Poodle Skirt: When Daddy Sewed

This week for #TellAMemoryTuesday, I’m taking a break from the chronological order. Next week we’ll be back on track with our move to Plainfield, New Jersey. Today we travel back to the time when I was a little girl in elementary school.


The year was 1962, which was memorable in many ways. The Mona Lisa was exhibited in the US for the first time. John Glenn was the first human to orbit the earth. The first Walmart opened its doors.


Johnny Carson became host of the Tonight Show. Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jodi Foster were among the celebrities who were born that year.


It was also the year of Bob Dylan’s debut album. Chubby Checker’s rendition of The Twist had been number 1 on the rock and roll charts and was still very popular. 


Poodle Skirts and a Memory


Poodle skirts, bobby socks and black and white saddle shoes were still worn even though they were first popular in the fifties. I wanted a poodle skirt. What is memorable to me about the year, 1062, is that my dad actually made one for me.


poodle skirt
More examples can be found HERE.


School Days


I was nine years old and in the fourth grade, unaware of most of the goings on in the world outside my little area. That was the year some people may have labeled me the teacher’s pet.


I was the child who wanted to please my teacher, Mrs. Thomas. She was so nice, and I endeared myself to her by staying after school to help in any way I could. She was the den mother for her son’s Boy Scout group, and one day she took me bowling with them. That was so much fun!


Like most children who lived near the school I rode my bike almost every day, and sometimes my dog would follow me later, and I’d see him sitting outside waiting for me after school as I headed for my bike. I wrote about my dog in Memory: A Story from Childhood.


Homemade Clothes


My mother was an accomplished seamstress. She made all my clothes, but I was not very appreciative at the time. One time someone complimented me on my pretty dress. My answer to them was, “It’s not a dress. It’s a skirt and blouse made from one of Aunt Nell’s old dresses.”


I thought since my clothes were homemade they weren’t as good as the store bought ones my friends wore. It made me feel a little inferior. I wanted to fit in and have clothes like every one else. To encourage me Daddy said,

Yours are better quality than the ones they get at the store, because yours are custom made.


[bctt tweet=”In later years I was thankful for Mother’s abilities, because she could make almost anything I described to her.” username=”GaylWright”]


She would even make her own paper patterns to get just what she needed. When I made the announcement that I wanted a poodle skirt, my Dad said,

I’ll bet I could make you one!

That surprised Mother!  As far as she knew, Daddy had never used a sewing machine.


My Dad 


He was off to work every day and often told me he had to “go make a nickel,” which was his way of saying he had to make a living. He served as Operations Manager of the National Biscuit Company, which became Nabisco.


Often on his way home from work he would stop at a fabric shop that would have discounted fabrics. He’d come home with stacks of new material so my mother could make new clothes for us. He sure knew how to pick some pretty colors and designs, but we never dreamed that he would actually make something.



Daddy’s Little Girl


I was always Daddy’s little girl, and I knew that he loved me.  I had two younger brothers and we were all loved. But there is something special about the relationship between a little girl and her doting father. I had no doubt that he could make that skirt.


[bctt tweet=”After all, daddies can do anything, right? ” username=”GaylWright”]


I’m sure my mom must have helped him gather the materials he needed. I do remember seeing him sitting at the sewing machine, and I’m sure I could hardly wait for it to be finished. 


Finally the day came for me to try it on, a beautiful skirt made from a medium blue print fabric with a white poodle appliqued on the front. It fit perfectly, and I loved it!


When my aunt saw it she said,

If you can do that you can also make me a dress.


So he did. As far as I know he had never sewn before and never did again. That skirt was very special to me, because Daddy had made it. Maybe he wanted to prove he could do it. Or maybe he just wanted to do something special for his little girl.


I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the past. How about you? Do you have any childhood memories of someone surprising you? I would love for you to share any memories that come to mind.


4 thoughts on “Poodle Skirt: When Daddy Sewed

  1. Dear Gayl,
    What a sweet gift from your Daddy! It spoke of such love & tenderness from one who was so busy “bringing home a nickel” for his family. It is beautiful that God gave you that precious picture of His own tender love for you. I remember wearing those white gloves that you and your Mother are wearing in the photo! How times have changed. And yet, love remains as firm as ever. Blessings and hugs dear poet/sister/friend! xoxo

    1. Dear Bettie,
      Yes, it was a sweet gift and such a precious memory. Yes, I think that’s why I don’t have trouble seeing God as a Father, because my earthly father loved me so. Of course we had plenty of disagreements, but I never doubted his love for me. Yes, times have changed. We don’t dress up and wear gloves and hats like that any more. 🙂 But it’s true that love is as firm as ever. Blessings, love and hugs right back to you, dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo

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