Around 15 years ago, I was watching a beautiful movie called In the Mood for Love (by Wong Kar-Wai). I don’t remember much of the story, but two things kept stuck in my mind: (1) the amazing theme song, and (2) the stunning dresses lead actress Maggie Cheung was wearing. You can enjoy both in this clip:
After I came home, I immediately started googling, and found out that the dresses Cheung was wearing, were all “qipao’s” or “cheongsams”. It’s a classic design dating back to 1920s Shanghai. Years later, I started sewing and, still obsessed by qipaos, I tried to make one for myself in sewing class. But because of a bad fabric choice, instead of looking like beautiful Maggie, I looked like I was ready for a Halloween party 😉
When I got into pattern drafting for children’s wear, I also started working on a qipao pattern for kids. I even announced it a my ‘next pattern’ years ago, but got distracted to other projects (the Hanami) after a semi-succesful first version.
Luckily, last year I was contacted by Ann Tang-Se from the fabric shop Atelier in ‘t Leerke, asking me if I’d be interested in developing a qipao pattern. It was exactly the kick in the butt I needed to pick the project up again. Ann and her colleague Annemie helped me with making numerous test versions, and today we are finally launching Laure!
Realising that not everyone may be into qipao’s, we included a number of different options. That way, you can use the Laure pattern not only to make a (modern) qipao….
… but also a long sleeve dress with a pussy bow…
… or even a simple and quick A-line dress.
Included in the pattern, there are:
- 2 dress options (A-line or dropwaist)
- 4 collar options (qipao, fine mandarin collar, pussy bow, no collar)
- 4 sleeve options (sleeveless, cap sleeve, short sleeve, long sleeve)
All in all, you can make 36 different combinations with this pattern. And of course, you can mix and match with the pieces of other StraightGrain patterns too.
Before moving on to the practical details, I’d like to thank my wonderful testers: Ann, Annelies, Annemie, Annick, Charline, Christine, Elien, Fabienne, Ilse, Ine, Julia, Laura, Lidwien, Lies, Lucinda, Merel, Sane, and Tiffany.
I’d also like to thank the amazing Barbara Decré for her stunning pictures!
Also, make sure to check back here tomorrow, when we’ll discuss the details of our Laure contest! You’ll be able to win cool sewing stuff like, I don’t know… a brand new sewing machine!?
Buying the pattern
Use the code LAURELAUNCH10 to get a 10% discount on the pdf pattern.
Starting on Wednesday, you’ll also be able to buy Laure in a number of fabric shops (keep an eye on my retailers page).
Buying Chinese buttons
The classic qipao comes with special buttons, often called ‘Chinese frogs’. You can use them to decorate your Laure, but they can also be omitted. You can find them online (google “Chinese frogs”, or in Dutch: “Brandenburger sluiting”). If you live near Belgium, you can also find them here in many different colors.
Launching Laure has taken me quite a bit of time, mostly due to a failed first photo shoot. Thanks for all your patience!