Aaronica is a DREAM, and I’m not just talking about one of everyone’s favorite mermaids 😉 Our new Aaronica dress is going to be one of your summer staples, I just know it! Both versions feature four sleeve options – sleeveless, cap, short, or long sleeves. Youth Aaronica includes a gathered skirt or romper, with optional pockets on either. Choose from shorts or pants romper. The Women’s Aaronica features a bodycon style in mini, knee, or midi length, PLUS a gathered skirt in two lengths, OR a romper in three hem length options (shorts, cropped, pants). Optional pockets are included for the gathered skirt or romper versions.
Our testers knocked Aaronica out of the park, as usual, and they could not stop with the hacks! Can we blame them???? You’ll have to let us know which hack you’re going to try out first! I’m thinking the swim hack, but they are all so, so good. Check them out below!
Double Back Hack
The back detail of the Aaronica is so cute, let’s add it to the front as well!
All you need is the pattern and your regular supplies.
Cutting and Prepping
- Choose the options you want to make. For this tutorial, I’m making a sleeveless full-length romper with pockets.
- Disregard the front bodice and the neck binding pattern pieces.
- Cut 4 back bodices (2 pairs, mirrored). The new neck binding will be calculated in the next step.
- Transfer the marking from the front bodice (located at the bottom portion at the side seam) to all 4 back bodice pieces.
- Cut the bottom pieces as per pattern.
If you’re making the Bodycon skirt you’ll need to cut it at the Romper/Gathered skirt line and add seam allowance to the top edge.
A little note! Depending on your bust/cup size you may need to add a bit of length to the pieces you’ll be using for the front of your garment. I suggest you cut one pair, measure it against your body, and then decided if extra length is needed.
Sewing the Bodice
- Sew each pair by the shoulder seam with right sides together.
- Measure the length shown by the yellow line, and multiply it by .85. That will give you the length of your new neck binding piece.
- Attach the binding to the neckline. Repeat for the other piece.
My fabric was a very lightweight rayon knit, so I decided to use FOE instead. A little bonus hack! 😉
I used FOE for the bottom edge of the bodice as well. If you decide to do the same, remember to remove the seam allowance first.
- Lay both bodice pieces on top of each other with both right sides facing up, align the notches and baste it in place (step 6 of pattern instructions).
- If you’re adding sleeves, go ahead and add them.
Set the bodice aside for now.
Prep your bottom pieces as per patterns, adding eventual pockets and sewing the center seams if you’re making a romper.
- BODYCON SKIRT – if you chose this option follow the instructions on Step 11, both for the front and back
- GATHERED SKIRT and ROMPER – for these options, follow the instructions on Step 10, both for the front and back.
Alternatively, you can use the Bodycon elastic method here as well.
That’s what I opted to do.
Putting it all together
- Align the top of your bottom piece with the marking on the back bodice (the one you transferred from the front bodice) and pin or clip it.
- I highly recommend basting them together to avoid a ton of frustration (ask me how I know lol).
- Repeat on the other side.
- Once that is done, align, clip, and sew your side seams.
- All that is left to do is hem everything (or add binding to armscye if making a sleeveless) and voilà, you’re done!
I hope this has been helpful.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a shout!
I love a good hack! And a simple hack for the Aaronica is making separates! My daughter chose the gathered skirt option.
Cut 2 front skirt pieces, sew the side seams, and make a 1-inch casing. Then taking ¾ inch elastic, I wrapped it snugly around her waist to get the elastic measurement. Feed the elastic through the casing, sew the ends, and close off the casing. Hem as usual and you are done with the skirt!
Next to the top, I took the bodices and made an adjustment to the back bodice piece. You want to make sure the front and back bodice pieces match up. I made a small mark and drew a gradual line to even up the bottom.
Instead of hemming the back edge of the bodice, I used ½ in elastic for stability. Multiply 90% of the length of the back bodice and that is your elastic length. Repeat to find the front elastic length. Sew or serge the elastic on and topstitch. Finish sewing the bodice per the pattern instructions!
Happy sewing! ~ Amii
Hey, y’all! As soon as I made an Aaronica dress for my daughter, I could not get the idea of a swim top out of my head. I even dreamed about it! I knew I had to make it happen, and you can too!
What you’ll need:
- Front and back bodice pieces in swim main and lining (you could even make it reversible if you use two different swim fabrics!!)
- Neck and arm binding pieces
- Clear or swim elastic (not pictured- I used 1/4″ clear elastic but 3/8″ would work too)
- one piece the length of the front bodice bottom
- TWO pieces the length of the back crossover bottom
- Optional, for curvy figures (not included in this tutorial): Swim bra cups (attach to the front lining before following the steps below)
Now we’re ready to sew!
Match up one main back crossover piece with one lining back crossover piece right sides together. Sew together along the bottom with a ½” seam allowance (SA), catching your matching elastic piece in the SA.
Note: the elastic is clipped ¼” from the fabric edge so it doesn’t get cut by the serger blade.
Understitch seam to lining piece if desired.
Open up back pieces and match main shoulder front to the main shoulder back. Stitch. Repeat with lining pieces.
Layer main and lining WRONG sides together. Use a long basting stitch to sew from the green dot on the right up the side, around the back and neck, and back down the other side following the orange line, to the red dot on the left.
Also baste the opposite side of the crossover, indicated by the yellow line in the second picture.
Attach the neck binding as indicated in the pattern tutorial. Baste the crossover pieces together as indicated in the pattern tutorial.
Pull apart the main and lining front pieces, with the right sides facing up. Sandwich the back crossover pieces in between the front main and lining. The main fabrics should be right sides together and the lining pieces should be right sides together. Match all pieces at the armscye- you will have a ½” overhang of the front main and lining. Stitch both sides, indicated by the yellow lines on the second picture below.
Clip or pin the main and lining front pieces together along the bottom. It will pull in due to the smaller width of the back pieces, but it will match up. Clip clear or swim elastic ¼” away from the edge so it catches in the seam allowance. Stitch across as indicated by the yellow line below, using a ½” seam allowance. Clip corners to help them lay more smoothly when turned out if desired.
NOTE: I HIGHLY recommend stitching the first inch or so on either side with a stretch stitch on a sewing machine, as it will allow you more control over the corners. You want your seam line to be right up against, but not over, the bottom edge of the back crossover pieces!
Almost there! At this point, I kept thinking it looked like an inside-out pillow with those three edges sewn. Reach inside through the open armscye and pull it right side out! Wiggle the corners into place. Then take a moment to marvel at the gorgeous enclosed seams and how sometimes sewing is like magic.
Baste around both armscyes to hold the layers together and attach arm binding per the pattern tutorial.
That’s it- you’re done!! Put it on its intended recipient and go have some fun in the sun!
You can pair your new swim top with your favorite M4M swim bottoms. I paired this top with the Calypso bottoms. -Lizzy
Half Circle Hack / Kaia Mash
I love that Made for Mermaids patterns have lots of options to achieve different looks. What’s even better is when you can take two patterns and mash them together without needing any adjustments. I’m doing that today by adding a half circle skirt to Aaronica. Aaronica includes both bodycon and gathered skirts already, but I just love the shape of a half-circle skirt. Kaia is the perfect fit, so that’s the skirt I’ll be borrowing to add to the Aaronia bodice. I chose the dress length of Kaia, but you can follow the same instructions for the mini or maxi lengths too. I’d be cautious about the maxi length though, as it’s quite a bit of fabric and becomes heavy which may pull the bodice down.
What you’ll need:
- Aaronica front bodice (sleeveless or sleeves), neckline binding, sleeves or tank binding, mirror back pieces, elastic cut according to the chart
- Kaia front and back skirt (to your length of choice)
The Kaia skirt has a separate line for fabric saving – non-cut on the fold back. I did go with this option. If you do too, after you cut the back pieces as mirror images, sew them right sides together (RST) along the center seam with a 1/2″ seam allowance before moving on. Now you’ll treat the back a one-piece moving forward.
Assemble your bodice top according to the Aaronica tutorial. The shoulders, neckline binding, and sleeves should be added. Baste the overlap of the back piece but do not sew the side seams. Lay your front bodice right side up. With right sides together, clip the skirt front to the bodice front. This should be 1:1 and not require any stretching to fit. Sew/serge with 1/2″ seam allowance. If you are making the maxi length, you may consider adding clear elastic to this seam for stability.
From this point forward, you can follow the instructions for the bodycon version of Aaronica. Lay the skirt back the wrong side up. Mark the center point of your 1/2″ elastic (cut based on the Aaronica elastic lengths) and match that to the center back of the skirt. Attach the elastic to the wrong side of the top of the skirt back, slightly stretching the elastic to fit. I used my serger but you can use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine too. Flip the elastic down so it’s now hidden and topstitch in place with a coverstitch or stretch stitch on your sewing machine.
To finish the side seams, lay the front right side up. Flip the crossover back RST aligning the armscye seams and side notches. Then lay the back skirt RST on top, matching the top of the back skirt with the mark from the back bodice. It should be a slight overlap. Sew the side seams with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the hem on the sleeves and skirt with a 1/2″ hem allowance.
Enjoy your new dress! –Katie
Let’s use picot elastic to finish the Aaronica neckline. It’s an easy hack with a high impact.
What you’ll need:
- Aaronica pattern
- picot elastic
Cut the pieces for the Aaronica style of your choice. Exclude the neck binding fabric piece and cut a piece of picot elastic the same length as the neck binding.
Follow the pattern instructions until you come to the neck binding section. Mark and evenly pin the elastic to the front side of your bodice, flat side of the elastic lined up with the edge of the fabric. We will be stretching the elastic to fit the neckline (as we do with neck binding or neckbands).
Stretching the picot to fit the bodice neckline, attach with a zig-zag stitch at 1/4″ seam allowance. Be careful to not catch the picot loops with your stitches and do not stretch your bodice.
The last step is to flip the picot elastic over to the wrong side and finish with the top stitch of your choice.
That’s it! Enjoy! – Bekah
The gathered skirt of Aaronica is perfect for a growing baby bump – here’s how to achieve this maternity hack! It’s quite simple, we will just be moving the waistline up 1.5″. You can adjust this amount for your personal preferences, though I found 1.5″ to be a good height to fit above the bump without quite being an empire waist. I use a projector, so my pieces are traced onto tracing paper, and I’ve traced the alterations onto the tracing paper as well, prior to cutting them out.
First, we’ll take our back bodice piece. Using a ruler, mark 1.5″ above the bottom of the bodice, all the way across. Make sure to measure at small intervals, as the back is curved, so we want to take 1.5″ all the way across.
Next, we’ll raise the top of the back bodice piece 1.5″. We do this so that we can maintain an overlap in the 2 back pieces (so there is no gap). It also covers a regular bra, so we love that! However, we only raise the cut line at 1.5″ until the back starts to curve up into the strap.
Once you start to curve up towards the strap, curve your new cut line towards the strap so the corner matches the original. We want to make sure we’re not altering our strap width so it still matches the front bodice. You can use a french curve for this or just eyeball it, either way!
Here is the finished back bodice piece, and we can now cut along our dotted/altered lines.
For the skirt, we’ll be adding 1.5″ height. This pattern has different heights for the front and back skirt (as the back has a casing), so we’ll have 2 new lines. As there’s a 1.5″ gap between the 2 lines on the pattern, I’m now using the “back skirt” cut line for my front (see maternity note on the pattern piece) and have added 1.5″ to the pattern piece for the back skirt.
For the front bodice, I just folded the bottom of the pattern piece up 1.5″ to match the amount taken from the back.
Here are our altered pieces, which we now cut and assemble per the pattern instructions! It is that simple!
Side Slit Hack
Alright, so ALL THE HEART EYES FOR AARONICA, AMIRIGHT?!! I am a HUGE fan of bodycon-style dresses and have always been too scared to wear ’em until the past couple of years. I thought you had to be a certain size or shape to pull it off, but now that I’m pushing 40, I say the heck with all that and I’ll wear what I want!
But ya know what Aaronica was missing?? A faaaab-super-high-on-the-thigh SLIT! I mean, if we’re gonna bring sexy back, let’s BRING SEXY BACK!
The good news is that it’s SUPER easy to add one slit, two slits, high slits, low slits, any kind of slit to Aaronica! You don’t have to print any extra pages, make any adjustments in the pattern itself, you can get as slitty as you want and all you have to do is STOP SEWING.
I shall explain.
Pretend these are your pattern pieces (note that they’re not to scale, just for illustration purposes only). All ya have to do is cut out your pieces according to the pattern, and either make a lil’ mark/add a clip/pin/whatever to the spot you want your slit to begin. That’s it! Now, on my size (Ruby/Navy) on the midi length, the super thigh-high slit was about 18″ up from the hemline.
Now, sew your dress as usual, following the detailed instructions in the lovely pattern tutorial. When you are sewing the side seams and get to your mark, STOP! If you are serging, I just serge right off the side. For a cleaner finish, stop an inch or so before your mark and sew the rest of your seam allowance using your sewing machine. If you’re sewing on a sewing machine, you just stop backstitch and be done with it.
Before you proceed any further, try on your dress to make sure the slit is where you want it. If you want it higher, you can remove a few stitches. If you want it lower, just sew further down. Once it’s the height you want it, you can hem it!
Hemming is super simple–fold your seam to the wrong side, as you would normally hem, topstitch in place. I cheat and do it all on my coverstitch (my sewing machine and I don’t get along well…) but it will look SO MUCH nicer if you use a long straight stitch on your sewing machine. Repeat on the other slit if you’re doing slits on both sides (I personally find one high slit sexier, but on longer dresses/maxis or more casual dresses, double knee height slits are awesome!)
TA-DA! Hopefully, that helps explain things better! That’s all there is to it! Now you can finish your dress as patterned! Til’ next time! ~jess
Fold Over Elastic + Mila Inspo
Tanya used the Fold Over Elastic (FOE) hack above and used Mila as a template for the side seam. I love this version so, so much!
We can’t wait to see your new Aaronicas all sewn up! Don’t forget to share what you make with us over on IG and in our Facebook group. We love to see your latest makes 🙂