Thursday, 12 December 2013

a Christmas poodle skirt

Good Morning All
I hope I find you all in good spirits, it's now less than 2 week till Christmas and the house is starting to feel very festive.  At the weekend we put our tree up, it's a tree I bought in the January sales quite a number of years ago.  It was an absolute bargain, so I got quite carried away and bought it without thinking, it was only when the next Christmas rolled round that we discovered it was way too large for the house we used to live in, (bit like the sofa incident for regular readers).  So up till now we have only put half of it and balanced it by string attached to curtain poles etc.  But this year we have a most resplendent bay window to house it in all it's full glory.  Dr J. was busy with the paintbrush right up till the night before to get the window sills and surrounding areas gleaming white, and here it is, and as is tradition while we decked it I enjoyed a sherry and the kids enjoyed chocolates, (ok I enjoyed chocolates too) so now I really need to get wrapping and get some presents underneath it. Even Jessie is getting feastive:

Ok so the pattern for a poodle skirt is a flat piece of material with circle cut in the centre for the waist and another large circle cut around that for the skirt length.  Please excuse my poor drawing (and the fact it's upside down), but I hope you get the drift.
You fold the material in half and then half again so there are four layers and two sides with folded edges and two sides unfolded.  Then, working out from the corner where the sides with the folded edges join, draw circles.  
Ok first tip at this stage is to make sure the material is facing wrong side out, so when you draw in the wrong place it won't matter.  The corner is the very centre of your circle so taking your waist size as the diameter you want the waistband to be, you work out what the radius of that circle would be ie:
for a 30 inch waist (I wish) 

30 / 3.14 = 9.55

then to get the radius

9.55 / 2 = 4.77

Attach a piece of string to a pencil, hold round a pin at the corner, allowing the pencil to swing round on that radius and draw a arc on the material.

Tip 2, mark a small dot at the beginning of the arc and the end using a ruler to make the sure the thread doesn't lengthen or shorten and you draw an even circle.  Also remember about the seam allowance for your waistband, the circle needs to be smaller to account for that.
Tip 3, don't forget if you start in inches stay in inches, this one almost got me this time.

Now once you have your waist drawn you can think about the length of the skirt, simply how ever long you want the skirt add this on to the waist radius and draw another arc using the string method again.
This is where I ran into problems you see the skirt has to be a certain length to make sure it is as long as the petticoat, see my last post for more about that, but I didn't have enough width of material to do it. My material just wasn't wide enough, I mean it was 60 inches, but this just wasn't enough, so followed a bit of head scratching, and me folding the material lots of different ways, trying to see if I could cut 2 semi circles and stitch them together, but in the end I decided to go for a yoke, so the centre "waist" measurement in my case is in fact my hip measurement ,and with the leftover material I will make a waistband and fitted yoke.

 Tip 4, cut carefully, if you're lazy like me and don't pin the pieces together, or a better tip, pin the pieces so they don't slip as you cut.
And don't forget the old mantra, measure twice, cut once.

Well sewing it all together will have to wait now, as the skirt is not needed till next week and I have an outfit to finish for this weekend. This beautiful dress is only a 24 inch waist, and so delicate that the seams rip open just by pulling, so even if anyone fitted it I wouldn't recommend wearing it. So I am remaking it with new pink material, in my size and sewing the black velvet embroidered panel back on. 

Got my work cut out so I best be on with it.

warmest regards
ally x


  1. I look forward to seeing your finished version of this dress, Alison. It is quite beautiful!

    1. Thank you, I do hope I do it justice. Strangely just before reading this I was cutting out one of your patterns for a man's jacket, I have a number of them and think they are lovely. And to think you have read my blog is quite amazing, I hope you are enjoying it and continue to read it, I would love to feature your patterns, there's load yet I want to buy, good idea for a post, thank you again. please keep reading. ally