Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fish Extender Tutorial

A few weeks ago I posted about the Fish Extender program on the Disney cruises. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. OK, now that you're all caught up, I'm going to show you how to make your very own Disney Fish Extender!

Like most projects, your first step is to gather the materials. I used canvas because it was on sale at Joann Fabrics. You only need two different colors; 1/4 yd for the pockets and 1/4 yd for the background. I also bought ribbon to use as my trim. You can get a similar effect by using bias tape.

The black fabric should be only 8 inches wide and as long as you want it to be (it should be longer depending on how many people are in your room). I had extra fabric so I folded it in half so I had an easy loop at the top to hang it by. The pockets should be 5.5 inches long and 11 inches wide. The pockets are longer than the background fabric so when sewed on they create a pleat (more on that later).

Now that you everything is bought and cut, it's time to design what you want. If you have an embroidery machine you can download templates to embroider from Etsy (example). If you don't have an embroidery machine, I would suggest you buy applique's from Etsy and just sew them on (example). You don't even have to get that fancy. You can do iron on designs too! There is no right or wrong way to do it. The only rule is: make it personal!

We only have two people in our room, but be sure to add pockets for every member in your family! I wanted to keep with the Mickey and Minnie theme, but also incorporate our favorite characters. I found the Mickey with R2D2 mouse ears here and Ariel with mouse ears here. Then I just added our names using Disney font.

So happy with how these turned out!

Time to sew the pockets! First take the ribbon and press it in half and sew to the tops of your pockets only. Next take the pocket and press the bottom seam under and make your pleats. Now sew each pocket along the bottom to the background canvas.

One of the last steps is to take your ribbon and sew it up the two sides and along the bottom to finish the edges. The top should remain without ribbon so you can put a wooden dowel through it and tie ribbon so it hangs outside your door!

I decided to add some more embroidery to the top to give it a more finished look. So there you have it, my completed Disney Fish Extender. It's by no means perfect, but it only cost me $6 in fabric and about $10 in embroidery designs! Much better than the $30+ price tag you'll find on Etsy!

If you have any questions on how to make your very own FE, let me know and I'd be happy to help! Happy crafting!


  1. that is awesome!!! you are WAY more talented, I could not do this!

  2. Your fish extender came out SO adorable!!!! I'm absolutely in love w/ the R2D2 Mickey head!! You've inspired me to look in to getting an embroidery machine! My family and I are going to WDW in November to run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon - and I'm pretty sure need to make custom shirts. My sister and I make shirts for every family event using my Silhouette Cameo, but embroidery is much more fabulous than vinyl!

    P.S. - I love your blog!