#Sewingtheseventies Qipao/Cheongsam

Completing a sewing challenge with over a week to spare…This is sky falling down territory!

When I saw the #sewingtheseventies challenge by Steely Seamstress, I really wanted to take part. It was pure coincidence that I just happened to be working on a seventies sewing pattern (1972) and my fabric choice was not only vintage…but as seventies as anything! Fate, you wanted me to do this post and be apart of this!!

Here’s my entry…

 

Megan is standing against a fence. She is wearing her handmade qipao. The fabric has a floral print..

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 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 a while. 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

 

Megan is standing against a wooden fence. She is wearing her handmade qipao. The fabric has a floral print. Megan is standing sideways and she is looking down at the ground.

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! However, I know vintage sizing is still different from todays and I have a pear shape. I knew the fit wouldn’t be perfect everywhere.

….and as suspected I did need to add a bit more space for my bum/hips. I used a really small seam allowance for the back seam so it is baggier then it should be. 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.

 

Megan is standing against a wooden fence. She is wearing her handmade qipao. The fabric has a floral print. Megan is looking down at the ground.

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 a fabric I would usually say isn’t my style but as soon as I saw it, I loved it! I thought it would be perfect for a qipao.

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

 

Megan is standing against a wooden fence. She is wearing her handmade qipao. The fabric has a floral print. Megan is looking down at the ground.

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 the full collar and more of this dress, you can watch my Youtube video below:

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