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Thread: Making a Sequin Tail!

  1. #1
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Making a Sequin Tail!

    Hello! So I thought I would make a thread to document my process in making my first mermaid tail! :D I currently own a fin-fun tail that I bought last year to figure out if mermaiding was something I enjoyed doing. Many swims later in my ice-cold swimming pool , I've decided I wanted to make a tail of my own using the fin-fun monofin I already have (: I'm a huge fan of realistic looking tails but I'm DEFINITELY not ready to drop thousands of dollars just yet (or any time soon for that matter) on a silicone tail. So after doing a ridiculous amount of research and browsing, I've decided on making a sequin tail. This way I can get a realistic 3-D scale pattern and completely customize it to my liking (x

    I'm planning to do a light-bluish-tealish color scheme. I want the waist to fade from a peachy colored scale (to match my skin color) to a light bluish-teal with light green accent scales. I'm also going to make a top with the left over sequins and that will most likely be predominantly teal.

    I'm using 22mm and 12mm shell sequins from CCartwright.com. Initially I wanted to keep all the sequins the same size but I realized I could use the smaller sequins to fill gaps as well as add a little more realism to the overall piece. Plus they didn't have all the colors I wanted in the 22mm sequins so i had to adapt!(x I ordered them almost a week ago so hopefully they will get here soon! I'm really anxious to start working on this beast. :D

    I'm going to be painting the fluke instead of putting sequins on it. Since I'm not incredibly fond of the shape of my monofin, (most monofins to be completely honest) extend the sides with either fabric or a fringe. I haven't decided yet. Right now, I'm leaning towards fringe, similar to what Hannah Fraser has on her light blue fabric tail (side note: That tail is absolutely beautiful :D It's the biggest inspiration for the way I want my tail to look). But yeah, I'm trying to make this tail look as realistic as I can with the materials I'm using. I've also considered overlaying my fluke with some tool or chiffon (attaching it where the scales stop and having it extend past the monofin with no sewing to anchor it so it flows freely) which would look cool in the water but would also cover up any painting I do. I'm not sure, let me know what you think!

    I'm also torn on what kind of fabric to use. I want to use neoprene because it'll be durable enough to have thousands of sequins sewed on to it. It also doesn't hug the body as tight as spandex does. Hiding the forms of the legs makes the tail look more realistic in my opinion. The problem is, I'm not positive if the fabric stores in my area have neoprene. I went and looked a while back and I think they have neoprin but I've heard this is bad for tailmaking? Is this true for fabric tails or just silicone and latex backed tails? The solution would be to buy it online but I like to feel the fabric in person and make sure the color is correct and what not (I'm kind of particular that way). I thought about using spandex and possibly doubling it up so that it could hold the stress of all the sequins. The issue with this is it would probably add difficulty to the sewing (one layer wrinkling and such). I plan to go and check various fabric stores once the sequins come in and get an idea of selection. Anyway, I'm pretty lost on this part so suggestions are absolutely welcomed and encouraged!! (:

    I also want to have some accessory fins :D I want a pair of side fins a few inches below my hips, (possibly) a dorsal fin, and ankle fins (idk if that's the actual name) to cover the bump/ledge that the monofin creates on back of the ankle (can you tell that I'm obsessively particular about my tail design yet?). I'm not sure what material I want to use for these but it'll probably match whatever I end up doing for the fluke. Again, suggestions are encouraged :D

    So I think that just about covers everything! Sorry this post was so lengthy, the rest will just be updates and stuff. I'll post pictures when the sequins come in! Also, if you have a sequin tail or have made one in the past, I'd love to see it so feel free to post it here :D Let me know what you think!

    -Tess (the girl who uses parentheses too often xD.)

  2. #2
    I've got a post following my sequin tail. The way I made mine sounds very similar to what you are doing. Might have some good tips for you.
    http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...er-sequin-tail
    Mermaid Enora

  3. #3
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll definitely check it out!

  4. #4
    This sounds like it's going to be amazing! I really want to see progress pictures when you go along Also, welcome to Mernetwork
    Almost done making my first ​tail!!! -progress pictures at http://mernetwork.com/index/showthread.php?9784-Excited!-P-might-make-a-tail-tips&p=195098#post195098
    -Friends come and go like waves of the ocean, but true ones stay like an octopus on your face-Unknown

  5. #5
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Thank you! I can't wait to get the sequins in and post some scale patterns (:

  6. #6
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Update: So my sequins came in today! Name:  20150306_185939 (800x712).jpg
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    The colors were a bit different than I expected but still really pretty! The only disappointment was the peachy-fleshy sequins. They are pretty much completely see through, just tinted peach. So I'm not sure how that's gonna go. I'm probably just going to sew them tightly packed ("densely" if you will x) to make the color more intense? We'll see how that goes! I'm gonna go look at fabric tomorrow and hopefully start sewing! Stay tuned!

  7. #7
    Make sure you get a heavy duty thread (like upholestry thread) or fishing line so that it'll last underwater!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod lynsea's Avatar
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    Where did you end up getting your large sequins from?
    “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
    Anaïs Nin

  9. #9
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'll definitely get heavy duty thread! thank you! And I got the sequins from CCartwright.com. They're just the 22mm large shell sequins

  10. #10
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Name:  20150310_200005 (598x800).jpg
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    Alright! So I finally got my neoprene, thread, fin material and zipper! The picture is pretty blurry but you get the idea!

    So I've spent the past 4 days scouring San Diego county for blue neoprene! A dozen phone calls and half a tank of gas later, I settle on royal blue/purplish neoprene. Since I don't plan on sequinning the fluke, I also bought the correct color spandex to sew over the neoprene on the fluke (the perfect color match was in remnants, score!).

    I asked the lady who worked at the fabric store if she had any tips for the project. Her main concern was that using a sewing machine to sew on the sequins who completely eliminate any stretch the fabric had causing the sequins to pop off when I put it on. So I bought my supplies and decided to test it out. I took 4 sequins and machine-sewed them on a strip of neoprene. It ended up stretching anyway so it doesn't seem to be an issue. (phew...)

    I also picked up some shelf liner after reading Mermaid Nyla's thread about her tail. She used shelf liner for her fringe/fins and I really like the way it looked! So I decided on that for accessory fins and fringe (:

    So hopefully I can start this massive project this weekend! For anyone whose done this: any recommendations on stitch length, tension, etc? Thanks!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by LockandKey View Post
    Update: So my sequins came in today! Name:  20150306_185939 (800x712).jpg
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Views: 1594
Size:  332.8 KBName:  20150306_190816 (800x768).jpg
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    The colors were a bit different than I expected but still really pretty! The only disappointment was the peachy-fleshy sequins. They are pretty much completely see through, just tinted peach. So I'm not sure how that's gonna go. I'm probably just going to sew them tightly packed ("densely" if you will x) to make the color more intense? We'll see how that goes! I'm gonna go look at fabric tomorrow and hopefully start sewing! Stay tuned!
    Where did you order these from?

  12. #12
    Also, where did you order your neoprene from? I need to order about two yards. I cannot wait to see your tail

  13. #13
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    The sequins were from CCartwright.com and I got the neoprene from a fabric store chain here called Yardage Town which seemed to be the only store that carried it. I went to several fabric warehouses and stores and some of the employees had never even heard of neoprene! I'm not sure if Yardage Town is just a California thing (or even just a San Diego thing?) but if you're looking for neoprene in stores, good luck! There are plenty of websites you can order neoprene from though! And thanks! I'm looking forward to making some progress this weekend and posting pictures! (:

  14. #14
    well, I'll be in San Francisco next week! So, I might as well check it out when I am there. How much is it per yard? Oh WAIT! I know it. I used to live in San Diego

  15. #15
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    It depends on the thickness. What I purchased was about $15 per yard but I have the sneaking suspicion that its neoprin? I'm not positive. Every employee I talked to at all the fabric stores I went to didn't know the difference and hadn't heard of "neoprin" before. So it might be neoprin which would explain why it was fairly cheap but it's fine for what I'm using it for!

  16. #16
    I have used neoprene before but never neoprin. Is it like neoprene just not as durable?

  17. #17
    From the Materials and Supplies page:

    Neoprin is a "spacer" material that has a similar look to neoprene and is a cheap alternative- however neoprin and neoprene are two very different materials. While neoprene is essentially black rubber backed by a layer of fabric on each side, neoprin's core is made up of many many tiny fibers that hold the two sides together.

    This fragile "core" of the fabric allows it to stretch great amounts. However it lacks elasticity. Once stretched it does not return to it's original shape well, and instead it distorts easily. Many find that tails made from neoprin stretch too much for it to fit them properly, especially in the water- even after only one use. It will continue to stretch as it is worn, and a tail made from this material may require multiple size adjustments (taking it in). Also the fabric is very impressionable, making for permanent wrinkles, creases, and impressions from wear and other regular use (such as storing the tail).

    Another downside to this material, is that becuase the water penetrates the core it can take much longer to dry. This is especially a problem when combined with tin cure latex, as the latex is damaged by the water.

    Neoprin is a cheaper alternative, but it is also a much lower quality option. It is HIGHLY recommended that you not use or buy a tail made of neoprin. Invest a little more money and instead get neoprene- it is well worth it and will save you trouble down the road, as well as making for a much longer tail life.

    You can find a thread with photos and a video on neoprin and neoprene here.
    There's also a section on neoprene on that page I linked which includes good sites to buy from, and other info on neoprene

    Wingéd Mermaid Iona

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  18. #18
    Moderator Pod of Cali Mermaid Wesley's Avatar
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    Visit Mermaid Wesley's Youtube Channel
    Would you describe it as rubbery? then its neoprene. if you wouldnt, or you're not sure, its probably neoprin. Also, Yay! Another socal mer! I hope to make a sequin tail too. we might have to meet up sometime for a sequin party. lol

  19. #19
    Member Pod of Cali LockandKey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links! and yeah i guess it is rubbery! Yay socal mers! (:

  20. #20
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    Update Time! So I spent my weekend working on my tail and its been challenging! Long story short, I made a lot of progress and if I didn't have homework and a speech to practice for, I would work all night (x I'm addicted to sequinning! Here's some photos of my process:
    Drawing the pattern:
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    Cut it out:
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    Sewn up with spandex fluke cover and i think the monofin as well?:
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    *I don't have any pictures of this but after I sewed it up, I added a zipper and a dorsal fringe to hide it*
    Starting to sequin (like my messy table?):
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    Sequins!:
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    More sequins!:
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    Even more sequins!:
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    And that's where I ended for the day. Can't wait to make more progress on this beast (:
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