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Feb 2, 2014

Cheongsam for Chinese New Year 2014

Back to Sewing with a Cheongsam, my first sewing project for the year 2014  !

Hi ... I am back. Yes its been more than 2 months since i posted last. These two months had been quite a remarkable time to say the least. Month of December , meant vacation and i had dreamt of concentrating on having own online site and it would mean having a sample line of collection. Lot of designs in mind, wanted to rejuvenate myself, went for a book exhibition and got loads of them and did what i love  to do, read all night, its been almost a decade since i last did that !

Loved every minute of it, finished novels overnight, read non-fiction motivating speeches as well... all was well until i felt it, ouch the shoulder blades hurt like hell ... i couldn't even manage to do normal house hold chores, i have had this stiff / frozen shoulder for more than a decade now...yes i don't like going to the doc and do alternative healing and so far it had helped it stretch, but not anymore i guess and i listened to my body and took an appointment with the X-ray and MRI scan later i have been diagnosed with cervicular radiculopathy...pain which starts due to herniated neck disk and hence pinches a nerve which stops blood supply to shoulder muscles and also to the pain radiates from neck to shoulder and to the arms.

I had weekly appointments with the doc and slowly was put into physiotherapy. when it wasn't showing much results, i realized that i indeed was missing out one big routine of mine, YOGA , ever since school holidays began, i had bunked my daily Yoga sessions and... realizing my back to Yoga with vigour and guess what it showed magical results, the pain subsided albeit oh so slightly, but it did ... With the combination of yoga and physio, i could feel i am slowly but steadily on the path to recovery...still am not back to normal as in No Pain will take time...but i wanted to test my limits and decided to get back to sewing ... yes the neck forward posture that we have during sewing is detrimental to my current state of health, but something that you love would surely not be bad...or so i believe and hence got back to sewing...

Chinese New Year Dress had been long in my mind, ever since Adithi's bday trip to Hong Kong, where i set my eyes on this lovely brocade , not silk but synthetic brocade. Red and Gold , how much more authentic chinese can one get... this fabric deserved to be a Cheongsam and so be it...

Pushed my self to get started and didn't bother making a pattern, just started with her shoulder measurements and total length, every thing else fell into place. The dress just ormed its shape as i went about sewing !....

The front bodice has mock overlap, actually no overlap, but just the bias tape giving an illusion of overlap. The mandarin collar is one of my favorites, but Adithi doesn't like close neck outfits so i gave a slight gap at center front neck and used that space to insert the mock overlap bias tape. After sewing up the bias tape, then added the collar. Before that i had to finish the back and attach the front and back bodice.

For the Back Bodice, adding an invisible zipper was a breeze using the concealed zipper foot that i got as X-mas present remember (for those who follow me on facebook  would have known


Making the collar without the pattern took quite a bit of time, as i had missed the length by a whisker and made another one and then realized that i had to give opening a the back so two different collar pieces are required and used the earlier version for one half and then the new version for the other half


Now it was time to sew side seams and then add side slit bias tape.

Entire bias tape was made at home using golden tissue fabric from my stash. 2 inch width was just perfect to refold ala the store bought ones and gave clean 3/8 inch finished result.

Now was the time to make chinese frog button closures. (sorry forgot to take step by step picture while making them) Since it was mock overlap the closures will be fixed and not realtime usage of being closure. Still i had to make the actual ones and get them fixed permenanatly. Making those frog buttons took 2 hours..yes after trial and error and till i got satisfied with the end result !

Dress in total took 9 hours from the ebgining to end and was spanned out in 2 days. I am quite happy with how it turned out. After adding the second and final frog button , we dressed her up and rushed to the Thean Hou (Hainanese Temple near where we live) and soaked in all the festive fervour, the temple was all lit up and thronged by chinese devotees.

The entrance was all decked up and there was a stage highlighting the Year of the Horse 2014.

Chinese Lanterns all over the place ,

 pink lit trees which were on the pathway of the park which features all 12 animals which represent Chinese Calender. 

This year belongs to the Horse , so here is the pic with the Animal of the Year !

Dog is her Birth Year Animal, so a click with that

And last with the designer and doting mom, Pose suggested by Adithi (most of them are as is a big time Nautanki ;)
I love love love this pic !

We came back tired but happy ... shoulder and arm joint hurts a little but the satisfaction is a soothing balm which put me to sleep.

I will rest for  a while, before i get back to sewing ...with V Day coming up it wont be far. But may be smaller projects and not quite extensive ones..

Will also do a post detailing my Journey from Pain to relief soon as i feel a slight tinge on my right arm as i am typing this post ....

With front and back done

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  1. Love your creations, detailed posts. The dress and the model look great :). Thanks, Preethi.

  2. It's been quite a while since I dropped by your blog - your little girl has grown SO MUCH!! Beautiful sewing as always. Sending you love from Alabama in the US.


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