My youngest had her heart set on an underwater birthday party so she could ‘dress up like a shark and scare the parents’. With ambitions like that I found it hard to refuse. We discussed a full shark costume, but decided it might be a little impractical/hot/uncomfortable for playing party games/doing crafts so settled on a shark hoodie with some other mix and match sea-themed items.
Mermaid leggings were bound to be a sure fire hit, and whilst they might not usually be paired up with a shark hoodie I knew she’d love them and get plenty of wear out of them beyond the birthday party.
I ordered one metre of the fabric from Amazon and made a pair for both daughters, with some left over for another use one day. I cut the legging pieces freehand using an old pair for a size guide and sewed them up on my overlocker. Having worked with this type of fabric before I didn’t even attempt to put it near my sewing machine as I knew the stitches would just skip, and as a result I left the trouser legs unhemmed.
The Waterfall Raglan
This glorious copper linen jersey fabric was on sale in the Clothhouse warehouse shop, which by happy coincidence is close to where I work on a regular basis. As it was a great colour combination with the leggings I paired it with Chalk and Notch’s Waterfall Raglan pattern to make a top. (This pattern is a firm favourite and I have made a number of versions which you can see here and here) The fabric was a joy to work with, – enough stretch but with a lot of stability.
The Shark Hoodie
Finally for the shark hoodie I adapted the Hey June Handmade Hatteras Hoodie pattern. I made a size 5 and curved the pieces for the hood forward a bit at the top.
Before assembling I screen-printed eyes and gills onto the hood pieces. The teeth on the hood were made with a zigzag strip of white cotton shirting interfaced on both sides. The strip was then sandwiched between the main hood (grey cotton sweatshirting) and the lining (pink cotton jersey) during assembly.
The other adaptations included a pieced front to create a white tummy and a centre seam down the back to add in the fin. I decided to interface and lightly stuff the fin to try and prevent it flopping to one side or the other. To keep the stuffing in placed I used the same pink cotton jersey to line the back piece of the hoodie and hand-stitched the lining and main fabric together around the fin.
As you can see from the pictures we used crepe paper to create a kelp forest on our garden doors/windows with cut out pictures of fishes/sea creatures swimming in between. Multicoloured tissue paper strips adorned our lights and the kids made shell and wooden fish decorations before games and cakes… I made a concerted effort to avoid disposable plastics at the party as that felt to be at odds with the theme, so balloons, juice boxes and party bags* (not that I’ve ever done them) were out, but hopefully not all the fun!
*In case anyone else struggles with this I found that Okido magazine offers a deal on back issues for parties which I thought was a great alternative.