Sam enjoys crocheting, sculpting, DIY crafts, reading, writing, and traveling with her family.
I Love Mermaids, So I Crocheted One!
I wish I was a mermaid. I love everything about mermaids. When I was a little girl, my favorite movie was The Little Mermaid. I watched it so many times that my mother thought she'd go insane. When I found out I was having a little sister, I wanted to name her Ariel.
My love for mermaids has definitely stuck with me over the years. I'm not the kind of person who loves something and then obsessively collects everything that has to do with that thing, but I do get excited when I see my likes. I don't have a lot of mermaid merchandise or anything like that, but when doodling or writing, mermaids are a consistent topic of interest that I often revisit.
The First Mermaid Doll I Made
That's how I crocheted my first mermaid. I was commissioned to make a doll for a little girl, but there were no specifications or details except that it needed to use the colours purple and green. The first thing that came to my mind, of course, was a mermaid with purple hair and a green tail. So I freehand crocheted my first mermaid.
Some time later, I joined the Art Riot and needed to make merchandise to sell. The only thing I really wanted to make was more mermaids, except this time I adjusted the design a bit to suit my style more.
From Freehand to Pattern
Now I have a great design to use for my mermaids, but I have never written down a pattern! While I love freehand crocheting, I know that having a set mermaid pattern will help me keep things nice and consistent. So I have written this pattern and am very happy to share it with all of you.
This pattern covers the head, body, and tail, but then it just offers tips on the face and hair. I think that's where you can really get creative and make this doll your own.
I hope you enjoy this pattern and tutorial! If you have any questions or would like to share your work, please let me know in the comments. I'm also up for pattern requests for anything crocheted, so don't be shy to ask!
- Crochet hook: US H8/5.00mm
- Medium-weight yarn: You'll need a colour for the skin and tail. You could also use the same kind of yarn for the hair, starfish bra, and to embroider details, if you like.
- Yarn needle
- (optional) Mohair yarn or some special yarn for hair
- (optional) Embroidery thread for details/features
- Anything else you'd like to embellish your piece, like doll eyes
Tip on Using Doll Eyes
If you are going to use doll eyes, or any other features that clip on, don't forget to add them before you stuff your head and sew it on the body!
*1. Ch 2 or make a magic ring if you prefer.
*2. SC 6 in second ch from the hook/magic ring. (6)
Read More From Feltmagnet
*3. SC 2 in each stitch around. (12)
*4. SC 1, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (18)
*5. SC 1, SC 1, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (24)
6. SC 1, SC 1, SC 1, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (30)
7. SC 1, SC 1, SC 1, SC 1, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (36)
*8 - 18. SC around. (36)
19. SC-2-TOG, SC 1, SC 1, SC 1, SC 1, repeat around. (30)
20. SC-2-TOG, SC 1, SC 1, SC 1, repeat around. (24)
21. SC-2-TOG, SC 1, SC 1, repeat around. (18)
(Now would be a good time to add your safety eyes if you're using them)
*22. SC-2-TOG, SC, repeat around. (12)
Stuff head with filling.
*23. SC around, fasten off and leave a long tail so you can sew head to the body later. (12)
Set aside for now.
* = photo above
How to Decrease (SC-2-TOG)
Body and Tail
Ch 12 and slip stitch to connect.
*1 - 3. SC around (12)
4. SC, SC, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (16)
*5 - 7. SC around, fasten off. (16)
Switch to fin colour. I sometimes use two different coloured yarns together to give it more of a scaly look, but this time I just used one.
*8. Start crocheting with fin colour in the opposite direction. Complete one round. (16)
*9 - 12. SC around. (16)
13. SC-2-TOG, SC, SC, repeat around. (12)
14. SC around. (12)
*15. SC-2-TOG, SC, repeat around. (8)
*16 - 17. SC around. (8)
18. SC-2-TOG, SC, SC, repeat around. (6)
19. SC around. (6)
*20. SC-2-TOG, SC-2-TOG, SC-2-TOG, fasten off. (3)
*Pull tail end of yarn into body with crochet hook. Add stuffing, use crochet hook to help stuff it in there.
*When sewing on fins (refer below for pattern), thread yarn to other side of one of the fins so that the stitches are facing the same direction after you sew the fins on.
After you've sewn the fins on, add the starfish bra (refer to pictures below if you need help).
See the photos above for an example of how to create the bra. As another option, you can make a bandeau top for your mermaid instead of a starfish bra by changing colours while working on the body.
I often make the fins a lighter colour than the tail, but this time I made it all the same colour.
1. SC 6 in second ch from the hook. (6)
2. SC 2 in each stitch around. (12)
3. SC, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (18)
*4. SC, SC, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (24)
*Fold circle over and single stitched closed. Fasten off and cut long enough tail to sew fin on to mermaid.
Repeat with other fin.
1. SC 6 in second ch from the hook. (6)
2. SC, SC, SC 2 in next stitch, repeat around. (8)
3 - 8. SC around (8)
9. SC-2-TOG, SC, SC, repeat around. (6)
10. SC around. (6)
Crochet closed, then fasten off, leaving a tail for sewing on later.
Repeat steps to make the other arm.
Putting It Together
Here are some instructions and advice on finishing your mermaid.
Stitch the Arms to the Body
Start by stitching your arms to your body, hiding the ends inside the body of the mermaid. Decide if you want them to be able to move forward and back or up and down. Forward and back motion makes it seem like the mermaid is giving a hug (which is why I like it), but up and down makes a swimming kind of motion.
You can also opt not to sew the arms shut and stitch them on to the body so that they stick straight out.
Pick the method you like best.
Add Details Before Sewing on the Head
Before you sew on your head, use this time to add on any little details to the body you won't be able to include after the head is on—like a little pearl necklace or some other small necklace that wouldn't be able to fit over the head or body once it's all sewn together.
The doll I was making for this tutorial is for a toddler, so I didn't add any necklaces since the little beads could be choking hazards for the necklace were to break.
Sew on the Head
Sew your head to the neck of the body and secure it. Weave ends through body and trim off excess.
Adding a Face
- Doll Eyes: Plastic doll eyes are a nice simple way to add eyes to your mermaid. I don't usually use them because I often forget I have them until it's too late to put them in (D'oh!) or I'm making a doll for a small child and I'm afraid that they'll somehow manage to pop them out and eat them (though I know from experience that those little buggers are near impossible to get out once they're locked in—still, kids are so clever).
- Button Eyes: Beads and buttons can also be used for eyes and can be added at any stage of the design.
- Felt Eyes: Felt pieces can be used for eyes or details for the whole face if you like. Attach by sewing on or with strong fabric glue. You can add even more detail by painting on to felt pieces.
I will typically just stitch or embroider my facial features on.
How Do I Make It Look Cute?
Check out this post on the fundamentals of a cute face.
This is the part I dread the most when it comes to making dolls. I HATE making hair! It's so tedious and I get frustrated very easily. I typically use the latch hook/rooting method and hope for the best, but for this guide, I really wanted to find better ways to do it.
I came across these helpful resources:
- HOW TO - amigurumi hair from MyGurumi lists several different methods of adding hair to your doll using yarn. I really want to try out the curly hair method!
- K & J Dolls has two doll hair tutorials that I really like: Part 1: Using a wig cap and Part 2: Not using a wig cap. Owlishly's tutorial on amigurumi hair can really help with this.
Annaboo used to have a great step-by-step photo tutorial on how to do hair, but she took it down. This is the method I used—you can see it step-by-step in the photos.