Hi y’all, I’m glad you made it! Welcome to Project Under the Sea, inspired by the release of the new Little Mermaid film. It’d be remiss of me to jump into the tour without addressing the ever growing importance and beauty of representation and why it matters so much to Black and Brown families, like mine. From the moment we saw that Halle Bailey was cast as The Little Mermaid, my family was intrigued, excited, and couldn’t wait to see more. As each new sneak emerged, despite the growing negativity surrounding the casting of Halle’s role as Ariel, our excitement grew. We were happy to get to catch it over this past Memorial Day weekend.
First thoughts were just how beautiful Halle’s voice was, how youthful and exuberant she was. The rebellious beauty of young Ariel was perfectly captured, and I couldn’t envision the role being played any better. All the bonuses just made it even better–King Tritan was cast as a Spanish man, Javier Bardem. His daughters represented the various, rich cultures of the lands surrounding the 7 seas. My daughter was particularly smitten with Tamika (Sienna King), her deep, gorgeous skin, and all of the vibrant colors throughout her scales. Though, I was too, I couldn’t help but feel so giddy seeing Indira (though that’s likely due to my excitement of watching Simone Ashley in season 2 of Bridgerton lol). Queen Selina (Noma Dumezweni) was another prominent Black character who was phenomenal to watch. I could keep going on and on about the live, Caribbean setting, about Sir Grimsby, Sebastian, the townspeople….you get the point.
All this to say, that the thing my kids picked up on the most was seeing tons of people who look like us in a movie (animation, rather) that originally didn’t include us. Seeing that we can continue to be on the big screen in fun, fanatastical roles. That Black girls can be super popular and well-known Disney Princesses (thanks Tiana 💚). That despite hatred and negativity, we can continue to walk with our heads held high, carry ourselves with grace, and keep kicking butt. My husband says “I am convinced that Halle Bailey really is a mermaid.”
Now…onto my looks for the tour….
Each of the looks is aquatic in theme. My first direction was making sure my babes had some new swimsuits this season. We checked out the PRP Design Studio at Raspberry Creek Fabrics and I had them each pick out what they wanted/liked most. Surprisingly, they both chose many of the same prints.
My daughter is wearing the Minnow Swimsuit from Sofiona Designs in School of Fish in Ocean, the stripes are Sandbar in Ocean, and the back is Tiny Sea Bubbles in Ocean. She chose the 2-piece color blocked top option, as well orientation of each print on the suit and really loved the end result. Our pool hasn’t yet opened for the season, but she has mentioned more than a time or two how she can’t wait to wear it.
The pattern has such cute details. I love the back straps, and even though it looks complex, the instructions were well written and made it easy to sew up. It includes a 1 piece swimsuit option, as well as solids or colorblocked in the 1 and 2 piece.
My son wasn’t as particular with pattern or fabric placement–he just said “I love it all, make whatever, I’m sure it will be cute.” He is only 7 and not usually super particular about clothes, so it made my job super easy, taking the fabrics he’d chose. I used Sandbar in Ocean and Tiny Sea Bubbles in Ocean for his Explorer Raglan Rashguard from Waves & Wild. I went for the colorblocked option to show off two fabric, but the pattern also includes a solid bodice, different sleeve lengths, and a neat option with snaps at the chest. For his Sand N Surf Boardshorts from Life Sew Savory, I used School of Fish in Light Ocean (note, the scale is smaller than the Teal I used in my daughter’s suit), and for the waistband and pockets I used Fishing Line in Ocean.
For his board shorts, I. made a couple changes in construction. It features a compression short underneath (which I just used swim liner for). Instead of putting the right side of the compression shorts to the wrong side of the outer shorts, I put them wrong sides together so there wouldn’t be any seams on the inside of the suit. I also did not have any mesh on hand for the pockets, so I just used board short material and added eyelets to help water drain from the pockets. I look forward to making this my go-to board short pattern, as it was really nice to sew up and fits him well. The pattern includes some flaps to add drawstrings to, which I will likely add I future suits.
For the remaining looks, I focused solely on my daughter. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sew her things for enjoyment, so I needed to make it happen. For her first one, I chose her happy place, which is usually big sleeved pullovers. I made the Aquata version of the Lagoon Dress Top and Tunic from Project Run + Play, which is the long sleeve, full bodice top length version. The pattern also comes with short & elbow sleeves, as well as several skirt options, which can be combined with the top to make a dress. While at JoAnn for swatch shopping for my final school projects, I came across this gorgeous POP! fabric that gave me sunset on the beach vibes, and I couldn’t resist it. For the invisible neck binding and cuffs, I was able to finally put some of my mis-dyed fabric from my time during PRP to good use. You can’t tell in the pics, but it has a slight ice dye look, which wasn’t intentional lol! She loves this outfit and wore it to school the day after I photographed it. That’s always the biggest compliment to me 🙂
For her last (and our absolute favorite) look, I made the Reef Top from Suco by Susana, which I hacked into a dress. I had bought this 1.25ish yd remnant of this gorgeous tie dye/glitter chiffon (also from JoAnn) a couple months ago and it was dying to be a dress. It couldn’t have been more perfect for this project with the mermaid vibes, subtle glitter, and that flow! My daughter thought white underneath would look the best, so I lined it with cotton sateen. This dress is equal parts comfy & classy, and so easy to wear. She’s not a big dress person anymore, but she felt comfortable & so pretty in it and claimed it to wear for her 8th grade graduation party. #StillWinning 😜 If you’re interested in hacking the Reef Top into a dress or wondering how to line the top (or the dress), you can check out this blog post.
I hope you enjoyed these Little Mermaid inspired looks and that you’ll get a chance to enjoy the film with your family!