Easy DIY Poodle Skirt Tutorial
In this post, I’ll show you how to make your own poodle skirt using materials you likely have around the house or can find at a thrift shop. You can make a more traditional poodle skirt, or create a silhouette of your own dog to use instead! All this takes is a tablecloth, elastic, and some felt. You could easily finish it in an evening and wear it the next day. This is great for a last minute Halloween costume or just for fun!
Vintage round tablecloth: I found the one I used at a thrift store, but I’ve also gotten some nice ones on Ebay, so I'm linking to search results for vintage round tablecloths. Or you can use a few yards of pink fabric.
Embossed felt: I got mine at Joann Fabrics, but I can’t find the particular type of felt anymore, so I’ve linked to a similar listing for embossed felt on Etsy.
Cereal box (or other light cardboard)
Making the Skirt
A couple of years ago, I made this pink circle skirt out of a round tablecloth that I found at a thrift shop.
If you don’t have a tablecloth handy, you can use this tutorial by Simple Simon and Co to make a circle skirt from regular fabric.
Afterward, it struck me that it might make a good poodle skirt, and initially, I intended to use a traditional poodle, but I couldn’t find a good free stock image, so I decided to use my own dog instead! What’s the point of having hundreds of pictures of your dog if you don’t use them for something?
Creating Your Dog Silhouette
I used this tutorial to help me create a black and white silhouette from a photo in Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop, here’s a tutorial on creating a silhouette in Gimp, a free photo editing program. You could also just print out a picture of your dog and cut an outline to use as a stencil.
Here’s the photo I started with. It’s a pretty good side profile of my Shar Pei mix.
And here’s the silhouette with the background removed. If you don’t have time to create your own silhouette, you can use my dog, as long as you’re making something for non-commercial purposes.
Making a Dog Stencil
I printed it out and glued it onto a cereal box to make the stencil a little sturdier before cutting it out.
I had some pretty black damask felt that I thought would look nice, but you could use regular black felt or any color you want.
I traced around my stencil with a metallic sharpie, as this was the only pen that made a good mark on the felt. The color will bleed through to the other side a bit, but I just trimmed inside the sharpie outline. I used some washers to hold the stencil in place while I traced it, and I traced it on the back side of the felt, since the front was textured.
Here’s my finished felt cutout. I think it’s a good likeness of my dog!
Adding Your Poodle (or Shar Pei) to the Skirt
I put my skirt on my dress form (see how I made this custom dress form). I placed the felt cutout on the skirt between two pleats, so it would lie flat, and I pinned it in place to see how it would look.
I liked the placement, so I proceeded to the sewing machine. You could just sew around the outline with a straight stitch, but I decided to use a satin stitch, which is just a narrow zigzag stitch.
I tested my stitch settings before starting, and narrowed the length of the stitch as well as the width between stitches, so I would get a nice dense satin stitch. Then I sewed around the felt piece.
I had a little trouble around the feet, where I had to stop, pivot, and reposition, but overall, it went pretty smoothly. Because the stitches are so dense, the sewing goes pretty slowly, and you can easily follow most curves and dips in the cutout without trouble.
The Finished “Poodle” Skirt
Here’s my finished skirt. I added a crinoline that I made out of an old prom dress to poof out the skirt, so that the dog detail would be more noticeable. I’ve seen a lot of poodle skirts with leashes that curl up the body of the skirt to the waist, but I liked mine better without the leash. You could stitch a piece of cording or rick rack onto the skirt to create a leash if you wanted to.
Have you made your own poodle skirt? How did it go?
Want more Sewing Projects?
Check out my Pinterest board on Sewing Skirts and Dresses:
Also check out this link from All Free Sewing for 175+ Halloween Costume Patterns and DIY Costume Ideas.