Chinese New Year Dress | Fall/Winter 2010

Fabric: Red plum blossom acetate Chinese brocade
Pattern: Butterick

In honor of an upcoming Chinese New Year themed midwinter ball, I whipped out this brocade dress. I figured many people would get the cheongsam idea, and I couldn't stand the thought of wearing what everyone else was wearing. I used Butterick 6533 as a base, but added a pleated fish tail thing in the back. My thought was to capture the sensibilities of someone who came of age in the bustle era. I did not want to out and out wear period clothing to this event, but rather wanted to give a nod in it's general direction. The shrug is a separate piece, and man was it a pain to fit. Modern tailoring and pattern shapes confuse me. I cut my teeth on the 18th century. These modern curved lines just upset me.

The boys of course had a great time with the fabric that was all over the place. The next step is to attach the lining and decide on a closure.

I had briefly considered a zipper, but then I remembered that I hate them. I'm thinking instead eyelets and ribbon for a lace-up back, but maybe loops and buttons or some kind of frog closure would be more exciting. There's a poll on the blog Thoughts?

January 18, 2011 | This dress narrowly avoided getting racked in the closet indefinitely. I finally finished it, tried it on with and without the corset. I came to the immediate conclusion that it needed boning in the back to avoid puckering. In went the cable ties, but it still did not fit. I am not sure how it happened, but there was a 2 inch gap in the back at the top. I also accidentally fell in love with this black and white Chinese dress. I was about to abandon it for good when a friend happened to be over the house. A friend who needed a dress for the very same event. Lo and behold, it fit. I'm glad the effort I put into it was not wasted, and could be appreciated at the event.