The Great Halifax Sewing Bee Pictures

Here are the pictures from our April meeting that was the Great Halifax Sewing Bee, as a little preview for what’s to come in the videos over the next few weeks.

Photos are in chronological order of when they were taken. Please click any to enlarge and scroll through.

As more photos are sent to me, I’ll add them in. Should plenty more be added, I’ll send a reminder for people to have another look at this post. Most people were pretty involved so there’ll likely only be new photos of finished garment.

For all the posts related to this event, please click here.

Pictures of Gloria Drysdale’s “Crazy Quilt” Coats, and Necklaces

At our December meeting, we got to see and hear about Gloria Drysdale’s “crazy quilt” coats made by her Mother, Violet Drysdale. Her Mother learned to embroider from her grandmother when she was only five years old. In 1974, Gloria’s Mother made her “crazy quilt” coat and literally covered it with hand embroidery. She drew with her threads as others would draw with a pencil. Look at the results below with some close-ups.

Gloria also brought some gorgeous handmade necklaces she has recently made, of which we also have pictures. Enjoy!

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And Now, For Some Completely Appropriate Sewing Humour

Inspired by a few of Faye M’s Facebook post, I went to look for more. Also a reminder of the gallery feature available with our blog.

Click to enlarge and scroll through from wherever you start.

If you’re interested in that Keep Calm fabric as I am, Amazon US sells it, but I’m not sure if that seller delivers in Canada.

Áo Dài Cheongsam Qípáo?

What am I asking in another language. you might ask? Well, I’m neither asking nor is that title in one language. The words are the names for three beautiful types of Southeast Asian garments for men and women, though mostly worn by women today, pictured in the gallery at the bottom of the post.

  • Áo dai (read ow yai, with inflections not given) is the traditional Vietnamese dress that more resembles a Western gown than dress.
  • Qípáo (pronounced ch’ip’ao) is a Chinese gown, named in Mandarin and often thought of as the female version of the Chinese gown.
  • Cheongsam (pronounced play /i.ɒŋˈsæm/) is also a Chinese gown that is often thought of as the male version of the Chinese gown. However, many think of the qípáo and cheongsam as being interchangeable names, with male version names slightly varied from these names.

You can read more about each type of garment, and their histories, via the Wikipedia links provided. I wanted to introduce you to them if you have never heard of them, or maybe never even having seen them.

The three garments look reasonably similar, and their modernization have made them more similar in some ways, as well as looking rather different from their traditional form in other ways. What they do have in common is their body hugging nature that will flaunt a beautiful body, and their intense colours, sometimes with radiant patterns and/or embroidery, that make them stand out in any crowd.

The Vietnamese áo dài is that basic “gown” look, but with slits on the sides quite high up to the stomach. That is because it is intended to be worn with flowing pants. Anything less than pants and you’re looking at Asian steampunk (they are originally from the 17th centrury that were more conservative in design) or fantasy character sort of costumes like in Mortal Kombat. Yes, you just wait till I find a girl to do Asian steampunk for, as well as me, though I promise to wear pants, hahaha!

The Chinese qípáo and cheongsam do not have much of a slit, and can be a variety of lengths from shorter than short skirts to ground length gown. They are sexy in their own ways with that length and greater body curvature hugging, in terms of garment cut, whereas the áo dài has the side slits. The tops of both are sexy in similar ways with everything from cut to coverage. See what I mean by looking at the start of my Pinterest Asian Fashion board.

All three of these garments are very sexy and striking. Yet, I don’t see a lot of them around in Canada, and especially not on Caucasian women. As a person who loves contrast, I would dare to say I think Caucasian women look better in them than Asian women with the lighter skin colour to contrast the often intense reds, blues, blacks, among other colours of the Chinese silks and brocades from which these garments are made. It doesn’t seem a lot of Canadian women think about these garments when they’re looking for sexy and memorable garments to wear that will wow a crowd, and that’s too bad because these garments do just that! Just go look in some Chinese stores or in Chinatown if you live in a city big enough to have one.

As for making these garments, some descriptions say they’re “one-piece”, but that’s the original traditional forms that aren’t nearly as flattering. They’re not that hard other than the fit because you’ve got to get that right and well if you want to really show off someone’s body, especially a woman’s curves. However, there is a bonus in learning how to make these garments, especially the Chinese ones. You can make a blouse version simply by cutting the pattern short! Two for one deal!

I haven’t researched that much into making these garments or if there are patterns for them. This German qipao site seems to be a reasonable place to start, though. I think I’m just going to have to get some old áo dài from Vietnamese women I know with some, and from the site recommended, as a starting point to designing and making some of these. If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know.

p.s. Don’t bother with the Burda Style qipao pattern. I don’t know what that is but it ain’t qipao.

My Grand Moff Costume at Hal-Con

I was at Hal-Con this weekend, Halifax’s where there were MANY FANTASTIC costumes! I will post more about them some time in the future to focus on some of the sewn costumes, since we are a sewing guild, as more pictures become available. For now, I’d llike to show you my costume, since I won’t be there for the November’s meeting show and tell.

The costume was, I would say, one of the most boring at Hal-Con. It was of Grand Moff (high ranking officer) from Star Wars. Don’t ask about the title. I didn’t make it up, but I’ve got lots of really bad adult jokes about it on my blog when I’ll be posting it. I made them up, though, so nobody was being mean towards me.

I made the tunic coat and rank decorations. It was a lot more work than it might seem because it was a uniform. Uniforms just look crappy if they’re baggy and such. I drafted the pattern from other pieces I had for myself, but had to adjust fit, still, in addition to redesign.

I used stretch suiting, which was the only material available in that colour at Fabricville, that had a similar texture. I had interfacing under the entire thing to give it some stiffness. That was basically it that I’d care to talk about the item except for the fact I had two powerful mini speakers strapped to my biceps under the sleeve so that I was walking around with my own Imperial March soundtrack, as well as any others I wanted on my iPod! That was the breakthrough, to make cosplay more than just a visual experience.

Some film crews took segments of me walking around with it but not sure if they’ll ever air anywhere. I’ll maybe give you a demo at the December show and tell.

But costume aside, the thing I think you’ll be more interested in will be the fact that this will become at least 5 garments in my wardrobe in the future. It will become a coat, a work jacket like a suit jacket, if you will, and a show piece whereby it’ll all be in black except the left chest and overlapping piece being one, sporting an image fabric so that I’ll be a walking canvas, if you will. I can also wear it with a belt or professional looking sash, even. Then I can do versions with and without the “skirt” at the bottom.

If I keep making work clothes like this and some other dress shirt designs with the same regal feel, I might just end up being the most fashionable male public servant in Nova Scotia in a year. Or worst dressed for those who can’t stand anything but the standard fare dress shirt and pants. But I can assure you that with a wardrobe of said look and feel, if you didn’t know who I was, any meeting you might be in with me, you’d bet that I was the one running the show!

Shopping for Fabric in New York’s Chinatown

Shopping for Fabric in New York’s Chinatown

A full review of a handful of stores I shopped at in Manhattan’s Chinatown, where there may not be many fabric and accessories stores like in the Fashion/Garment District, but LOTS of good deals nonetheless.

That, plus a nice girl might ask an Asian guy if he could advise her on sewing her Little Mermaid costume… 🙂

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