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Qipao Love: Part 9 ~ Getting crafty with a needle and the Qipao...

Li Ling-Ai arriving in Los Angeles for premiere of 'KUKAN'
(Oscar winning feature documentary)
Welcome back to the finale post of the 'Qipao Love' Part 9 I thought I would follow on to reveal the craft project I had completed just before Chinese New Year, which is a little extension of  Part 5's 'How-To Choose and Wear a Qipao (Cheongsam) that will Love Your Frame!' [To catch up with Part 5 of 'Qipao Love' please click here:] You might have read my inadequate little guide on finding your very own Qipao and the suggestion of searching on Ebay which I sometimes do...last December I actually discovered one which reminded me of the Qipao Chinese American playwright and director Li Ling-Ai wore in 1941 to the premiere of her documentary film KUKAN in Los Angeles! The issue was that the one selling on Ebay happened to be a short knee-length Qipao with what looked like unrefined machine embroidery and a low mandarin collar, but in light of the wearing something red to bring luck for the new year ahead it did hit the spot and I suddenly had the idea to try to make something of a craft project with this dress. So I daringly ordered the dress on Ebay...two weeks later the wrong dress appeared in the post and I got it sent back to China...when the right dress finally arrived I must admit I was a little disappointed as the machine embroidery was quite the quiz of mind...I could not work out what it was meant to be. The next step was what to do with it...I pondered with the ideas of clouds, leaves, flowers, dragons and butterflies in an attempt to understand the machine embroidered patches...then I decided I would create a craft experiment and let my needle flow freely to paint whatever it wanted. Without any patterns drawn, I sketched a blurry picture of flowers and leaves in the depths of my mind...then just reached for my embroidery floss and needle. So I guess what I am trying to say is that this was an utterly freestyle embroidery project that took a life of its own as I stitched...after learning Silk Shading embroidery a little while ago through a book and doing only one other embroidery project prior to starting on this Qipao. Which is probably why it took quite a while with me stitching before bedtimes and weekend afternoons for a gradual month...with my cat BouBou wondering what on earth I could focus so closely on that he kept putting his paw down to hold on to parts of the dress as I stitched.


BEFORE (Close up of the Machine Embroidery)

I must admit I am not the most creative of persons and though this looks like an utterly simple or even child-like project to many a master embroiderers or crafters...I couldn't help but smile proudly at my Qipao once it was finally completed! I suppose it was more the satisfaction that I managed to create something, however inadequately skilled I may be or even if nobody really noticed I worked a part of the embroidery on this was a case of the little things that mattered. So please take a little look at my crafty little embroidery attempt and see what you think...the photos above are the 'BEFORE' pictures of how the Qipao originally looked...and below are the 'AFTER' photos!

Flower number one done....

Stitching Flower number one...
BouBou focusing as Flower number two was stitched at bedtime...

Flower number three, leaves and so on...

Working on the bottom part of the dress...embroidering smaller flowers....

BouBou laying claim to his embroidery work!   =^..^=

Bottom half....finally completed with little flowers....

My completed embroidery project...just one week before Chinese New Year!

Using a combination of satin stitch, long and short stitch ....I am not sure you will agree but I decided to embroider small bud-like flowers on the bottom part of the dress so that it did not take away from the bigger flowers on the top half of the dress. Another reason....truth be told was my worries of not completing on time...hopefully you will agree that my needle painting has added to the dress rather than ruined it!

In my new Qipao on the first day of the year...Chinese New Year of fire Snake 2013!
So...this post (Part 9) closes the 'Qipao Love' series so far! [You can catch up on the full 'Qipao Love: All About Qipao (Cheongsam)' series here:] But before I answer a little request from a lovely reader Julie I would like to mention a quick tip on how to accessorise a Qipao: I usually take inspiration from a style period like the 1930s or 1920s, but I do find that Art Deco jewellery, pearls, crystals or gemstones with a vintage feel tend to go well with the Qipao. In terms of necklaces, short pearl necklaces close to the collar tend to complement the Qipao quite well too. Hopefully there will be a 'Qipao Love 2' in the future where I can cover the subject of accessories with a Qipao in even more detail! More inspiration on How-To wear a Qipao can also be seen on my Pinterest board here:
Here's wishing all you lovely darlings a fabulous weekend!

Until the next time,
May xx

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  1. Amazing post! Have a nice weekend:)

  2. so happy to see your continuing saga of Qipao love! May, not only are you an absolute darling in your take on it but the dress details are really impressive to see up close. good news about you finally getting the right dress and then using your many talents to rectify the embroidery. brilliant results!! love how BouBou got right in there to help too. super cute!!!

    hope you're having a good weekend so far lovely - cheers. ♥

  3. cute dress.

    amazing photos :)

    …。…。…。…。…。…。…。 …。…。…。…。…。

    christian | my blog :

  4. WoW! That's pretty impressive! Very nice!!!


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~Thank you so so much! I love hearing from you and appreciate every beautiful comment. Please feel free to follow and walk with me too.....have a fabulously lovely day my darlings!
Until the next time,
♥ May xx

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