Thursday, October 24, 2013

DIY shark fin sewing tutorial

Who loves sharks? My (Jessica's) girl does! It's shark week every week in our house. We've had this shark coat/costume from Old Navy for almost a year now (last year she was a "shark ballerina" for Halloween), but she was very critical of the pitifully small dorsal fin that was built into this costume. Apparently it wasn't anatomically accurate to a real Great White shark...

...but THIS is much better! And today I'm going to show you how to make your own dress up or costume shark fin. This is a simple diy and would make the perfect last minute Halloween costume if you slapped on some shark face paint to go with it:

To start, you'll need about 1/2 yard of fleece fabric, some scrap cardboard, 1/4 inch elastic, and other basic sewing supplies (scissors/sewing machine/thread). Let's get started!

1. Draw a dorsal fin shape on your scrap cardboard, as big or as little as you want. On the bottom of your dorsal fin, add two inches of length (these will become your base for the shoulder straps)
2. Cut your cardboard pattern out, then lay it on your fleece. Cut around your cardboard.
3. Cut out two dorsal fin pieces, and then one piece that is 4 inches wide by length of the base of your pattern piece, basically a long rectangle.
4. Pin your two dorsal fin pieces together, leaving the bottom 2 inches unpinned.

5. Sew around the edge of your dorsal fin.
6. Make sure you stop 2 inches from the bottom, as this will become the base of your dorsal fin and shoulder straps.
7. Trim your edges.
8. Once everything it trimmed, check to make sure that those last two inches aren't sewn down!

9. Turn your shark fin inside out.
10. Stuff your shark fin, making sure that you get it evenly and firmly stuffed so that it will stay upright.
11. Now it's time to measure your child's shoulder with your elastic. Loop is around your child's arm and back to the center of their back to see how long of a loop you need.
12. Trim the elastic to the length you'll need for your child's arm, plus about 1 inch.

13. Take your shark fin and lay it on top of your rectangle you cut in step 3.
14. Lay your 2 inch ends of the shark fin out flat, and begin to pin your rectangle to them, around the edges.
15. Check the placement for your elastic loops.
16. Insert the ends of your elastic loops between the two layers of fleece on either side, and pin in place.

17. Sew all the way around your rectangle to create the base for your shark fin.
18. If you want to keep your stuffing in place, you can sew around the bottom of the shark fin shape, as shown. The benefit to this is that your stuffing doesn't shift too much, but it's not really necessary if you don't want to do it.

And you're done! Put your new shark fin on your child and enjoy:

My little girl of course needed to immediately put on her "shark coat" and play dress up. She also decided that instead of just plain Princess Aurora this Halloween, she's going to be "shark Aurora" now that she can sport her shark fin on the outside of her princess dress. Love it!

If you make one of our shark fins please let us know and send us pictures! And if you're looking for more fun kid's sewing tutorials you can check out our other projects here. Happy Halloween!



  1. Sharks are awesome! I saw shark undies at Brothers by Justice-$17 and I almost lost my mind and bought them. But didn't. Love and pinned your tut!!

  2. What a cute costume. I love this idea and great tutorial too. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  3. Such a great costume! The fin is ingenious.
    Featured you on Project Inspire{d} this week!

  4. Where did u purchase shark jacket


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