First, let me clarify that this is not really a qipao (pronounced chi-pow). A true qipao is a gown. This is more like a sam-fu, which is a blouse-and-pants sort of suit, with the "sam" (pronounced "sum") being the top and the "fu" (pronounced "foo") being the pants. However, the sam-fu is a more casual, everyday outfit, whereas this is more a special-occasion garment. Besides, imagine if I'd titled this post "Sam", no one would know what I was talking about, right?
So . . . let's just rationalize the slightly misleading name by explaining that it is half a qipao. And that a true qipao would be drafted and sewn in exactly the same way, except with the hem extended downward into a skirt to become a full dress. Okay?
Right, so we've finally got pictures. Here are my frogs.
And my three bust darts, the crazy things.
Emily took photos of me actually wearing the thing.
Which I thought were not half-bad, considering it was her first time behind the lens.
And just as well, because look what sort of stuff I shot when I tried to do it myself.
Cute, but idiotic.
Much better with someone else doing the shooting, so I could concentrate on making faces.
Like this smirk.
"Zoom in on these buttons, Emily."
"What's 'zoom in'?"
She learns fast . . . and well.
My turn now - with Fleur.
Here's the front of the blouse. Notice how those sleeves stick out.
I'll deconstruct this draft later but since we're looking at this shot, let me say that
- brocade is a bit like paper. It's cool and silky and hangs nicely but it drapes like paper. Actually, more like cardstock.
- the angle of those sleeves is what makes the shoulders sit the way they do even when I'm capering about. Did you know that you can draft sleeves to stick out from the armscyes at different angles? Coat sleeves, for instance, are drafted to hang more vertically, because that's how one's arms are usually oriented when wearing coats - still and hanging vertically next to the body. T-shirt sleeves, on the other hand, stick out more horizontally, because we wear T-shirts to move our arms about a lot. But I'm meandering; let's come back to that in another post.
Moving on now - here's the back:
The separating zipper
that allows the entire front panel to separate for dressing and undressing (this is a fitted garment after all).
And the frogs, of course. Notice there are also supplementary snaps (aka press-studs). They are always present, because the frogs, being partly decorative, are very seldom sufficient in number and spacing to secure the opening.
I'm planning to do a couple of follow-up posts next. One is to deconstruct the qipao top for you, since I'm guessing that this is a more unusual garment for most. Then we can talk about sleeves and angles and curved darts and asymmetry and whatever else I think might be interesting to dissect. The second is to teach you to make the frogs. If you have any particular requests, leave a comment to let me know.
P.S. Because I know you might ask, the fabric is from JoAnn. See - JoAnn has some good stuff, right?