My sweet little first grader had her very first school dance on Valentine’s Day. It was the school’s first annual Valentine’s Day sock hop. 50’s attire was encouraged and all three kids had just gotten over the stomach flu, so I had not even thought of what she would wear until the last minute. She’s a cool little girl with her own style and idea of what is “cool” to wear, so I honestly didn’t think she would go for a poodle skirt. I asked the question with the expectation of her shooting the idea down, but to my surprise she was totally in to it.
“Ok,” I thought. “I have three days to pull this off.” My husband was super cute with the concept conversation about color, coordination, and style. Without him to bounce ideas off of, I might have been a little rattled with such a short timeline.
First, I googled “last minute poodle skirt” and found this tutorial. It gave me a place to start and the confidence I needed to pull it off. The tutorial used felt and made the skirt a wrap around. I wanted more movement, so chose fleece and made it a full circle skirt by adding elastic in the waistline. I wanted her to be able to use it again next year if she chooses.
The hardest part of making this skirt without a pattern is figuring out the measurements. I measured princess’ waist adding in an extra 2 inches so that it would “gather” and decided how long I wanted to make it. The pi formula (3.14) was used to determine the radius of the inner waist circle and added the length to that, allowing for an extra inch and a half for the hems and elastic waistband. Taking the final number, I measured a piece of string the same length. Here’s where things got very scientific. Making a homemade compass, I tied the string to a pen and from the center of the waist circle tacked the end of my string and drew the hemline circle all the way around the waist circle. I used wrapping paper to create my pattern and then cut out my fabric once all the measurements were just right. Very scientific.
From here, it was all easy peasy and creativity inspired. I found a poodle image I liked from Google images and cut out the pattern. I ironed on Pellon to the back of the fleece poodle so that it would be easier to sew on. Fleece tends to stretch and move when you sew it, so the Pellon helps to stiffen it making it easier to adhere. I sewed on a ribbon leash and bow, and attached rhinestone eye with hot glue.
My favorite part of 50’s poodle skirts are the layers of petticoats underneath. I decided the easiest way to do this would be to make a long tutu. Using the same waist measurement, I sewed together a piece of elastic and then slip tied long strands of hot pink and light pink tulle to the elastic band. This was my favorite part! I made it long enough to just peek out from under the black skirt. Here’s a great tutorial to make a tutu.
I loved doing this project for my princess. You can tell she felt as beautiful as she looked. I am such a lucky mama to have such a special little girl.