#Sewingtheseventies Qipao/Cheongsam

Completing a sewing challenge with over a week to spare…This is sky falling down territory! When saw the #sewingtheseventies challenge by Steely SeamstressSteely Seamstress I really wanted to take part, so it was the best of luck I just happened to be working on a seventies sewing pattern (1972) and my fabric choice was not only vintage…but seventies as anything!!!!! Fate you wanted me to do this post and be apart of this!!

So here’s my entry…

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I’m going to call this dress a qipao rather than a cheongsam. Both are correct, just qipao is the Mandarin way and cheongsam is the Cantonese way. My husband speaks Mandarin so I’m just used to calling it a qipao.

The Pattern

I bought this pattern, Simplicity 5010, on Etsy and I was ummming and ahhing about buying it for months. Firstly, at the grand price of £20 including postage, it would be the most money I have ever spent on a sewing pattern. Secondly, it was from America, with no postal insurance so maybe it wouldn’t even turn up.

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BUT I was in love…with that keyhole neckline. Other qipao sewing patterns just didn’t come close and I’ve wanted to sew a qipao for awhile. I even love it more than the qipao on my make nine list, which was is also gorgeous.

For a bit more information about vintage qipao patterns there is an excellent blog post here by Devine Stitches

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Fitting

I knew the fit on the bust would be perfect, I bought the 34 inch bust pattern specifically so I wouldn’t have to do a bust adjustment, I hate doing those! but I know vintage sizing is still different from todays and I’m a pear so knew the fit wouldn’t be perfect everywhere.

….and as suspected I did need a bit more space on for my bum/hips. I used a really small seam allowance for the back seam so it is baggier then it should be, as I wanted to err on the side of caution. Which was great for my hips but not no much for the waist. I think everything fits except the hips so that’s a pretty easy fitting issue to solve.

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The wind is making it very difficult for you to see the great A line skirt shape but this dress is so comfortable!!

The Fabric

I got this fabric from the sewing weekender fabric swap. Thank you lovely person who donated it!! It’s fabric I would usually say isn’t my style but as soon as I saw it I loved it! and I thought it would be perfect for a qipao when I saw it too!!

I have no idea what it is all I know is it made making those rouleau loops a complete nightmare. It feels quite stiff and synthetic and cuts and sews nicely.

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I am so happy with this dress and am just waiting for sunnier days. My only gripe is how annoying the facings are and I intend to fully line the whole thing next time.

I turned the collar down for these pictures because I was a bit intimidated by how tall the collar was!!  I was planing on making it shorter but now I’m very happy with the length, to see full up collar and more of this dress I have a youtube video up on it.

Happy sewing,

Cleo Pinafore, Tilly and the buttons

From Instagram I knew Cleo was a popular pattern but being at the Knitting and Stitching show a few weeks ago made me realise just how popular Tilly and the Buttons, Cleo Pinafore was. Me and Gabby had ours on…and so did every other person at the show! There was a small army of Cleo wearers!!

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So long overdue and probably a little redundant, here’s my review 😀

The Pattern

The Cleo by Tilly and the Buttons and if you have Instagram you would have probably seen a lot of these already!

It’s a simple, quick sew and so SO comfortable to wear. This was my first make of the year and my sewjo had turned to dust. This Cleo took me three days (I’ve read it take people a few hours) and this sew was purely to fall back in love with sewing again…and it did just the trick. Slowly, with many tea breaks and Netflix on, this pattern came together easily with not much thinking.

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The Fit

This is the second Cleo I’ve sewn and I sewed a straight size 3….which really i shouldn’t. I should have gone between size 3 and 4 at the hips (I’m a pear) but I really like the fit to be tighter at the hips and think it is really flattering. The pattern has enough ease so going for the smaller size doesn’t make it uncomfortable. However, it is a bit of a squeeze getting it over my bum….and if I put on any weight it might not fit….but that’s the gamble I’m willing to take!!!

Changes

I shortened the pattern by 4 inches….I do like a short skirt! After I finished I thought that it might be a little too indecent with the split at the front but I think it’s fine and I don’t feel self conscious.

And not really a change…more of a mistake, I put the dungaree buttons on the wrong place *facepalm* I put them on the marking for the pocket!…Hope it’s not too obvious but D:

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The Fabric

This was some of the fabric I bought back from my trip to Uganda. You have to buy fabric in 6 yard pieces so you might be familiar with it as I gave some to Gabby, I knew she would love the fabric and I love it also, she made a gorgeous skirt. African wax print is glorious to work with. Easy to cut, work with and sew AND the most amazing colours….AND cheap!!! This fabric cost me about the same amount it costs in London £12 for 6 yards. Not sure why I didn’t work with this stuff when I was a beginner….I went with even cheaper, slippery stuff that left me with unwearable monstrosities and made sewing much harder than it needed to be.

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I made no attempt to pattern match. The only place I did bother was on the pockets and even then the pattern is ever so slightly off because I didn’t hand baste it down. I also didn’t overlock the edges. I just used pinking shears and it’s holding up great…This was a very chilled out sew!

I will add African wax print is so stiff! Having the split at the front with this fabric is very useful..I take big strides :p

If you’re interested you can have a look at some of the other fabric I bought back from Uganda in this vlog I did…There are some beauties :p

Happy Sewing

Megan xxxx

#makenine2017

I’ve been avoiding this little corner of internet I created this year (hello Spring!!) and sharing stuff online that the majority of my family doesn’t know left me feeling very, very awkward. However the amazing, amazing words you’ve written to me and the feeling felt cannot be expressed by a small sentence online and I can only say the biggest thank you.

and back to our favourite topic. Sewing!!!

Last years make nine feel kinda flat. Counting I made 4 of them, which is more than I thought I did. However, two are unwearable which is probably why I blanked them from my memory…Looking back the list was thrown together with little thought of practicality or sewing a wardrobe that would work in my day to day life.

I believe in the power of lists and older, *ahem* wiser here’s my list for 2017..

 

By Hand London, Victoria Blazer

I’ve made this pattern before but I want to make it again a different view (the cropped one you can see in the picture). I like everything about this pattern but made the mistake of making the sleeveless view the first time round and it is too cold to be going out in a sleeveless blazer most of the time!

Deer and Doe, Lupin Jack

Another jacket, which will fill a gap I have in my wardrobe for a Spring jacket. At the moment I go straight from a Winter coat to coatless purely because I have no go between.

Closet Case Files, Carolyn Pyjamas

I desperately need Pyjamas. I can’t even remember a time I bought/owned pyjamas. I’ve been surviving off big t-shirts and very old leggings for over a decade and after stealing my husbands pyjamas for a weekend I realised I need to have a set of pyjamas in my life.

Kommatia, Cropped trousers

The thought of having a staple pair of flattering trousers is a dream. I’m turning away from dresses and skirts ,which used to be my uniform, to just wanting to live in trouser.

Butterick, B6285 Wrap Top

Again I’m in need of tops. I have enough summer clothes and this year is gonna be all about separates and layering.

Simplicity, 1950’s Qipao

This is the only really impractical make on the list. I love Qipao’s. I own a few but would love to be able to make my own. I was ecstatic when this pattern was re-released, I had been stalking the original on Etsy for a year, and bought it immediately.

 

Simple Sew, Cara Jumpsuit

I joined the Simple Sew Bloggers Network and this make jumpsuit has been on the list for a few months…oops. That being said I have really wanted to make this jumpsuit as I love the how easy jumpsuits are to wear. The wonderful Eleanor from nelnanandnora gave me the one she made it’s really a lovely jumpsuit.

Sew Over It, Heather dress

I’ve wanted this dress ever since I saw it as a class about two years ago AND FINALLY IT’S MINE MWHAHAHAHAHAHA and yeah, it looks like a really comfortable and practical dress 🙂

Tilly and the Buttons, Cleo

I’ve made this one!! That’s one off the list. I got some African wax print which was perfect for this pattern and this was my first make for 2017. A super easy sew that really got my sewjo going.

I’ve got a massive list of patterns I want to sew through and this year I plan to sew fearlessly. Vintage patterns..let me at you. Difficult fabrics..I’m coming for you. And new skills..you will be learnt!!!

Happy sewing

xx

 

 

Kommatia Boxy Knit Tunic the Second

This top makes me incredibly happy. The fabric was of course a total impulse, love at first sight, buy…after swearing off pale pink.

I’ve made this top before (you can see here) but am still shocked by how big a difference thicker knit fabric makes.

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The Fabric

Spoonflower has been on my radar for awhile, I would say it’s the most known custom printing fabric company around. There are SO many designs that are absolutely gorgeous but reviews have been mixed and the price is steep so I stuck with browsing!!  However, it was the Kokeshi  Dollhead Blossom fabric that finally made me bite the bullet and actually make a purchase.

My biggest concern and what I’ve read around is that the print fades off quite easily. I’ve washed this a few times and it’s holding perfectly but only time will tell. For the moment I can’t complain.

Still, I’m not overly impressed with the quality, for a £15 plus a meter fabric (I chose organic cotton) the feel was not the luxury I was expecting for that price and this stretched so badly, even with my walking foot. It was the worst knit I’ve ever worked with and if you look at the hem on the sleeves you can see the stretch. A design has to really take my breath away before I but from them away

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Despite this expensive fabric choice I’m actually quite a cheap person. So in a misdirected way to save money I only bought a meter of the fabric. What can you do with a meter of fabric?? With such an obvious print!! Definitely not a loose batwing top, as I found out….after cutting out most of this top. Luckily I cut out the front first, so the hunt through the stash was on to find a fabric for the back of the top and thankfully this black fabric worked! I was a bit worried it would look like the mistake it was.

However, I think it worked perfectly and intensifies the print and the black hair of the dolls. It’s definitely a mistake turned good.

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I just love this print and plan on making black leggings, from the same fabric used for the back of the top, to make this my ultimate I’m-not-leaving-the-house outfit.

The pattern

It’s all in my first post but to sum it up, love the pattern and you can get it here.

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The fit

I am slightly astounded about what a difference a thickness is knit makes. The batwing feature of this top is so much more obvious in a medium weight knit and the sleeves look much better. The  actual top doesn’t fair so well, it doesn’t hang nicely and

In the next version of this top (yep, it’s looking to be my to go to pattern) the sleeves are gonna be in a medium weight knit and the top pattern pieces will be in a light weight knit to give it that nice drape.

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Even with such little fabric at hand, I did have plan for the dolls heads. I did want the lips in the middle of the neckband and the upside down heads first. Which still looks a bit haphazard!!

Happy sewing and sorry I missed everyone who went to SewBrum, just realised before I bought the train ticket up that I was going to be in Paris that weekend, which can’t complain about! but I really did miss a good old sewing meet up.

Meg xxx

 

 

 

My August Makes Vlog

I didn’t know if I promised too much in my last video but I’ve never been more resolved to stick to my sewing list and sewing deadline ever! Here are my results, it’s a mixed bag but each make came with a multiple of lessons learned.

I do like to ramble on about patterns so each make is getting it’s own blog post too. I have so much to share and for the first time have a backlog of items to blog about. So expect a flurry of posts!

Hope you enjoy this latest vlog, I tried to get fancy with it!

Happy sewing and have a good week!

Meg xx