite a bit of fabric left after making my yoga set for the Cali Fabrics blog and I knew this fabric would do very well as a swimsuit. Both the purple and mermaid scale spandex fabrics are thick with a good amount of stretch, so I don’t have to worry about see-through pool incidents or worry about needing pads inserted into the bikini top.

Love how much booty coverage I get!

The pattern is McCall’s 5400 views C/D and H. I tried making this pattern last year with different fabric and the triangle bikini top and completely bombed it. Other than poor choice of fabric, I think it also boiled down to not listening to the elastic guides. I followed everything to a T for my second try and other than lengthening the elastic at the waistband and lengthening the bikini band a smidge, the guides were spot on!

I made a size 8 in the top for the A/B bust size and 14 in the bottom. My bust is about 36″ and my hips are about 41″ for reference. Next time, I’ll size up for both because the suit is just a tad too small. I’m hiding my little muffin top in the pictures, but it’s definitely there! The bottoms don’t go higher than a 14 in the pattern I bought, but I can sew a smaller seam allowance to make them a tad bit bigger.

For lining and the crotch guard (heehee), I used a nude power mesh. This worked really well!


And what new me-made bathing suit would be complete without a me-made cover-up?


It doesn’t quite go with the mermaid theme, but it’s definitely summery enough. The pattern is Seamwork’s Mojave, shortened 6 inches so it was less “muu-muu” esque. It was a fast and easy sew. I made a size 8, grading to a 10 at the hips. I definitely can get away with the size 6 next time as this is very roomy. I hand-stitched the the V at the bust halfway closed since it was a pretty deep cut to begin with and closing up the V helps keep the shoulders from shifting around too much.



Melting in the Vegas sun!

The fabric is a sale item I got from a while ago. It’s onion skin fabric, which I didn’t realize is basically a scratchy gauze. It’s perfect for a swimsuit cover-up, though! It’s pretty sheer and dries very quickly. It wasn’t too bad to sew with as I mostly used my serger for joining the seams. I have a bit of this fabric left over but am not sure what else I can make with it. It’s currently sitting in my donation pile and will be on the way to make someone else happy unless I come up with another use for it quickly!


I’m so happy with my new swim wear… now if only I had access to a pool on a regular basis so I could be a mermaid all the time!


Have you made the plunge into making swimwear yet? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Keep on swimmin’!


19 thoughts on “Summer Mermaids and Feathers – McCall’s 5400 Bikini and Seamwork Mojave Cover-Up

  1. Love this fabric. I made my first swimsuit a couple of months ago pattern testing the laminera costume from seamstress Erin. It was so much easier than I thought so really keen to make my own bikini now, just limited on fabric choice in the uk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Sewing swimwear is one of those “scarier” projects (like jeans) that once you get started, you realize it’s not so bad! πŸ™‚ I hope cute swim fabric comes your way soon – stinks about the limited availability you have!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m really not sure why I haven’t seen more mermaid bathing suits out there – I know every little girl (and most grown women!) wants to be a mermaid, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your construction looks top notch. A red wig, and you’d complete the look! This fabric looks so luxuriously thick and lovely to wear. I’ve made swimwear, but none that I’m super excited about mostly because swimming is not my favorite. But Jalie just came out with a rash guard pattern and some cute swim shorts…they both came in the mail today, and my pale self is rejoicing at the idea of a swimsuit that could possibly prevent me from using a quart of sunscreen every time I wear it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! The wig is definitely something I need in my closet. I have that blonde one for Game of Thrones, but I’m really wanting to participate in a mermaid festival here in Tucson in August (weird for the desert, right??) and my current locks are just not cutting it.

      The Jalie pattern sounds great! I hate getting burned, too and don’t care if I ever get tan, so that sounds like a perfect solution!


  3. So cute! Did you run around the house singing when you finished it? I would have! πŸ˜ƒ I love your description of the onion peel fabric. Sometimes with online fabric shopping you never know what you’re getting. It’s good that you could make something adorable out of a surprise fabric.

    Liked by 1 person

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