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DIY Poodle Skirt

This section will show you how to make the iconic poodle skirt from the 1950’s, including how to make the poodle appliqué. The original poodle skirt was a wide, circular felt skirt- the wider the better – with a poodle design which was also made of felt. The technique used to make the poodle appliqué can also be used for other designs. Although the poodle design is the most recognized design, they often used flamingoes, flowers or hot rods in addition to the poodle design.


  1. Circle skirt
  2. Material for poodle
  3. Thread
  4. Printed picture of poodle – cartoonish
    in nature or like in a coloring book
  5. Black fabric paint
  6. Scissors
  7. Pins
  8. Rhinestones
  9. String of white pearls for collar and leash (optional)


  1. Choosing Skirt

Although the original poodle skirt from the 1950’s was made of felt, you could use other materials of your choice. Choose a circle skirt that reaches your knees unless you are looking for a sassy look and then you could pick a short skirt in which case you could pick a shorter one. If you can sew, you could make an easy circle skirt. We have other videos that show how to make a pattern for a circle skirt and how to make a circle skirt. This pattern is for stretchy material such as Lycra. If you want felt, you will have to use a different pattern. The skirt from the 50’s varied in color. It was often a bright bold color but usually it was grey, baby blue or pink.

  1. Create Poodle

Secondly, you will need a printed picture of a poodle and white material for the poodle. The original poodle was made from felt but we are using velvet because we like the look of it. We obtained the poodle picture used in our demonstration from the internet. We found a picture of a poodle that was cartoonish in nature that was very simple with very few lines. You could also find a picture from a coloring book. Both of these would give you nice, bold lines as a basis. Make sure to darken the lines in with a dark blue or black sharpie to make the lines easier to see. You may want to trim the paper with the poodle picture so that it is more manageable. Put a piece of cardboard under the picture so that the ink does not leak through.

Place your white material on top of the picture. If you use the velvet, the design should show through the material. If you use felt for the poodle, you will probably need to place the picture against a window with the fabric on top of it. You could also use a light table if you have one available.

Using fabric paint, trace the poodle design on to the material. We used glitter fabric paint and then went over it with some darker, silver glitter. Test the tube of paint on a fabric scrap. If for any reason the tube on the paint bottle is stuck, it is very easy to open it up with a sewing pin. Starting from the top of the design, carefully trace all of the lines of the poodle design. Once the paint on the design is dry, you can cut the material next to the poodle design and you will have a finished edge to your appliqué. It is very simple to do. Just follow the lines. If you mess up a little, it is no big deal. You could, of course, redo it if you have extra material. Either way, it is just a poodle skirt. Using tweezers, place rhinestones on the wet paint over the collar area then splatter glitter over the whole poodle while the paint is still wet. Let it sit for awhile and let it dry. One option would be to glue a string of pearls on the collar instead of using rhinestones.

If you wish, after the paint dries and you have shaken the loose glitter off, you could fill in the fur ruffs around the poodle’s feet or even on the head. Some people have used little pieces of cotton on the head, the pouf on the tail and around the ankles to make the them fluffy. You can be a little creative.

  1. Attach poodle to skirt

Once everything is dry on the poodle, you can attach the poodle to the skirt. Using the seams as a guide, fold the skirt in half and then in half again. Determine where you want to place the poodle. The poodle should be facing the center of the skirt. Then you can either sew the poodle onto the skirt or glue it in place. If you decide to glue the poodle down, make sure you do not use too much glue because you do not want the glue to ooze out from under the edges. You can then create a leash by gluing or sewing down a string of rhinestones or pearls from the collar to towards the waistband. Making a straight line to the waist is a bit harsh. It is better to have the string of rhinestones or pearls in a wavy or squiggly line. And, there you have it!

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