Amanda’s Qipao

February 9, 2012 at 9:51 am (Sewing Projects)

Amanda and Hengyi are getting married on March 24th.  Preparations are moving along well… for me.  Amanda lives in Virginia and I live here in western PA.  She is planning it.  I am just doing what I’m told to do. 🙂  Of course, I am making my MofB dress and all of the desserts, sans wedding cake.  The dessert thing is a “just shoot me” situation, but I must have control in some area and this is the area that I’ve chosen!  I am baking every week, a little at a time.  This week I am making buckeye balls and M&M cookies.

The one task that I have embraced is the task of making Amanda’s Qipao.  Pronounced “chee-pow,” it is a Chinese wedding dress.  She needs the dress when she and Hengyi go to China, but I thought it would honor his family if I had it made in time for the 24th and she can wear it for part of the reception.

So, research, research, research… I never undertake anything without studying it first!  Qipao is the word for a dress that Chinese women wear; it doesn’t have to be a wedding dress.  In the summer it is made of a lightweight silk.  In the winter, choosing a heavier fabric is best.  The wedding Qipao is very special.  It should be red.  Black and gray are considered unlucky.  It should be made of 100% silk.  Embroidery makes it even more special.  If you can find an embroidery with a phoenix in it that is even better.

Armed with that information, I began to look on line for any Asian styled dresses.  I am almost positive I had a pattern many years ago, but alas, it is no longer part of my stash!  I found this pattern at the Folkwear website.  This is the pattern I am going to use.

Next, I had to hunt down some fabric.  Any fabric at my local Joann’s store will not work in that it isn’t 100% silk and not many Brocades are in red.  If they are in red, they have black accents, which of course are unlucky.  Sooooo… I begin my search on the internet.  I found some beautiful fabrics and of course was overwhelmed by all of the choices.  I then enlisted the wise counsel of Amanda’s future MIL, Lili.  I narrowed her choices down to five and asked her to pick the best one.  She picked #4.

The very tricky thing about this fabric is that it is only 29 inches wide.  With shipping it runs about $23.00 a meter.  I ordered five meters.  Today I am going to rip some muslin to 29 inches and see how I can make the layout work.  I do not want to even cut into the beautiful silk until I am absolutely sure of my plan… and we all know how I love a good plan!!

This is one of the projects I must finish before I really commit my time to The 1912 Project.

Off to the sewing room!



  1. rwinkirk6 said,

    That’s lovely fabric! Wise to try it out in muslin, too! :-)) Make sure to follow up on this!! I know you will!! :-))

  2. Tina said,

    Oh my…

  3. Estella said,

    That is Beautiful!!!!

  4. Debbie said,

    Simply gorgeous fabric. How thoughtful of you to include your daughter’s future mother-in-law in the choice.

  5. Danielle said,

    VERY cool!

  6. Barbara Bahorik said,

    Beautiful fabric. Now is this what Amanda will be wearing for the wedding? Or is this something she will change into after the cememony?

    • Melodye Olsavsky said,

      Barb, she will be changing into it for part of the reception. She will take it to China with her and wear it there. I hope your grandson’s wedding plans are going well!

  7. Kristin said,

    The fabric is breathtaking I can’t wait to see the dress at the reception!

  8. Ta-Da!!! Qipao Finished (except for final, final fitting) « Melodyejoy's Weblog said,

    […] of you know that I’ve been working on Amanda’s Qipao since February.  Originally, I hoped to get it finished in time for her wedding on March 24th, but the fabric was […]

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