So it’s been 3 years since I first created my free qipao patterns for girls, first published in January 2014. It’s been downloaded so many times I’ve lost count, hehe partially because when I first uploaded it I didn’t know how to set up a download app to track the downloads.
One thing I have heard very frequently from my readers, is the repeated request for more sizes. The free pattern only came in 4 sizes, I can’t even remember why I picked those 4 sizes. For sure, 2 of them were picked because I had to make them in my daughters’ sizes. At that time I was drawing every single pattern from scratch and it was painfully slow. Until last year where I discovered patternmaking software and learned how to use it
I don’t know if I told this story before, but it’s kind of funny how this qipao pattern even came about. The first time I made this dress (attempted to make actually) was about 10 years ago when I first started sewing and when my eldest was 3. I was inspired by some of the modern hacks to the traditional Qipaos that some designers did for adults. At that time, when Chinese new year came around, all the stores will be decked with these cheap polyester brocade varieties in multi colors, scratchy insides, hot collars and I didn’t want any of that. So I bought some plain red fabric, and I thought hey it was easy, I’ll just slash the front and add some seam allowance and binding. I don’t think I even knew how to make a collar then. But anyway, the funniest point of this story is, I thought the flap opening was enough for the kid to get in and out of. So I sewed the sides down (was really trying to avoid zippers) and just used buttons for the flap. It was quite pretty, except for one thing. She couldn’t get in and out of it! Well, with much struggle she did. I had to wiggle her in, and wiggle her out. So dress fail.
I only got around to making it again in 2014, because this time I have 2 girls to sew for and I couldn’t find a ready made pattern anywhere. So this time I made drafted it on the computer, added a side zip. I actually referred to an actual Qipao that my husband bought (mummy + daughter set) from Shenzhen. I think he was hinting at me to stop trying… heh…. but thanks to his purchase, I finally figured out how to attach the side zip and the rest is history.
Every year end, people start planning their Chinese New Year makes, and then I get some queries again on adding sleeves, how to do the back zip opening that I mentioned casually in one of my posts on my own hacks. When will I add more sizes etc.
So this year, I decided to actually get around to doing something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Create a full range of sizes for the Girls Qipao and also to launch my own PDF pattern store! In fact, I was working on two other patterns while I got reminded by one of my readers that Chinese new year sewing season is coming up, and please do I have a pattern with sleeves for it was cold where she came from. So just like that, I paused work on the other two patterns, and went into this full steam as I didn’t want to miss the sewing frenzy. It’s quite exciting every year to see the makes on my timeline, from people in the local sewing community. I actually documented some of these makes early this year. I hope to see more once I launch this pattern.
So here’s a bit about my new pattern and my new store.
The Girls Qipao pattern comes in 11 sizes. Sizes 2-12. There are 3 variations you can make – Straight, A-line or bodice+skirt. There is the original sleeveless, plus 4 sleeve variations. Short / Long / Cap / Frill. The PDF patterns can be instantly downloaded after purchase and printed at home immediately on A4 or Letter size paper. (I had a number of people emailing me about not being able to print on Letter size paper but this is now possible on my new pattern). You can also bring them to the copy shop to print A0 size if you hate paper piecing!
The 37 page instructions booklet comes with step by step photos, and also links to sewing videos on my YouTube channel. I even created a new video to detail the back opening style because the process for making this is different from the side zip opening style.
This was the first Qipao I made using my own pattern. It is an A-line dress which makes it much easier for the active little ones, you can see many of the testers chose this style because it is so much less restrictive than the traditional straight style. The frill sleeves are also super cute on the little ones!
Without further ado, let’s look at some of the amazing Qipaos created by my tester group!
made by Ivelina
(She had already watermarked her photo and I didn’t want to destroy it by adding one more to the beautiful composition 🙂
Amazing what they could do, most of them in one week! You can do it too! Here’s the link to the new Girls Qipao pattern on my pattern shop Porcupine Patterns
A little bit more about my new pattern shop. Porcupine Patterns. Why Porcupine Patterns? Well, I was looking for a cute name that uses alliteration. My daughter once drew a really cute porcupine so I made her design one for my logo, and added pins to its back like a pin cushion. Cute eh?
Other than the Girls Qipao, I will be moving all the free pattern downloads on my site to this store so that it will be easier for me to track the number of downloads. I know many of you had issues with the download app I am using, because the links expire after a while. With the new shopify downloads the links will not expire, but there is a download limit of 3 times, so do keep your downloaded files safely.
I will be creating a new Facebook group for this Pattern store at https://www.facebook.com/PorcupinePatterns/ where you can be informed of latest pattern launches, GIVEAWAYS, promotions, sales, tester calls, and even share your makes. You can also ask for sewing assistance from other members or myself. If you join this Facebook group, you will get a 10% discount code.
I will still be blogging here on Japanese sewing books. I may use this blog or my FB page to announce of new patterns when it happens but it will still be focused on Japanese sewing books and fabrics, not to worry!
ONE DAY ONLY! As today (21st Dec) is the Launch day of my store, I would like to offer all my Japanese sewing book readers a special 20% discount for supporting me the past 6 years. Please enter JSB20 to code at checkout to claim the discount.
I have 2 big giveaways planned for this pattern release. One is for free printing of the A0 size patterns. That will be held in January as my preferred printing partners are out on vacation at the moment. So I will announce this only in January.
The second, is for those of you who have purchased and made the new version of the Girls’ Qipao pattern. Share your makes on IG or FB and tag #girlsqipao and/or #porcupine patterns to be eligible for a big GIVEAWAY! This giveaway will include fabric, bias, a zip and frog buttons. All you need for your Girls Qipao project!
Our kind and generous sponsor Nekonekofabric will be giving away 2m of nani IRO fabric (Lei nani) that I used for the showcase Qipao as well as matching Frog buttons and bias tape. This giveaway will be announced soon!
this photo is for illustration purposes only. I have two other colors of the same fabric and I need to get matching buttons and zips for so I will repost this giveaway details later on once I have them ready.
Thank you for bearing with me with such a long post! Wishing all of you a very Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Happy Holidays everyone!