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Girls Qi Pao (Chinese Dress) Free Pattern and Sew Along

January 13, 2014

Welcome to the first sew-along of the new year! The first sew-along will not be from my Japanese sewing books collection, but a long overdue project that I’ve been meaning to do for my other blog Cotton Candy. The Girls’ Qi Pao (pronounced ch’i-p’ao), also known as the Cheongsam or the Chinese Dress.

I made this particular dress last year as part of racial harmony day celebrations in school, and posted it on my Cotton Candy blog. It was requested by a number of readers who wanted to make this for their girls. I got the patterns drafted but never had time to get around to actually making it again. Then someone reminded recently that Chinese New Year was approaching so I better hurry up! I’ve just finished putting the patterns together, and now I just need to sew, take photographs (and take a video if I can) of the steps, which I will do so over the next few days as part of the sew-along.

Terms of use : All of the patterns I created are free for personal use only, that means, you can’t use it or modify it to make products for sale. If you want to share the source of the pattern, please credit and link it directly to my website. Thank you for respecting my work!

Read this first!!!

I have to emphasize that I have never actually learned how to make the Qi pao in the traditional tailor’s way. So what I’ve done here may not be the most “correct” way of sewing it. My attachment of the collar is definitely not textbook, but I like to do it this way because I don’t get extra stitch lines at the base of the collar lining, nor is there a need to hand stitch (you will know what I mean when we get to sewing the collar.)

– The patterns I have drafted are based on the sizes in (Metric Pattern Cutting for Children’s Wear and Babywear). I will attach the size chart in the post tomorrow for your reference. The sizing is based on height and average proportions as provided in the book. The ages for the corresponding heights given in the book are approximated based on average data, so when deciding which size to make, it will be better to take measurements of your child rather than following the height dimension alone.

– Also know that this is a midi dress dress (ends middle of calves) and also quite fitting. It is not tight-fitting like the original ladies version, as I have added some ease for the comfort of children but neither is it meant to be baggy or shapeless. As for the length, you can adjust it as you see fit.

– Because the textbook proportions may not be perfect for everyone, I suggest you make a muslin / test piece out of cheap fabric first to test for fit and make adjustments, especially if you are going to use expensive fabric.

– The younger children may not like the fitting collar, so you can want to modify the collar a little or move the decorative buttons lower down (lying on the bodice instead of the collar as shown in my photo) so that it is not too restrictive.

– I will be making the dress in Chinese brocade but you can also make it in silk/cotton, or any other fabric you fancy. Get creative and have fun!

Sew-Along Schedule

Day 1 ( 14 Jan, Tuesday)- Download PDF patterns, assembly of PDF patterns and Preparation of Materials.
Day 2 ( 15 Jan, Wednesday) –   Sewing Part 1
Day 3 ( 16 Jan, Thursday) – Sewing Part 2

Please join me in the sew-along! Or bookmark this page for future sewing reference if you don’t have time to join in now. I will be adding links to the above scheduled posts as we go along, so you can always access all the necessary pages from this main page. That’s all for today. See you tomorrow for the sew-along!

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  • Reply Marisa January 14, 2014 at 7:05 am

    It looks lovely – how much fabric do you think I’d need to make one for a 5-year-old?

  • Reply erin January 14, 2014 at 10:04 am

    It’s so pretty!

  • Reply Naii January 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I’ll try it, thanks for your work!

  • Reply Cindy January 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Hooray! I can’t wait for the sew-along! We will be going back to Malaysia for Chinese New Year this year and I really want to make Little M some cheongsam!

  • Reply Lida January 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Intentaré coserlo…parece precioso…gracias

  • Reply Marion January 18, 2014 at 12:10 am

    very very nice! it´s so pretty…

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    […] I just found this Japanese Sewing Book website.  It’s all about Japanese sewing books (go figure).  It includes translation help, sewalongs, and free pattern downloads! […]

  • Reply Project Run & Play Week 1 | Irons In The Fire September 25, 2014 at 12:12 am

    […] I dug through every reference to a child’s pattern that might reflect the Asian styling of this dress and I found several beautiful options, but none that were perfect. Also, as previously stated, I had already run through my allowance for sewing stuff by this point, so I was contemplating trying to create my own pattern. Then I found this blog. This woman had created a PDF pattern and had done the instructions including video walk-throughs for the whole process! She has posted her dress pattern for free on her blog!! While the pattern was for a dress, the neckline was perfect for my purposes and it would be a cinch to shorten it into a tunic type blouse. […]

  • Reply Ruby Tan January 13, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Thank you for sharing the girl’s qipau sewing pattern. I was looking to make one for my daughter, Naomi, who will be 5 in July. It came out very nice. I added a short sleeve and lengthen the dress by 2 inches. She loves it so much.

    Thank you

  • Reply Let’s sew a Girls Qi Pao for CNY – Today's Parents January 14, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    […] We found a wonderful website about sewing by Yifarn who lives in Singapore and her biggest hobby is to sew for her two little girls. The creations that she sews are beautiful. She offers free sewing patterns on her website and tutorials on how to sew. Since CNY is coming up and we love all the pretty Cheongsam dresses out there, why not sew one for your girl itself. Yifarn shows you how to on her website. Just follow the link and start sewing Free sewing Pattern – Girls Qi Pao […]

  • Reply Chinese New Year Sewing 2016 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics January 31, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    […] of you interested in making your own cheongsams/qipao, you can follow my free tutorial here -> There are free patterns and also a link to a video tutorial on […]

    • Reply Sara Houghton December 5, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      I am so glad I have found your blog – my daughter would like me to make this dress with a gathered skirt for her 1 year old daughter. Do you have a scaled down version for a much smaller child? I really like the zipper at the back, but am a little daunted by the collar. Can you give me some guidance, as I am a tentative sewer.

      • Reply Japanese Sewing Books December 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm

        Hi Sara, I will be releasing the patterns with sleeve, a-line variation and also detailed instructions for making it with a back opening. It will be launched soon, in a week or two and I will announce it here on my blog so please wait for it. Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Ivy Sam February 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    love your work and thank you, thank you for the pattern and sewing guide. I had a rough experience with a slasegirl when I was trying to buy a cheongsam for my little girl. This is such a lovely idea, to sew one for her myself. Will invite you to take a look at my efforts if it’s good enough!

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  • Reply Throwback Thursday – Free Chinese Dress / Qipao pattern for girls | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics January 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    […] from his business trip to China. I finally understood how it worked and so created a free pattern (click here for the free pattern) and launched it in January 2014, plus sewing video tutorials (click here to watch the videos on […]

  • Reply Cheryl May 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    My granddaughter is a bit on the chunky side , but I would still love to make her one . Since she is a girly girl that live Chinese styles (martial arts as well) I know she would love it.

    • Reply Japanese Sewing Books May 20, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      You can try a larger size (use the chest size to decide which size to make) and then shorten the length if it is too long.

  • Reply Jinq June 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Please share to me, many thanks.
    My daughter is 110cm now. ^_^

  • Reply Launch of Porcupine Patterns – Girls Qipao Pattern sizes 2-12 | Japanese Sewing, Pattern, Craft Books and Fabrics December 21, 2017 at 2:24 pm

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  • Reply Cindy Anderson February 4, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Can someone help me find the beautiful colored frogs used on this dress shown. I can’t find them online anywhere and here in MN I can’t find the pretty colored ones in the store.
    Appreciate your help!

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