The first pattern I ever saw from Straightgrain Patterns was this Laure Dress in the Quipao version. I was clicking away on Instagram and stopped in my tracks when I saw this adorable pattern! Being of Chinese decent myself, these dresses always catch my attention…especially in fresh modern fabrics. (And yes, I actually own two Quipaos, but in more traditional red and gold brocades.) Since I don’t have girls of my own, I knew I would one day make these for my nieces…because I’m just the best aunt, you know ;)
Today marks the first day of the 2018 Lunar New Year (Year of the Dog) and I just had to share these with you! This was such an important and fun time in my house while growing up. We would have huge feasts and celebrate with lots of fireworks in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Now, in Columbus, the celebration is a bit smaller but just as fun as I hope to pass on the traditions to my boys.
Traditionally, children receive these red envelope filled with money to bring good fortune and health into the new year. I’m hoping these dresses will also bring them lots of good cheer and love too, since I’m still in love with this Spirit Animal (aff link) fabric by Tula Pink. Although the good luck color of the new year is red, I thought the girls would get more use out of these great colors and the small scale silhouettes would be perfect to wear all year around.
One of the great style features of any Quipao is the piping along the mandarin collar and down the front of the dress. I knew this was a step I could not skip, but finding the right color in pre-made piping was not easy. Because of ease and look, I tend to buy pre-made piping from the big-box stores. (They do a MUCH better job than what I could make!) With the bright colors, I could not find any piping… However, I could find pretty close matches when it came to pre-made single fold bias tape. I used this along with some cotton cording from my stash to make my own piping (reluctantly, of course.) I don’t have a special foot, so I just use my zipper foot, a basting stitch and tried to sew as close to the cording as possible.
This process adds some time…especially when you’re like me and need two passes to get in close to the cording. But look at the results! The piping really highlights the curve of front yoke and brings out the colors in the fabric. *High-five!*
It’s been awhile since I had to insert an invisible zipper, but after a few seam rips, I was able to get pretty close even without a specialized foot. I used my regular zipper foot and made sure to stitch slowly right in the zipper fold along the teeth. My awl saved me through this step!
I know you all like to see the guts of my garments, so this is the inside lining of the Laure. I serged the bottom ends and left most of the inside top seams raw after trimming them down with pinking shears. The lining hides almost all the seams, so there is no need to serge them after sewing.
The only invisible zipper I could find was about 20″ and the pattern calls for 12″. I sewed back and forth along the teeth at the 12″ mark and then cut the zipper 1/2″ below that. To seal up the zipper tape so it doesn’t fray with wear, I use a lighter to flame it juuust until it melts. You can use a seam sealant like fray check (aff link) if you aren’t comfortable using a lighter.
After giving the dress a final pressing, I secured the lining down by making a few stitches to the side seam allowance. This helps the armscye stay straight and prevents the lining from flipping up with wear.
I love how the Quipao version of the Laure Dress came out and I can’t wait to make some of the other versions of this pattern. It comes with plenty of other neck, body and skirt options for more looks of the western world ;) Check out the other options here.
Do you have any special cultural holidays or traditions you share with your family? I love hearing about what they rest of the world does..tell me about them in the comments!
Happy Lunar New Year, Friends!