The VIntage VIP Poodle skirt

The Facts
Fabric: The most amazing piece of pre-printed vintage fabric (almost) ever!
Pattern: None
Year: Most likely mid to late 50′s
Notions: 1 zipper, I hook-n-eye, 8 buttons from stash for grey sweater
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
First worn: April 2012
Wear again? Yes but most likely without petticoat

Total Cost: NOTHING…although the sweaters worn with it came to a total of $15.99

This could have EASILY been used for the VIP challenge – this is a VERY PRECIOUS piece of fabric, I think I found it at the Peddlar’s Fair in Martinez years ago and might have paid $5. I liked the printed poodles on it at the time and thought maybe I’d use it for curtains or appliques…didn’t really know. It sat in a box (away from the sun, thank goodness) for years. One day I pulled it out, needing to decide whether to keep it or throw it away and I saw this:

This small white mark, near the selvedge..and there were two of them marking the middle of the poodles…I had someone grab one end of the fabric and hold the whole thing out and it hit me – this was a piece of pre-printed goods meant to make a CIRCLE SKIRT with poodles galore! SILVER poodles, with lime green bows and butterflies, how AWESOME is that!???! That’s when this went into the Revered pile, not to be touched until….

Now. Now it’s been transformed into all it’s fifties poodle glory : ) If you go by the technical definition of a circle skirt then this isn’t technically a circle skirt since there are gathers at the waist. Why? Because the basic skirt was HUGE. Here it is with the side seams stitched up and a preliminary hem cut, on a 5 foot round table:

If I were to have no gathers then the skirt would either be A) dragging on the floor or B) meant for a 48″ waist. So there are gathers : ) I made this backwards – after sewing the side seams together I measured from the bottom of the poodles, which was about 6″, and then cut the hem. Once that was done I measured from the hem UP and cut out the waist. It was VERY important that the full pattern of the poodles be kept intact as well as having a good even hem.

Now you can see the poodle glory : ) And that is one full skirt, let me assure you…

This was my original idea for this skirt – a nice crisp white blouse with green earrings and a silver belt. Believe it or not I do have my petticoat on underneath and I felt like I was about 5 feet wide. I also felt kind of blah. I had cut this out, including a cute little grey sweater (remodeled from a $3 silk/cashmere find from Salvation Army!) when it was about 68 degrees. While taking pictures today it hit 90. I had ditched the idea of the sweaters until I looked at these photos and then felt like I really did need to suck it up and change the look.

Silver sweater, black camisole, same silver belt and shoes, and a vintage green rhinestone pin and earrings from my grandmother and I’m feeling better…except for the sweat dripping down my neck and back : )

And now we’ve got the cashmere/silk sweater re-do with the black camisole and black belt. Still sweating but this is much more “me” than the white shirt. The “halos” in the photo are the result of near direct sun shining on the outdoor studio my daughter set up for a photo project for school. She was nice enough to take these photos for me at the end of a long, hot day for her. She says its called the “Madonna effect” and rattled off a way I could fix it in the Bridge section of Photoshop that made my eyes roll into the back of my head. I’ll just take the halo for now : )

Finally, when I could feel the sweat soaking through my waistband, I decided to ditch the petticoat and see how the skirt did on its own. I like it : ) I would totally wear this to work, on BART, without hesitation!

And since this is a circular skirt there was twirling…

And while I love those silvery Kazz-inspired shoes, at some point I’m going to need to be practical so I found a pair of lime green flip-flops to match the lime green polish my daughter brought me special for today.

I am SO glad I finally go to make this skirt! I used it as a table cloth for my blog here. As I was ironing the skirt to wear today my mother told me she met my aunt (and then my father) through her Girl Scout troop in about 1948. My future grandmother came to teach the girls how to make circle skirts and after they measured their waists it came time to figure out how big a circle to cut, she had to do the math for each girl since they were too young to have learned fractions yet! I’m sure she’d like this skirt today, not so sure she’d care for green nail polish but you never know…

So thanks to a circle skirt my parents met, I came along, my Grandma Bertha taught me how to sew and here we are! Big circle of life.

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