Girls Qi Pao / Chinese Dress sew-along Pattern variation

I have been seeing lots of YOUR creations on my Facebook page and I can tell you it’s been wonderful seeing them.  Now it’s my turn to show you mine. First of all, I said I was going to sew on Chinese brocade, and I did. I made one dress but I was not happy with it. Firstly, it was hard to sew with, even though I made sure I used the correct needle. The fabric is polyester and frays like crazy, and the binding didn’t catch properly at certain points. Which is probably the reason why they use such thick binding/piping in the mass produced ones. The fabric also puckered along straight seams and I just didn’t have time or patience to try it out on dress number two. So I fell back on my favourite fabric, the same that I made the first dress from. But this time I made a variation to the pattern. I chopped off the pattern at the waistline, and added a flare skirt.

qipao2

Instead of a front opening, I decided to sew the front panels fixed in place, and used a concealed/invisible zip on the back.

qipao1

I stitched in the ditch at the edge of the bias and the fabric, to secure the front panel in place.

qipao3

This is what it looks like from the inside, the inner flap doesn’t have to be so wide/deep now that it is going to be stitched in place, but I was too lazy to cut it off after sewing.

qipao4

 

To make this variation, following the following steps.

  1. For the back pattern piece, instead of cutting on fold, I added a one cm seam allowance to the centre back line. This gave me the extra allowance to fit a zip in. I then measured the waist position on my daughter using the back neck point as a reference, and marked it on the back bodice piece. Remember to add one cm seal allowance to the waist line for attaching the skirt.
  2. For the front bodice, just match the waistline mark with the back piece, making sure the pattern is aligned at the underarm seams.
  3. Cut out the pieces and sew the top bodice as usual.
  4. Combine the two front pieces by laying flat and sewing the top outer flap onto the inner flap, following the curved edge of the bias. Stitch in the ditch.
  5. Measure the width of the front bodice where you cut off at the waist, mine was forty cm. Multiply that figure by two, and cut out a piece of fabric in that width. For the length of the skirt, it is up to you. Mine was eighty cm wide by fifty cm long.
  6. Do the same for the back bodice to determine the width of the back skirt panels.
  7. Sew the side seams of the skirt, make gathers and attach to top bodice.
  8. Attach the concealed/zipper starting from the back neck point down past the waist line, stopping approximately ten cm below the waistline. The actual end point is up to you since it depends on what size you are making.
  9. Finish up the back seam and hem, sew on decorative buttons. And you are done.

P.S. Note how I had to spell out all the dimensions? The entire row of numbers on my mac keyboard is not working. :/

Anyway, here are some pictures of my brocade version if you are interested. It still looks pretty good in pictures… lol…

qipao5

qipao6

qipao7

qipao8

Off to go visiting today. Happy Chinese New Year to those of you who are celebrating it. Have a good weekend :D

 

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2 Responses

  1. Marisa says:

    They’re both lovely, but I understand your frustration with the brocade! I’m pretty sure I won’t be using it again!! Your flared skirt variation looks great – will have to give it a try one day. I’m all for the zippered back opening too :)

  2. Sheila I says:

    Hi, I just happen to find this in a web search I was doing. We are American but live in NE China. I love the cotton dress. Very pretty. Here they would do the zipper on the side. I have both fitted and flared dresses with it that way.
    Your brocade looks just like we would get there. They are almost never perfect. I only get the cheap ones, like that, for DD to wear to school. Her fancy CNY one, this year, Was just amazing though. Little puffed sleeves. and more of an a-line cute.
    I have some sweet cotton ones for summer. I like them with more of a sweetheart neckline where the collar stands away from the back and sides then lays flat in the front.
    I need to learn to make pipping so I can make some for us from wonderful quilting fabric.
    Thanks for showing your dresses!

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