#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,

Sewing Weekender Swap Haul

The week I heard my scholarship to China had fallen through because not enough people had applied, was the week the Foldlines Sewing Weekender was announced. The stars aligned. I bought my tickets at once and so did a lot of other people. That day was impulse buy day for many UK sewers! There was such a demand and the event was such a success that I have a feeling more will definitely be taking place. Which is brilliant because I know many more people wanted to come.

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There have been blog posts from Lucy from Sew Essential Rach (Rach Against the Machine), Crafty Clyde, Charlotte (English Girl at Home), Ginger Thread GirlFehr Trade, The Fabric Wangler and What Corrine Did…I think that’s every blog post..

..and if you still want more Gabby did an amazing vlog  capturing some of the atmosphere. We were 50 woman, who love sewing….and were crazily excited about being with so many other people who loved sewing. Imagine a sewing comic con. We were all very passionate about our hobby!!!!

If you notice there’s not a single moment where I’m captured sat down sewing. I’m eating, hanging out at the fabric/pattern swapping area and chatting. That is a realistic portrait of how I spent the weekend.

Photographic evidence.

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I imagine lots of people can relate when I say, I knew zero people who sewed when I started sewing. Meet ups are the stuff of my dreams and how I met lots, if not all, of my sewing friends. I mingled and talked and relished in the fact that everyone was so open, friendly and willing to talk sewing.

Now, I’m gonna get down to it and tell you about my finds from the swap. Nothing amplifies the phrase to me ‘one mans rubbish is another mans treasure’ quite like a good old sewing meet up swap!

Here are the larger pieces of fabric I got, there seems to be a theme going on. For some reason that day blue was speaking to me! and vintage flower prints. No idea what I will do with this lot but I do love looking at it.

 

Now for the smaller pieces. Again, another theme going on here! These pieces are quite tiny but because of that I have less choices and more on an idea of what I’ll make with each bit. The first fabric I’m gonna try and make a pair, of very tiny, shorts. The middle one is maybe enough for a scarf and the last piece, which is jersey, I can get a small top out of.

 

I tried to be as restrained as possible with the patterns, when I first started sewing patterns/Burda magazines were my biggest impulse buy and I am very aware that I have more patterns than I will ever need…but oh the possibilities…

These two vintages pieces caught my eye. They are so pretty and I can imagine swishing around in the left one and as for the one on the right, I can never say no to a 60’s pattern in my size. The sixties are my favourite decade.

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Ever since Rosabella mentioned the Overture Set on one her vlog I knew I needed this pattern. I was gonna buy the magazine, which it came with, but luckily someone brought it to the swap. I love it, oversized clothes are my preferred silhouette and I’m looking through the stash so I can get this made as soon as possible! The other pattern looks like a nice staple dress…yeah, not as enthused about that one but it’s got potential.

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These two last patterns are part of a project I have mulling around in my brain. I want to find my perfect shirtdress. Making wardrobe staples is my next big challenge, now my sewing is beyond a hope-this-works-out level, and I really want to find what makes me feel confident and comfortable and I think shirt dresses are the way to go.

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I wish I could thank everyone personally for their donations! I am really grateful to get such lovely stuff as I’m trying, and sometimes failing, at buying as little fabric as possible this year.

If anyone is going to Sew Brum I’ll see you there..maybe…more than a hundred people are coming, so if you spot me say hi!  🙂

Meg xx

 

Shirtwaist Dress, Gertie New Book for Better Sewing

This is me playing catch up with a make that’s a few months old. I recently wore it out to a Nigerian musical Wakaa and the amount of African wax print outfits on show made me release that my stash/wardrobe is not yet complete without some more of these gorgeous fabrics.

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The Pattern

Not being too much of a pre 1960’s vintage girl Gertie was never one of my sewing blog crushes but I was making this with Gabby who has all her books. We chose this pattern from her book Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, I think a shirtdress is such a wardrobe staple and I really like effect the shirring on this one had.

Plus, trying shirring and making buttonholes, new techniques I hadn’t tried before.

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Fabric

THIS FABRIC. Hands down the best fabric I’ve bought in my short sewing life.  I initially was going to go with a more sensible fabric but I just kept on coming back to the chickens.

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Ever since I’ve been visiting Walthamstow market, Goldhawk Road fabric shops have been upgraded to being on the pricey side. Desperate not to spend too much money and too lazy to pop down to Walthamstow,  I took a tip from a friend that the market there has super cheap fabric shops. So I went into Shepherds Bush market, just next to Goldhawk Road. The prices are just as low as he said and I got 6 metres (the fabric was pre cut) of this for £9. Bargain.

Alterations

I made a size 12 (if I remember correctly…it was a while ago)..and, for me, the proportions on the sleeves and bodice are really off. The shoulders (and if you read my blog regularly, you know I have a thing about shoulders) where so puffed out it turned this pear shaped girl into a square. I took away at least an extra 5cm off the upper sleeve.

Also the pockets. The pockets are far too low and even Gabby (we made the same size)  who is taller then me (so must have longer arms!?!) struggled with this low pocket placement. We both brought the pockets up but I didn’t do it enough for it to be comfortable when putting my hands in my pocket.

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If you are attempting to have a go with this dress Heather does an extremely detailed post on how she tackled the sleeve/bodice alterations here, which are definitely more helpful than what I can provide. I did a lot of guesstimations…and no toile..bad sewer me.

I’m probably going to take off the sleeves and have it as a sleeveless dress and I hope that will solve a lot of the issues I have with it.

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This is the original dresses length,I’m 5’3, I was going to shorten the hem but these days (since I crossed over to the 26-35 category) I’m liking the longer look. When I put on the pearl earrings and necklace my mum said I looked like I came from the 60’s and I feel in love with this dress.

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Now, newly opening chicken shop, thank you! 5 minutes after leaving my house I saw this wall, shouted ‘CHICKENS!!’ Tried to ignore the many people walking past and became the ultimate chicken woman I was apparently destined to become.

This is another vlogged make and as you can see on Wednesdays we wear stripes.

Thanks for popping in and reading,

Meg x