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Ladies Sewing Patterns Porcupine Patterns

New Pattern Release – Ladies Qipao (New and improved!)

November 3, 2018

New pattern release in my Porcupine patterns store! Ok at first glance it doesn’t seem like a new release since I’ve had a free pattern for quite a while, but let me take the opportunity, since this is a blog post, to explain the differences between this and the free pattern.

The first ladies Qipao pattern I did, was simply made because I wanted to make one for myself after making so many for the kids. Those of you who do pattern drafting should know, that drafting for ladies is much more complicated than drafting for kids because of the curves involved. I looked everywhere for a pattern but found a drafting diagram from a textbook instead, and it gave very general instructions (no mention of sizing) for the construction of the Qipao. The strange thing was also that it used absolute numbers for the construction of the sloper, such as the shoulder drop, positioning of the darts etc. The rest of the measurements were based on personal measurements but mainly the bust waist and hip. At that time I just wanted to test it out, and I think by some stroke of luck and because I was quite average in size and height, it kind of worked out, although now that I look at the pictures, I can’t believe how ill-fitting it was. Lol…

So last year, when I learnt how to make a proper sloper using personal measurements, and that’s when I started offering the custom Qipao pattern at the beginning of this year.

However, the tedious process of individually exporting each set of patterns meant that it was really constrained by my “working hours” which have reduced quite a bit this year. Which is why I had to pull it off the store because I had no time to keep it as a permanent offering.

But I noticed that lots of people were still downloading the free patterns, so I thought I should use the Qipao template that I had already constructed, but fit in standard sizing data to make it work.

Then came the other problem. The sloper was constructed using more than 20 personal measurement points, many of which are not even found within one single system of measurement. So it’s Math to the rescue! I used a combination of formulae and standard data to derive all the points needed. And here is the result.

One thing you have to bear in mind – is that this is based on standard sizes, much like the ones you can find being sold in Ready-To-Wear, but with one difference. In my instructions, I will show you how to adjust the measurements to fit your size.

There are constraints though, because this is after all a fitted dress pattern so it cannot cater to every single shape and size. So, this pattern is suitable for you, if you are within this size range 0-12, and relatively proportional in size,  but upon close measurements, you find that you are always between sizes and find it hard to choose which to make.  As long as your dimensions do not span more than 2 or 3 sizes, (for example a size 6 bust and size 10 waist), then this is the pattern for you. I will show you how to grade the pattern to fit the rest of the body.

In addition to the original unlined version of the Qipao which is finished with bias, I also created a new set of instructions for a fully lined version. This was also the other challenge that I set for myself. I made a few lined versions last year, and I must say it really adds to the luxe quality of the Qipao and it really opens up  your fabric choices for the Qipao since there will be no problems with structure/ transparency. However, the method of making it was completely different and more complicated than the unlined one, so I created a sewing video to show you how it’s done. The original footage was more than 2hours long! After editing the video and speeding up the boring bits, it was still about 1hour 😛 and almost put me to sleep while watching. But having said that, the end result was exactly what I wanted. A seamless Qipao, no stitching lines visible from the outside at all, which to me was a more elegant, toned-down version of the unlined version with bias. This will be a great base pattern for an evening dress for a party of function!

Other than choosing between the Unlined and Lined version, you can choose to make this in a tight skirt style which is the standard look, or a more casual modern style which is an A-line dress. This A-line silhouette is different from the A-line style on the kids version, it is more of a fitted bodice which flares out slightly into an A-line skirt. For sleeves, you can choose from sleeveless, short or cap sleeve.

Ok enough of me rambling on, let me show you some of the pictures of the Qipaos made by me and my pattern testers!













I hope you will like this new pattern and yes I have been asked about sizes larger than 12. Look out for tester calls by joining my group Porcupine Patterns on Facebook!

To celebrate the launch, I have some launch discount codes for you!
For Ladies Qipao only. 
Use code : QIPAO20OFF
get 20% off from now till 8th November 2018.

Need to buy more than 1 pattern?

For any 2 items from the CNY range –
Ladies Qipao / Girls Qipao / Boys Mandarin Collar Shirt
Buy 2 and get 25% off each pattern.
No code needed, discount will be applied automatically at checkout.

For all 3 items – Add Ladies Qipao and the Girls and Boys bundle (…/girls-qipao-and-boys-mandar…) to cart, and use the code QIPAOBUNDLE3 to get 25% off each pattern.

Free Patterns Girls Sewing Patterns Kids Sewing Patterns Sew-along Sewing Tutorials Sewing Videos

Throwback Thursday – Free Chinese Dress / Qipao pattern for girls

January 19, 2017

Every year just before Chinese New Year, I see a renewed flurry of activity in our local sewing community -The Sewing Network, from mothers/aunts/crafters sewing and making Qipaos /Cheongsams for their little ones. This year I’ve decided to compile some of them to show you all the amazing things that they have done with my simple template as a base.  From adding sleeves, to tulle sleeves, going collarless for comfort, adding gathered skirts, romper style, matching doll sets. All you need to give your little girl a wide smile for Chinese New Year is a simple and free pattern, plus lots of love and creativity. 🙂


This pattern had its roots 9 years ago, when I first made attempted to make a mash up dress+chinese collar for my then 3 year old daughter. Being inexperienced, I created a front flap opening, but sewed up the gathered skirt at the waist line. Needless to say, it was a struggle getting in and out of it, haha… That idea was revisited a few years later, you can imagine how traumatized I was at my failure, but I was determined to get it right, by copying the side opening from a store bought Qipao my husband bought for us 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 youtube) to make it easier to understand.

Anyway, this year, Chinese New Year falls on 28th Jan which is rather early. It seems like Christmas just came and went and I just got settled in the new school routine. But it’s based on the lunar calendar so it’s not up to us to decide ;P  I am still struggling to spring-clean, and am still sewing our new outfits for CNY2017. I have lowered my personal expectations for this year and I’m probably only going to make one outfit per person instead of 2. I just hope I can make it in time!

In the meantime, have a look through and get inspired by these creative ladies from our local sewing group – The Sewing Network. Click on the arrows to see the next slide. The copyright of photos belong to the owners as stated in each picture. If you wish to be included in the gallery, just message me on Facebook or email me with your photos.  Enjoy and be inspired!

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