Kathrynne models her sheath dress and accessories inspired by the Chinese Cheongsam. A sheath pattern with two vertical darts on each side of the front and back dress formed the basis for the New York Style Cheongsam. Cap sleeves that are in one with the dress were added to the pattern. Instead of a Mandarin collar a high band collar cut on the lengthwise grain was used. No underlining was needed because the 100% cotton fabric used had enough body. A Japanese furoshiki with a small floral pattern suitable to 1:6 scale sewing provided the perfect look and feel for the dress.
The sheath dress was tapered at the side seams about 1/16″ at the hemline level. A line connecting this new point was drawn up to another point about 1/4′ down from the hipline. Instead of the side slits used in a traditional Cheongsam, a kickpleat was created at Center Back.
The Center Back placket was cut in one piece with the dress by adding 1/2″ to the Center Back of the pattern. In this way, the kickpleat was a continuation of the placket. Edges of the placket were finished with bias cut green tulle nylon vielling fabric. The collar at Center Back closes with a very small button and thread loop.
In New York Style Cheongsam, Part Two I will present close-ups and details for how the accessories for this ensemble were created.
A scan of this pattern is available for your use at https://theenchanteddressshop.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/pattern-scan-for-cheongsam-new-york-style-dress/
It is possible to underline a 1:6 scale doll outfit provided the material used is very lightweight. Depending on the effect desired I’ve used poly chiffon, poly China silk, lightweight muslin and nylon tulle with good results. Sometimes it is necessary to experiment on scraps of fabric to learn the technique and develop the sensibility for what will work well together. I did this with the dress design I call “Cheongsam, New York Style”. For the trial run I used long vertical stitches to hold together a layer of 100% cotton with poly china silk. The fabric was first trued and steam pressed and pinned in place before basting together.
The pattern pieces are laid out on the fabric and pinned into place. I find using fine straight pins with colored glass heads a good way to keep track of the slender pins. Marking seam allowances onto the pattern is the best way to go when working on such a small scale.
I’ve found using the Fiskars Micro-tip Scissors just right for cutting out 1:6 scale garment pieces. I prefer to use white dressmakers marking paper since the markings vanish after steam pressing. For all marking in 1:6 scale I use a smooth tracing wheel.
The garment pieces after cutting have key lines and darts thread traced in black. The darts and seams are then pinned into place and basted. I do not recommend pin basting, especially on such a small scale, even when hand sewing. Small, even hand sewn stitches are just not possible when sewing over pins.
The cut and basted garment pieces are kept together with the needles and thread used for hand sewing in a plastic baggie. It is a good idea to jot down any notes regarding notions or construction onto 3″ x 5″ file cards and include that in the baggie. This will help you remember what to do next if there will be an interruption or long break between hand sewing sessions.
Special Note: It turned out to be a good thing I made a toile for the Cheongsam, New York Style dress. The dart intake was too big and the fit on the doll was very unsatisfactory. After creating two smaller darts the dress looked very good when made up in the fashion fabric. I will present the Cheongsam, New York Style dress in my next posting.