Happy New Year, readers! I thought I'd kick off 2012 with yet another sewing post - those who come here for the food will have to hang on for a while more. I purchased the original pattern from eBay about 6 months back, with the intention of making up the traditionally Chinese style in an unconventional fabric (wear a cheongsam in any kind of shiny/floral/shiny and floral fabric and people automatically think you're a waitress in a fancypants Chinese restaurant. Try it if you dare).
Original cheongsam-inspired pattern
However, after deciding that I wasn't willing to endure the drastic dieting needed to whip my figure into the required hourglass shape for such a fitted style, I decided to simply redesign the skirt portion of the dress. Yes, re-doing a pattern is much easier for me than just eating less. I wanted to keep the bodice section but attach a much fuller skirt on it. This was easy enough - I simply cut the pattern off at the waist while tracing it out onto paper (I always do this with all my patterns, in order to keep the originals as pristine as poss). The skirt would then be a simple circle or rectangle skirt, gathered at the top for the requisite fullness.
I've got some shiny red brocade fabric in mind for the 'proper' dress, but decided to make a wearable toile of it first just to make sure it all worked. The fabrics came from various op-shopping expeditions - I was going to make a circle skirt for more twirliness but realised there wasn't enough of the shiny fabric for that, so settled for a simple gathered rectangle instead.
You may have noticed that the collar in the pattern illustration met much closer together - I decided to leave some space in between when making mine up, for two reasons. Tight necklines such as this often leave me feeling slightly suffocated, especially on hot days, and a wide band of fabric around my neck is not that flattering when the neck in question is as short as mine.
Lace trim around hem
Bow detail made from the remnants of both fabrics.
The finished dress was okay, but not that exciting. It needed...more. I finished the hem off with some pink nylon lace that I purchased ages ago, and then sewed a double bow on the back. The final product reminds me a little of a bridesmaid's dress (a feeling compounded by all that peach fabric used), but that's no bad thing, right?