my little corner of the world

jackie miller : : graphic design + whatnot

Move over poodle, there’s a new dog in town…

The shih tzu! I was going to a sock hop party and needed to figure out what to wear. I decided to try to stay on the cheap and “make” a poodle skirt out of a dress I already had. Out of sheer curiosity, I did some research as to why it was a poodle on the skirt in the first place. Apparently, in the 60’s, most American teenagers had a thing for Paris and the poodle was thought of as “French”. But the popular circle skirt, usually made out of felt or wool could feature any appliqué (which actually means “applied” in French). Birds, lady bugs, turtle, music notes, vinyl records, or just patterns were other common choices, but obviously not as popular as the iconic poodle skirt.

I started working in Illustrator trying to recreate the poodle outline so I could make a sticker or patch for my skirt. I felt someone’s eyes me, so I look over and see this. Are you kidding me?

There she was, just watching… lurking. Look at her face. You can clearly see what she’s thinking…WTF… a poodle?!? What am I, chopped liver? I don’t know if you can read the pillow that states “Obey the Shih Tzu!” Well, I obeyed. And started working on what very well could be the world’s first Shih Tzu skirt!

I worked from a photo that was taken of Roxie at a SomDog event by a professional photographer a few years ago. She literally was laying on the ground to get the shot, so it was a perfect inspiration to go from as I don’t have too many images of her silhouette. She’s usually in a pile of pillows, as you can see above.

I just love how the photographer was able to capture her stubborn little stance and that it translated really well into the drawing. From there, I added in a collar with a heart with a R for Roxie. I bought a few sheets of glittery vinyl and got to cutting. It’s been a minute since I layered 2 colors, but I remembered all the tricks from my IKEA days.

The glittery vinyl I bought to make the leash and collar was a challenge. I bought it based on color (it matched my cardigan perfectly) and not the application (it was iron on vinyl). Not a great choice, but after a few tries of cutting it with the machine, I ended up cutting it mostly by hand. Then it dawned on me that I had no way to temporarily attach it to the skirt. I considered straight pins (painful) or safety pins but I was planning on wearing my tulle skirt underneath the dress for more volume, I was afraid that any type of pins would snag that skirt. Hmm…

Years ago, I came across a tip to make your cutting mat sticky again by using Quilt Basting Spray, so I tested that out on a scrap of the material and stuck it on my dress and it worked! I wasn’t sure about the longevity of this solution, but I left the tester on overnight and it was pretty adhered the next day. I then pulled some of it off and it came off with a little bit of effort, so I figured that the leash would at least survive the party.

Anyway, I finished the dress just in time for the party, threw on some fake glasses, my neck scarf, fake saddle shoes, apparently borrowed my hairstyle from a shih tzu and had a blast dancing to the oldies with my friends. (Excuse the terrible selfie, I really suck at them, but I also usually forget to take a picture, so it is what it is.)