Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Bumps Along the Way

Half sewn, half pinned, one whole hot mess.

Making this qipao is both easier and just as hard as I expected it to be.

Easier: I've never done fisheye darts in a woven before, and I had heard that they were tricky. Thankfully, I was pointed in the direction of a couple of excellent resources: 1) Sherry's excellent and comprehensive dart tutorial, and 2) this Threads video tutorial. And good thing, too, as I had no idea that the middle part (the fattest part of the diamond) wasn't actually supposed to be pointy. Thankfully, Sherry set me straight and I was able to make a nice smooth curve with no angular bits. Also, thanks to the Threads video, I am never tying off my darts again. I've tried the backstitching thing before and inevitably sew off the the fabric or out of the dart allowance, so I've always settled for tying them...no longer!

Weird random fading at the top.
Just as hard, but not technically the qipao's fault: I cut my upper front piece wrong side up! I only noticed after I'd underlined it that the color fades a bit; it's actually flipped. Thankfully, I had just enough fabric to cut out another piece. Also, I realized that I didn't make the neckline close enough to the neck, so I had to piece together a little triangle to my front piece. Thankfully, the print is crazy enough that it's not super-noticeable. I'll trim it down when I'm ready to actually attach the collar. Which reminds me, I should go interface that collar piece before Walnut lovingly deposits some hair onto it. One of my earlier skirt waistbands has a few of his hairs permanently sandwiched between the fabric and the fusible interfacing. At least I know where to get some of his DNA if pet cloning becomes a thing? Um. Right. 

Didn't I warn you it was a hot mess?

I've got one side seam done (it took several tries to get the curves just right), and am now trying to figure out how to do the other, more complicated side. I'm not entirely sure how the buttons/snaps/zipper all come together. I might just end up calling my mom to ask her. I've pinned the whole thing onto myself a couple times, though, and I'm getting excited! I really like the fabric, even if it's not silk brocade, and a sheath dress is just so flattering, even if I never sit down in this one. It's hard to know how much ease to leave for sitting. The last time I wore a qipao was a year and half ago, for my wedding banquet, and at the time I wasn't exactly paying attention to things like fit and ease.

Not entirely a traditional one, either, so I don't even have hazy memories of the side closure business. Also, we managed to go the entire night without any picture of only the two of us, so apologies to the auntie whose face/body I cut off.


  1. Lovely pic. Your creations always turn out stunning despite the nightmares you endure during construction.

  2. Here's a thought for hip ease: sit down and measure diagonally around your hips and over your lap (if that makes any sense...) otherwise I think 2-3" is the minimum usually given. Good for you for rolling with the punches! :)

    1. Hmm, it might be too late for this dress, seeing as how I'm cut it out already...I did try pinning it and sitting down, and the material has some a teeny bit of stretch to it, so hopefully it's okay. *crosses fingers* Thanks for the tip, though; I'll be sure to keep it in mind for future garments! I don't know if you can really clarify in writing, but do you mean diagonally as in at a 45-degree angle from the horizontal of the seat, when viewed from the side? At any rate, I really appreciate all the sewing help you've been to me!

    2. Yeah, I think you've got it... so it's going around the same general area as you'd be measuring if you were standing, but while you're sitting.


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