Qipao Love: Part 4 ~ Tailoring the Qipao.....a dress made for the female form!
|Collection of Qi Pao displayed in China Silk Museum in Hangzhou, China. |
Thank you so much my darlings...just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for your continued support in all forms of likes, comments, shares, pins, follows and clicks...and I am utterly thrilled to continue my journey with you walking by my side in the new year of 2013! As we continue on my little passionate journey of the 'Qipao Love', I wanted to answer some questions in my mind on what makes the Qipao an exquisite piece of art, and I thought the best way to do that is probably to look at how a Qipao (or Cheongsam) is actually made. Having altered my ready made Qipao dresses by hand myself, I know it is more than a simple case of stitch according to numbers on the measuring tape, and how delicate the measurements need to be in order to accommodate room to breathe as well as a fitted shape! So this post might be interesting or useful for you talented dress making darlings...as the research I gathered disclosed some intricate details from the cutting of the fabric to the 36 different points of measurement to create the best fitting Qipao!
The construction of a Qi Pao can take anything from one single day to one whole month or more, and involve one to ten skilled workers, depending on the quality, fabric, design, details such as embroidery or embellishment and craftsmenship required...as the beauty and quality of the Qipao is really down to the intricate details! To find out how the Qi Pao is made and why it can be really a work of art rather than just a dress.....from differentiating between the distinctive Mandarin collar and double piping down to the meaning of differing as well as intricate frog, lute, plum blossom and butterfly buttons.....here is Part 1 to 3 of the Cultural Express 2010 documentary on 'Making the Chinese Qipao' by Chinese international channel CCTV9:
[OR if you prefer to watch the whole 30 minutes 'Making Chinese Qipao' documentary by CCTV9 in one full video, then the link is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzvAG6ePjSM]
For a video with step by step diagram instructions on how to create your very own Chinese knot, that has been used as the 'straight buttons' of the Qipao dress:
Tailors...unsung heroes who made the Qipao!
|Vintage calendar girls wearing Qipao ...who were the pin-up models from 1920s to 1960s.|
(Source: The Doily Duck)
Today, a custom made and entirely hand-crafted Qipao requires a lengthy consultation; which can include up to 36 different and detailed measurements to get the perfect fit as well as the selection of fabric, design or pattern to compliment the wearer...may be a service reserved for the wealthy or for highly special occasions. But simple made to fit or altered quality pieces with limitations to the number of styles or designs one can choose, can still be ordered in stores or online shops from a designer label price tag of about £140 onwards.
|The Rui Fu Xiang Silk store in Beijing, China.|
|Source: Qipao crush on 'Vintage Vault'|
|Famous Qipao tailor, 94 year old Master Chu!|
And if you have been inspired to create your very own Qi Pao.....you can have a look on a wonderfully talented fellow blogger's on journey of sewing her very own 'In the Mood for Love' inspired Qipao on 'Cation Design': cationdesigns.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Qipao
Though the Qipao is no longer worn as a daily dress, there has been an influx of appreciation in recent years and I have even discovered a dedicated Qipao club in Shanghai...which would be a bit of a dream come true for me had I lived there, as you darlings might remember me saying that I would like to set up my very own 'Qipao Tea Club' one day! On the 20th May 2012 over 2000 ladies proudly wore their Qipao dresses to attend the fifth annual gathering of the 'Shanghai Cheongsam Salon' at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre in China. The 'Shanghai Cheongsam Salon' is a club founded by Ms Wang Weiyu in 2007 because of her love of the Qipao and a desire to promote as well as share the elegant etiquette of wearing a Qipao. Being a devout admirer of the Qipao, Ms Wang has over 52 Qipao dresses including a special altered one with a back slit for when she goes cycling and would like to see the Qipao being worn more often by women today. The club has a Culture Centre in the Xuhui district of Shanghai where members are required to don their Qipao to join activities such as exhibitions, flower arrangement, tea or dance performances, and they also run external events such as lectures or cultural afternoons to an increasing public audience.
[Sources and interesting articles on the 'Shanghai Cheongsam Salon':
|The fifth annual gathering event organised by the 'Shanghai Cheongsam Salon' in China ~ 19 July 2012|
Until the next time,
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Sources and other informative Links:
'Changing Clothes in China' by Antonia Finnane (2008)
|For my 1920s inspired Qipao (Cheongsam) look...please take a look at Part 3 of the 'Qipao Love: All About Qipao' post!|