Thursday, 4 January 2018

Qipao Dress

My love for this clean and elegant style of Qipao dress finally found a way to explode into making one. I was so fortunate to had a chance to work with the lovely Yi Farn from Porcupine Patterns into testing her pattern. It was a beautiful and rewarding experience!

I have known Yi Farn from her absolutely captivating blog Japanese Sewing Books . My love for Japanese fibre art and for all Asian textile interpretation, helped me stumble upon this resource of inspiration and information about techniques and materials I have been looking for for a long time. When I visit her corner, I always feel so peaceful, it is hard to leave and close the door. 

When she announced the launch of her pattern shop, I got excited, knowing that this would be a true real experience with elegance and cleanness. Her pattern for this Qipao dress is really reach - it comes in different sizes and variations: size 2-12 (years of age); three styles of the dress: straight, A-line and bodice + skirt; five variations on the arm treatment: sleeveless, short sleeve, cap sleeve, frill sleeve and long sleeve. In this one pattern, you could find fifteen different dresses for a little girl. Depending on the fabric choice, the dress could be an everyday-style garment or an absolutely formal gown. 

My choice (or better said: my little daughter's choice) for the purpose of testing the pattern was this A-line dress with the frill sleeves. The pattern was absolutely professionally presented. The measurements were very sharp and all the pieces matched perfectly when assembling the pattern. The instruction sheet itself is 37 pages, full of information regarding every single detail, including some useful links for easing the work on the tough spots. It was definitely a pure experience of sewing. There was no need for me to stop and trying to figure some steps out. What a great start to a many and beautiful patterns to come!

I decided to line the dress, since the cotton I was using seemed too sheer. This gave the dress a little more structure and underlined the A-shape. 

Since it is a frill style on the sleeve, and I don't like exposed seams, I decide to bind the whole opening, using the contrasting fabric, I used for the bias binding on the front. You will find a thorough explanation on how to finish your frill in the pattern. I just finished the binding by hand on the inside (again ... my phobia for exposed seams ...)

I chose the zipper so it matches the contrasting fabric. There is a beautiful explanation on how to attach the zipper in the pattern.

My favourite part of making the dress was the front - isn't that what makes a Qipao dress so unique, plus the high collar, of course, but I am always so amazed by the flap on the front and wanted it to stand out crazily. I think, that was the reason for chosing this strong contrast of lime green and deep purple :))) .

Set aside two days of your time for finishing the dress in style and quality. As much as I enjoyed working on the front of the dress, I never stopped thinking what accent I would make, how I will create the Chinese frog. Canada doesn't have a really rich in variety market, when it comes to this style of closers. In the local store, you can only find some crappy ones in white and black, and they are glued (brrr... I hate glue and fibre...). I could have covered two buttons with the purple fabric and just place them across the flap, but what is the fun in that? My crafty daughter, that folds origami all the time, and I, we decided to roll our sleeves and try the Chinese knots. We found a really old book, full of techniques and ideas and made together the one, she liked the most. It was a success, since it was our first knot and the cord we used wasn't easy to handle. Now, I am really not sure what detail in this Qipao dress is my most favourite, but I tried to accent all, that make it so unique in style. 

I really hope, you have a wonderful start of your day, week, month and a year! 

I am so grateful for the beautiful things that happened to me last year, and for the incredible people I have met. This was my last project for 2017 and I think it was a great and elegant finish of all I have accomplished for this time. 

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Monday, 18 December 2017

Noel en broderie "campagne"

Another year is passing. The last days of the year are dripping through my fingers, but I don't want to look back. I know what has happened. I was there, I witnessed all of it. And isn't that a blessing?!

Finally, this year, I found time to stitch this amazing set of necessities, and thought they would be better off gifted. 

The French cross-stitch designs have become my week spot years ago. I started collecting them and store them in my craft room, never having the time to finish any. This year was blessed with inspiration, I discovered new things and techniques. The Japanese style of embroidery, stitching and quilting is still my priority, but I have always been sad that my passion for French embroidery has been put aside. At last, I was determined to finish one of my many projects and to gift it to a beautiful creator and designer, who has become a close friend, sharing her sewing illustrations that say a lot about her life, loved ones and creative personality. 

Materials used:

"Zweigart" Belfast linen 32 count - for the cross-stitched design
"HAORI" yarn dyed fabric - as main fabric for the bag and bias tape
"Henry Glass" quilting cotton - for the 'collar' of the bag
DMC embroidery floss
fusible light weight batting
velvet ribbon
wooden spool for the pull

Techniques used:

"Les Brodeuses Parisiennes" - the cross-stitched design (*slightly adapted)
French knot
Back stitch
Machine sewing
Tassel making
Bias binding making
Hand-sewing (for the reverse side of the bias binding)

* I  changed the last word in the message, that applies better for my friend, who doesn't work with cross stitches. Also, I gave the colour scheme a different look, so it matches better my idea of vintage look and the quilting cotton I have been using here.

These three elements are really important when we sew. 
I interfaced the bag with light fusible batting for more structure and cosiness when in use and fully lined it with the spool quilt cotton, used for the 'collar'.

The pincushion, is filled with ground walnut shells, mixed with lavender from my summer garden. I made the tiny tassels (oh, what a challenge was to tie them well - my fingers felt so clumsy :)) using the same shade DMC floss, used for the cross-stitched design. 

The scissors case was underlined with batting as well.

I find these tiny thimbles so festive! What a celebration of sewing!

I hope you are almost ready with your Christmas preparation and gifts. Canada Post is overwhelmed with packages and I am happy I sent mine early and everyone received them already. It is the anticipation of Christmas that is up for celebration - the impatient awaiting of the blessed event.

I truly hope you all have the creation of the season this year, that will always remind you of the good days you have had in the year of 2017.

Have a blessed Christmas, dear friends and happy holidays!