Ardent about fashion, Juli Lynne Charlot spun a chic skirt made from felt with ornamental Christmas motifs, starting off a fashion rage. Also boutiques showed her creations in no time. As dogs were popular in the '50s, she was asked to include poodles in the skirt's design.
A poodle skirt conjures retro-esque images of a time in fashion that is still revered today, with many women and young girls sporting this hip, appliquéd beauty.
Juli, made her first appliquéd skirt using felt material that was freely available from the factory her mother owned. Because times were hard and fashion wasn't exactly a roaring success (or affordable), Juli was forced to come up with her own creation to wear on Christmas day.
Her skirts told a story that she encouraged store owners to learn of, so that customers had a tale to tell as part of their lovely purchase. Her idea to instill a sense of personal appeal to her skirts with stories, was what made them extra special. They were voluptuous, full skirts with hemlines that grazed the knees or were a little longer.
How to Make a Poodle Skirt at Home
What You'll Need
1 large square piece of felt
Sewing thread and needle (or machine)
Appliqué options (of your choice; or poodles)
Poodle printout (outline)
Small pieces of felt in different colors
Decorative ribbon (for poodle leash)
Large chart paper
Poodle Skirt Measurements
Use the measuring tape to measure your waist; write down the measurement, but add two inches to that number. Next, take the measurement of how long you want the skirt to be, and make a note of that too.
On the chart paper, mark the two measurements using a pencil and then cut it down to size into a circle; it should resemble what you see in the diagram. Place this circular cutout on the large felt fabric piece, following the markings to make a replica.
The purpose of adding two inches to your measurement, is so the fabric can wrap itself a little bit around your waist. The material should now be a solid circle, with a hole in the middle (like a donut). See the arrow in the first figure that runs down from the waist measurement to the length measurement? Cut along that line on any one side.
Like a wraparound skirt, fold it around you and mark the spot where the fabric flap ends - this is where you will place your Velcro stick-ons. If you're good at sewing, you can put a colorful, decorative button instead. The next step is to use the poodle printout as a reference outline for the smaller felt material pieces.
You can buy ready-made poodle appliqués, or any sort of motif that piques your interest. Once you have your cutouts ready, you can either sew the poodle onto the skirt, or use the glue as an easier alternative.
Diagram of Poodle Skirt
Next, glue the decorative ribbon into place. You can use an elastic belt/sequined ribbon to create a cinched-in look at the waist; this addition works wonders for those who want to show off a whittled waist.
You could leave the poodle skirt as it is and continue to include optional finishing touches like, beaded eyes for the poodle appliqué, or glitter/stones along the ribbon.
The final step is to sew the rough ends of your skirt - which you can choose to leave as it is, as mentioned earlier - if you aren't finicky about perfect edges. Once you sew the ends of your skirt, you can now step back and admire your work and add more details to the skirt, if you wish.
Feel free to experiment with patterns, colors, quirky motifs, sequin, lace, and whatever else comes to mind, to give your skirt a truly unique take on the classic poodle skirt.
While the quintessential poodle skirt comes with coiffured French poodles, you can always take it to the next level and do your own thing. With time, you'll find ways to turn mere fabric into a masterpiece of sorts. Enjoy your '50s creation.