Monday, April 28, 2014

Bye Bye Birdie, Iconic Story Skirt

 You can't do a play set in the 1950s without someone asking, "Are you going to make Poodle Skirts?" 

I had to do at least ONE poodle!
 Back in the 50s, they were called story skirts or just circle skirts.  Some people will even call every circle skirt that has an appliqued design a poodle skirt whether the design is a poodle or something else. The most famous one is, of course the poodle, originally designed by Juli Lynne Charlot.  The reason that the circle skirt became a huge trend, because you didn't buy them in a store, you made your own!  The only limit on the design was your imagination.*
Each appliqued design is meant to tell a simple story, such as, I took my poodle for a walk.  The stories in the skirts above and below come from the song "Telephone Hour."  The purple skirt on the left features a humming bird, as in, "What's the word, humming bird?"  The orange and black phones are pretty self explanatory.  These two actresses sang across stage to each other, "Hi Nancy!"  "Hi, Alice!"
The story in this skirt is from the line, "What's the tale, Nightingale?"  I know that nightingales are not red but I used poetic license.  This skirt was my very favorite.  It looked amazing when the dancer wearing it would twirl; it really seemed like the birds were flying.  The black and white was Pam's idea since we couldn't settle on which color to use.   
  The last skirt I made was the counting sheep skirt.  The story is that it was about 2 a.m., opening night was the next day (or that technically that evening) and I was really tired when I made it!

A circle skirt is an easy project for a beginner, each skirt is 360 degrees around.  (The girls wearing  them loved twirling around.)  In order to make one, you need a square of fabric that is 72" x 72".  The green skirt with the orange phone was made out of a shower curtain that happened to be exactly that size!  We had a huge roll of wide, black elastic for each of the waistbands and pretty much every waistband was put on by Taylor our student crew member.  She had a real knack for pinning and sewing them on!

*It turns out that, just like any trend that becomes wildly popular, circle skirts were eventually sold in stores.  Read more about it here 

1 comment:

T@PoppyPlacePdx said...

What a fun project and such pretty designs :)

Even in the photo it looks like the birds are flying, gorgeous :)

Hope you caught up on your sleep :)

Have a wonderful week, cheers, T. :)

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