Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mother's Qipao

I admire my mother for so many reasons, including but not limited to the fact that she supported her family as a teenager by working in a garment factory, that she taught me to use a sewing machine, and made the dress of my dreams for my elementary school graduation. She's a gorgeous, strong woman, and when I was a child I used to watch her get dressed up for banquets and hope that one day I would be old enough to wear her dresses. Unfortunately, now that I'm old enough, I've turned into a fashion snob and have no desire to wear 80s dresses. Somehow, they never seem to mention that part in those sentimental YA novels about mother-daughter relationships. Still, there are a couple dresses from before I was born (the 70s fashions are much more acceptable to me) that she's kept, and when I was home last, I came across a silk qipao that I've seen before in her old pictures.

I love how deliciously vintage that couch is. 
These were taken back in Hong Kong. 

The qipao is actually made from a very thin and delicate material and the snaps are starting to pull at the silk a bit, but is otherwise in very good condition. I'm not usually a fan of pink and purple together, but I tried it on anyway.

I tried for the whole standing near a window thing. 
Also I didn't iron it beforehand. 
And I don't have awesome silver stilettos. 
So yeah, Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I celebrated by stealing your dress for some pictures. 

I love that I'm actually old enough now to wear this dress (she also found her wedding reception dress, but it's too late for me to wear that to get married in!), but I'm still sad that my favorites of her old clothing are long gone. Which brings me to my next long-term project (and it's going to a looooong one, since I'm in no hurry, I just like the idea of it): making my own versions of my mom's wardrobe from the 70s! I've got the wide-legged trousers covered, and there are a couple of bohemian-ish dresses that I love. Good thing there's no shortage of 70s patterns in my stash...

42 comments:

  1. Your mom is beautiful and I can see how much you look like her. Beautiful qipao (never heard of that before, but have seen many of them, now I know the proper word for that style, thanks!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I was younger, I wanted with all my heart to look like her when I grew up, so that's so nice to hear! And yes, qipao (Mandarin) is the term for the high-necked, collared dress with the side slits. It's also called a cheongsam (the Cantonese name).

      Delete
  2. wow that dress is beautiful! and good on your mum to keep the clothes too! your new project sounds exciting! Looking forward to it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm impressed that she kept it in relatively good condition when others got thrown out. I probably won't get to this project until the summer when I move back and have access to her photo albums, though!

      Delete
  3. You DO look a lot like your mum. You totally need to recreate the sitting-on-the-couch-touching-up-your-hair photo, that's the best one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha if only we had a 70s-tastic couch for me to recreate that on!

      Delete
  4. Wow! I love it! Recreating your mom's wardrobe sounds like so much fun! I have similar memories of my mom's dresses that she would wear to Christmas parties.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't watching one's mother get dressed the best? No wonder why LM Montgomery writes about it in the Anne books!

      Delete
  5. Goodness your Mum is gorgeous and you are so like her. I'm looking forward to seeing the outfits you recreate :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've just been reading the posts you've linked, and your mum is amazing!! She is also gorgeous, and you are so like her. I love the dress you're wearing, and the fact that your mum kept it. My mum threw out all her fab 60s dresses without out any regard whatsoever that she might have two daughters who would fit, and want, them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't she? Whenever she would tell me stories about her childhood I'd be blown away. It's too bad this is one of only two dresses she's kept though...it makes me want to keep all my me-mades, just in case my daughter wants them!

      Delete
  7. I had to look a few times at the photos (before reading the post) just to try to figure if it was you in both photos... hehehe... The new project should be fun. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha that's too funny! There are a couple pictures of her as a teen that look identical to my high school ID, but I think we look a bit more different as adults.

      Delete
  8. i love that you have this dress from your mom and how you both look amazing in it! what great photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I was so excited when I tried it on and it actually fit.

      Delete
  9. Your mom is gorgeous!!! And I love that the curtains match the couch - awesome! I love the idea of remaking your moms wardrobe, and I've been itching for a 70's themed sewing challenge... hmmm :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oddly enough, their bedroom walls now are that same shade of orange...

      It's funny how the 70s is the last "acceptable" fashion decade...what will our kids do when they have to remake our old childhood photos? The 80s/90s = sucks!

      Delete
  10. That dress looks beautiful on you both. Those are killer heels your mother is wearing.
    LOVE the idea of remaking her wardrobe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't those heels amazing? I think they must be what, five inches high, without the added platform in the front that most heels have these days. Her feet are much smaller than mine, though, so I wouldn't be able to fit them even if she kept them!

      Delete
  11. That dress and your mother are so beautiful! And those SHOES! What wonderful photos of your mom - did your dad take them? Despite the wrinkles, the dress still looks great and so do you wearing it! I hope she gets a thrill seeing your versions of her photos. =)

    I want to make a bunch of my mom's clothes from the '60s. I have one photo in particular that has her pictured wearing an amazing turquoise and mustard dress. She laughed when I said I wished she still had it because I would totally wear it! Sadly, she didn't keep any of her cool clothes for me. (But at least there are photos!)

    ~ Brooke

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad did indeed take these (and many many many more) photos of her...he was a bigtime photography fan back then. Good thing, as it means I have all these documented outfit pics!

      Awww, too bad that your mom didn't keep her clothes for you! Let's do it -- let's make our mothers' wardrobes!

      Delete
    2. Sounds like we should do a SewAlong! =)

      (I'm sure you have better photos to go from though!)

      Delete
  12. Those pics of your mum are beautiful!!! What a stunning woman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know!! That's why I totally had a complex growing up!

      Delete
  13. What a cool idea! I'd love to see the inspiration compared to your creation! You and your mom are beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'll definitely be showing the mom version and my version when the time comes!

      Delete
  14. Thats a super neat idea! When we visited my Mom's family last summer I got to see lots of pictures of my Mom when she was growing up. Then my grandma gave me some of her patterns a couple of which are the dresses my Mom is wearing. Guess who had some of the same thoughts as you?

    PS. You're Mom is a stunning lady!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww that's so cool that you could use the exact same patterns! Let's do it!

      Delete
  15. What a great post! Did your mom make any of her clothes in the 70s-80s? . Your mom seems so fabulously glamorous, it'd be awesome if you could share those pics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mom actually made a lot of her clothes in the 70s, which is why I think it would be so fun to make my own versions of her me-mades now! I'll definitely share photos when I get back home and can scan them.

      Delete
  16. Such a beautiful dress! Both your Mum and yourself look very pretty in it :)

    My mum was only a child in the 70's so even if she had kept hold of any of her clothes I would be looking at 80's stuff too, although I'm more of a 40's/50's fan than 60's/70's anyway. A lovely idea to recreate some of her clothing from old photos <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your mom's dress looks great on you! So sweet :)!

    ReplyDelete
  18. My mom is 83 and I still remember her dresses that she wore to dances and her Chanel No. 5 perfume that she always wore for special occasions. I vaguely remember her 60's dresses. I'm glad my dad took pics from the 40's to present.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ah, I love this post. And I love that project idea -- what a wonderful way to combine your creative passion with a terrific tribute to your mom. Also, so many things about those photos are deliciously vintage! The floor was the first thing I noticed!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Awesome photos of your mom! And what a lovely dress!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh Cindy this is such a lovely post! Your mom is such a beauty and you look exactly like your young mom! :) Love love love this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a beautiful dress, and both you and your mother are simply stunning! Your mum sounds like an amazing woman and I love the idea of paying tribute to her by recreating her garments. I can't wait to see them come to life.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a beautiful dress! Your mum was beautiful and you are so like her! I love how she has posed for photos LONG before that was the norm.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What a gem to keep! I love vintage Qipao dresses....something personal and unique. And you look just as lovely as your glamorous mum wearing it!
    May
    www.walkinginmay.com

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to tell me your thoughts! I appreciate reading them and I try to reply to most, if not all, comments, especially when they are questions. I ask that you keep your comments polite, and if you're a spammer, don't bother because your comment will just be deleted! Also, if you're commenting on a post that's more than two weeks old, it will be moderated.