I think anyone who has ever made their own qipao/cheongsam has drawn some inspiration from the movie In the Mood for Love, which has Maggie Cheung wearing several beautiful, non-traditional pieces. Adey of the Sew Convert and Juebejue of Petite Republic both spotlighted several of the costumes from the movie, and they are indeed fantastic. Unfortunately, I have never seen that movie, nor, I must confess, do I have any particular desire to. But I can still channel the look in my pictures, right? My husband and I waited until sunset to do our shoot on the top of the parking structure, and I think he captured the golden glow quite nicely!
|It's almost like a heart on my back! And on my butt, but let's ignore that part.|
I'm not going to say too much more about the construction, since I've already blathered on about it at length, but I'll add a bit about the fit that I didn't notice before. The side zipper tends to produce an awkward bubble unless I keep tugging the dress down, but it's not too big of a deal, since, as my husband thankfully reminds me when I'm ready to relegate a less-than-perfect dress to the back of the closet, no one will notice except me. And other seamstresses, but that's beside the point. I am happy to report that I can sit down in the dress, although since it's thin cotton it does wrinkly something fierce. I tried to strike a balance between being able to walk, and being able to wear this to church, in determining the length of the side slits. None of that scary up to the underwear slittage for me, thank you.
|You can see the awkward bubble under my arm. You can see the awkward face I'm making, too.|
|That slit's not scandalous at all, right? Although the non-matching side seams might be.|
Fabric: 2 yards of 40" 100% cotton for the shell (barely enough, with my mistakes!), pre-washed muslin for the lining
Notions: 1 package purple bias tape, several tiny snaps, a 14" cream polyester zipper
Hours: Hoo boy. I'm going to say...at least 15.
Techniques used: Making frog closures! Which was the whole point of the original Sew Weekly challenge that inspired this dress -- the challenge of buttonholes. Do azn buttonholes count? Also, I don't know that this is a technique per se, but I've never done so much darting/fitting as I sew. This dress also marks the first time I've sewn/used snaps. Ever. I love them so much; I think I'm going to try replacing the side zipper with snaps next time I come across a vintage pattern with a side closure.
Will you make this again? Not for a long time. By which point all the pattern modifications I made probably won't be relevant anymore. But really, I don't see needing a whole lot of qipao, even if they are made of non-brocade.
Total cost: $20 or so, since I don't remember the exact price of the cotton. But all the materials for this came from my stash, so I still feel pretty good about it.
Final thoughts: My husband says I look like a less scandalous version of Chun Li. Um. I guess I'll take that? Anyway, while it's still not perfect, I'm really pleased with the level of fit I was able to achieve for a self-drafted sheath dress. Also, it felt so great to be able to figure out the top/side portion by myself! After a week of wibbling, I now have a pretty decently fitting new qipao!
|In the mood for...pushing down this wall.|