How to Make a Poodle Skirt


Shhh. It’s a surprise! I wanted to show you what the granddaughters and I are making for their little sisters for Christmas, but you’ve got to promise you’ll keep it a secret!

Back when Kelley and Kasey were little, I bought a big piece of pink felt and some iron-on applique poodles to make them poodle skirts, (you know, the kind that were popular in the ’50s) just for dress up fun. My kids LOVED to dress up.

Well, I never got around to it!

So, this year I’m teaching the older grandkid girls to sew and make these skirts for their little sisters (who love to dress up too!)

Maybe you would also like to know how!  It’s really pretty easy:

1. Measure the waist of the little girl you’re making a skirt for and then add two inches.  Use a tape measure and then write down the measurement. Then, add two inches to this measurement. (For example, if the waist measurement is 30 inches, the skirt’s waist will need to be 32 inches. You are making the skirt’s waist a little bit larger because you will need to gather the material.)

2. Divide your skirt’s waist size by 6.28 to get your first radius.Write this number down. You will need this number to help you cut out the right size waist for your skirt. (For example, if your skirt’s waist is 21 inches, then your first radius will be about 3.34 inches.)

3. Fold your felt in half and find the midpoint of the fold. Use your marker or some tailor’s chalk to make a mark on this point. You will be using this point to create half circles that will help you to mark and cut out the waist of your skirt

4. Have someone hold the tape measure at the midpoint and slowly move it in a semi-circle, making a small mark every 1/2 ” or so around the semi-circle.

5. Measure down from your waist to two inches below your knee or desired length. Next, you will need to find the length of your skirt. Add this number to your radius. This new number will be your new radius. (For example, if your skirt is going to be 24 inches long, and your first radius was 3.34 inches, then your new radius will be 27.34 inches.)

6. Again, have someone hold the tape measure at the center point and make marks again around the semi-circle. For example, if your new radius size was 27.34 inches, then you should make your marks 27.34 inches

7. Cut the large circle out first, then the small one. Do not use pinking shears; the felt fabric will not fray so they are not necessary. Cut through both layers of felt at the same time. This will help to ensure that your skirt is even. Also, try to cut just inside the lines you drew. This way, the pen marks won’t show.

8. Attach your iron-on poodle applique following directions on the package

9. Add the waistband– I purchased some 2″ black elastic to use for the waistband. Use a fabric measuring tape to measure your waist. Then add one inch to this measurement. The total will be the length of your elastic. (For example, if your waist measurement is 28, then you will need to have 29 inches of elastic.)

10. Sew the narrow ends of the elastic together. Use a ½ inch seam. Snip off any excess thread when you are done sewing.

11. Tuck the skirt inside the elastic and pin it in place. The seam of the elastic should be on the inside. The waist/top hem of the skirt and the bottom edge of the elastic should be overlapping by ¼ inch. * Keep in mind that you will not be flipping the skirt inside out. You want to have the entire waistband visible when you are done sewing.

12. Sew the elastic onto the skirt. Make sure that you stretch the elastic as you sew to ensure that it will be evenly sewn onto the felt. This will allow your waistband to stretch better. Keep sewing until you get to the end of the elastic.

13. Add the leash. Apply a line of fabric glue going from the top of the poodle’s neck up to the waistband of the skirt. Add a few loops to the line. Next, press down some thin ribbon, rickrack, or sequin trim onto the glue. After the glue dries, your skirt is ready to wear!

I also purchased some plain white shirts and I’m going to have the older girls paint the first letter of their little sister’s name on the right front of the shirt. That way the little girls will have a whole outfit to wear. Maybe I’ll post pictures after Christmas so you can see the 4 little girls with their new poodle skirts.

Remember, it’s a secret!


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About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 22 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

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