Friday, November 29, 2013

DIY Poodle Skirt (No-Sew!)

Last Friday was Mia's 50th day of school, and her first grade class was celebrating with a 50's theme. She had asked me if she could have a poodle skirt, and initially I thought there was no way I could pull that off with only a couple days notice. Then, I checked my craft stash and came across plenty of pink felt and a black iron-on poodle and some white pearl trim for the leash. Yes, I had actually hoped to make myself a poodle skirt several years ago, (like, B.C. -- Before Children era -- years ago). My sewing skills are not the greatest so I never got past the point of purchasing the materials!

Deciding that I had very little to lose here, I found an online tutorial for making a NO-SEW poodle skirt. The only thing I needed to purchase was some iron-on Velcro. The directions said that I would only need 2 inches, so instead of purchasing an entire package, I got 8 inches at the cutting counter at Jo-Ann. (I figured it was best to buy a bit extra just in case!) With my coupon, this cost me a grand total of 91 cents, so again, I felt that I had little to lose if it didn't go well. Actually, I guess that's not completely true. While at Michaels (which is right next to Jo-Ann, so I couldn't very well go to one and not pop into the other), I found some cute rhinestone ribbon trim in the $1 section. I couldn't resist getting this even though I knew I would use very little for this particular project. Honestly, it was a good deal, and I know it will get used for something else, but if you really want to know what I spent on this project it would be fair to share that.

I am happy to say that this project was a huge success, which I owe to my daughter who was entirely confident that I would produce a wearable skirt despite having never made her any type of clothing in the past. Her belief in me helped me feel that I could achieve what I had set out to do. Now that I have managed to make one cute little poodle skirt, I am thinking I should be able to finally make one for myself. I even have plenty of time to get it done before Halloween!

{Happy 50th Day of School!}

  • 1 yard pink felt (or color of your choice -- this is the just color and amount I used)
  • scissors (I suppose fabric scissors are optimal; I used my regular old scissors.)
  • iron-on poodle applique (or use the template provided by obSEUSSed with your own felt)
  • pearl trim for leash (ribbon or other trim would work, as well)
  • iron-on Velcro (I used 3 inches total)
  • ruler (or measuring tape, if you have one)
  • iron
  • hot glue gun
  • black pom pom for tail (optional)
  • rhinestone trim for collar (or sequined trim, optional)

1) (Note: I appreciate that obSEUSSed came up with this easy way to figure out how much felt to use.) Measure your child from the waist to her knees. I actually have a dressmaker's measuring tape somewhere... not sure where, though, so I used a plain old ruler. (See, I swear anyone can do this, and you do NOT need sewing skills!) My girl is petite so it was only 14 inches. I double that to get 28 and then added 8 more to come up with a total of 36. I used a white pencil and my ruler to help me figure out how to get a 36 inch square from my bundle of felt and then cut it out (using regular scissors, NOT fabric scissors, and it came out just fine for this non-sewing mama). Note: The blog post I got this from said she made a 42 inch felt square for her daughter, so make sure you take measurements before buying fabric as there is quite a bit of difference among children's sizes.
2) Fold the fabric twice to make a square half the size of the original. (Mine was 18 inches. Hers was 21 inches.)
3) On the edge that is NOT folded, cut a curved line from one corner to the other. (obSEUESSed includes a photo if you want to see how this looks.)
4) This is the part that confused me at first, and I had to have Brett read the directions and explain them to me, "While folded, mark 4 inches from the folded corner on both folded sides. Cut a curved line from each mark. This creates a 16 inch waist opening. It will be adjustable." (quote from obSEUSSed)
Now that I read this again, it makes sense. Basically, you are cutting away a section that has two straight lines and one curved line that has a 4 inch radius. Once you unfold the fabric it turns out to be a full circle with a 16 diameter. (Again, check her photos if you need clarification.)

5) With the fabric unfolded, cut a line from the outside edge to the inside edge. It doesn't matter where you cut, but I did try to get a relatively straight line. Now you have made the basic skirt, and you are on to the easy (and fun!) part: embellishment!

6) I decided that I wanted the cut part to be in the back of the skirt, and then I decided to place the poodle on the lower right are of the skirt (as seen when she is wearing it.) Since my applique was an iron-on, I just heated up my iron and followed the package directions, flipping over the fabric and ironing from the reverse side. It said to apply heat for just 30 seconds I believe, but I found that it took 3 repetitions before it was set. To be on the safe side, I had a kitchen towel in between my iron and the felt so that may have been the reason for the delay. (Note: While it saved me time, using the applique was more expensive that her version with the homemade poodle. Even though, I didn't buy it recently, it seems fair to mention that I priced this out at around $6 at Jo-Ann.)

7) Once the poodle was placed, I laid out my pearl trim and arranged it to make a couple of fun loops, making its way to the upper left corner of the skirt. After my glue gun was hot, I used it to adhere the pearl trim in my chosen design. (Note: Again, I had purchased this long ago, and I did not occur to me to figure out a price. I think I used just under a yard of the stuff, which is essentially the same as a little girl's pearl necklace except that it is broken. Well, I am pretty sure we have a broken necklace laying around somewhere that I could have used if I were being more frugal!)

8) I blinged out the poodle further with a black pom pom (already had this) for the tail, and that cute turquoise rhinestone trim, both of which I applied with my hot glue gun.

{After adding the poodle and trim}

9) For the closure, I did it differently that obSEUSSed. She just used two 1-inch sections of the "pokey" side of the Velcro, which she says will cling to the material and make it adjustable. I used 3 inches of both sides for extra security since she was going to wear it ALL day at school. I had extra left over, so I can always adjust the sizing down the road, since this is bound to become a Halloween costume at some point. First, I used a 1 inch section of the soft side and ironed it to the the inside corner (so that when she would wear the skirt, the other end would fold over it -- this was where I ironed the corresponding 1 inch section of the "pokey" side of the Velcro. (Per directions on the package at the store, I flipped the fabric over and ironed from the reverse side, holding it down for 90 seconds.) Then, I had Mia try the skirt on, and I decided to place another set of 1 inch Velcro tabs, so that there was about 2 1/2" gap between them. There was a lot of excess material, so I cut away some from the inside fold so that it would lay better. Then, I added another set of hook/loop closures to the bottom of the skirt. The placement was determined by where the material was hitting, kind of the opposite of what I had done with the waist closure.

In the end, the poodle skirt didn't fit her quite as well as I had hoped, but it was definitely good enough for a "costume." I simply told her that she had to wear leggings underneath, just in case. Fortunately, she didn't mind and she was really thrilled to have her very own poodle skirt, enthusing that she had "always wanted one!" (This was news to me, but I was happy that she was happy. Also, I made a poodle skirt! Who wouldn't be excited to realize she could do that?!)


  1. Thank you for posting your results -- especially that it needed leggings at the end. Discovered that the pattern works for child-size to plus-size adult. God Bless.

    1. That is good to know, Dinah! I still haven't made my own poodle skirt, but that gives me hope that I will get it done someday... Thanks for stopping by. :)