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Searching around the web, I had trouble finding any vintage Cheongsam sewing patterns from the 1930s or 1940s. If there are any out there from that time, they must be extremely rare. Now there’s plenty from the 1950s-60s, maybe because of the influence of movies like 1955’s “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”? Or because Hollywood stars of the time were photographed wearing the cheongsam?

hollywood-qipao-cheongsam-1

Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor

Anyhow, if you want to sew a wiggle dress version of the cheongsam, there are many vintage patterns available out there in the wild. I just dig those crazy pillbox hats on the first 2 below:

Left to Right: McCalls 3527, Simplicity 1018, Butterick 7718 & 7790

Left to Right: McCalls 3527, Simplicity 1018, Butterick 7718 & 7790

Left to Right: Advance 9860, Simplicity 1447

Left to Right: Advance 9860, Simplicity 1447

Left to Right: Simplicity 3000, McCalls 4911, Advance 7906

Left to Right: Simplicity 3000, McCalls 4911, Advance 7906

Left to Right: American Weekly 3104, Mail Order 9364, LeRoy 2338, Mail Order 8312

Left to Right: American Weekly 3104, Mail Order 9364, LeRoy 2338, Mail Order 8312

The only Cheongsam pattern I own is Folkwear’s. It has a different kind of neck closure than other patterns I have seen. It’s more of a bib than an asymmetrical opening. I haven’t used it yet and it looks like I would need to add bust & waist darts to make it form-fitting Bomshell/wiggle dress worthy:

FW122-front

Here’s a timeline below where you can see the progression of the cheongsam sewing pattern move from wiggle dress tight in the 1960s to loose caftan in the late 1970s:

Cheongsam timeline sm

The 1960s pattern is hourglass form-fitting tight, but see the hem widen to an A-line silhouette in 1972. By 1977, it’s a loose, dart-free version, harkening back to it’s 1900s roots.

Qipao 1900

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